Charity Tuesday: Waves 4 Water

Waves 4 Water surfing water charity logoWaves 4 Water was founded in 2009 by pro surfer, Jon Rose. On his way to Bali to deliver 10 water filters for what would have been the charity’s first mission, he felt a shake. When he came to shore, he realized that a 7.6 magnitude earthquake had hit the city of Sumatra, and he made his way through the crumbled buildings to get water filters into the hands of rescue workers to help the country’s wounded victims. It was this experience that solidified the need for Waves 4 Water, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing clean water to impoverished people around the world.

Waves 4 Water teamed up with Hurley International to develop a program called Clean Water Couriers. The concept is both simple and innovative: surfers, in search of waves in third-world countries carry filters with them in their luggage and either connect with local nonprofits in the area or travel to villages to personally set them up. There are two types of filtration systems – a $50 community filter, which will filter up to 200 gallons of water a day for an entire village, and a $25 family use filter system that filters 14 gallons per day. Materials include a plastic bucket (which may be found locally), a ceramic filter, a spigot, and a knife to cut a hole in the bucket.  The ceramic filters will remove a variety of contaminants including bacteria, viruses, cysts and microorganisms that cause waterborne illness.

Anyone can get involved, either by making a direct donation through the Waves 4 Water website, or by buying water filters and traveling with them through the Clean Water Couriers program. Though the program was conceived in the surf community, the opportunity to get involved, by donating or by traveling, is open to all.

Help us spread the word, this #charitytuesday, about Waves 4 Water, by retweeting and/or sharing this post!

Charity Tuesday: Water for People

Water for People logoThis #charitytuesday, we are calling attention to the work of Water for People, a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovative, sustainable clean water solutions in 11 different countries in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Water for People is not just another water charity. The core value that makes this organization unique is sustainability – a drive to create solutions that last.

One of their most innovative solutions lies in a partnership with PlayPumps International and the Case Foundation. PlayPumps are small merry-go-rounds that pump water from underground into a water tank as children spin around on them. The water can then be drawn from a tap directly on the tank.

Water for People also works through local partnerships with government and private organizations, calling on communities to finance their own clean water efforts, and training them to build their own clean water and sanitation systems, so that the projects last beyond those that are normally funded by a one-time monetary grant. This is part of what makes their solutions  sustainable. What’s more, they recently launched an online platform called FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch) that uses mobile phones and GPS to monitor how well water systems in the developing world are functioning. This monitoring system ensures that broken pumps and wells in need of repair are not left untouched – once again ensuring that the projects last well beyond the first drop of clean water that’s produced.

Individuals and organizations can get involved with Water for People by spreading the word through online media, sponsoring fundraising events, shopping the online store or making a donation online.

Water Charity of the Week: UNICEF Tap Project

UNICEF Tap Project, Celebrity Tap Pack“When you take water, give water.”

This simple concept is the foundation for the UNICEF Tap Project, founded during World Water Week of 2007, to raise funds for millions of children around the world to gain access to clean water. As we’ve mentioned in several of our posts, millions of people lack access to this basic need. In some nations, women and children must walk more than five miles a day just to collect water for their families. This lengthy process prevents them from other opportunities; children are kept from school, and women are kept from performing other basic, but necessary, domestic duties. Water charities like UNICEF’s Tap Project exist to raise money to support clean water and sanitation solutions in developing countries.

Since World Water Week 2011 is next week (March 20-26), we thought UNICEF’s Tap Project would be the perfect charity to feature on our blog to mark #charitytuesday on twitter. What’s unique about this project is their way of raising money. UNICEF partners with hundreds of restaurants across the U.S., asking patrons to donate $1 each time they order free tap water, during World Water Week. Since it’s inception in 2007, UNICEF Tap Project has raised more than $2.5 million toward clean water solutions.

And this year, UNICEF is teaming up with celebrities on a special “Celebrity Tap Project.” Singers, Rhianna and Taylor Swift along with Selena Gomez, and Entourage actor, Adrian Grenier are bottling tap water from their homes. Each $5 donation made to the UNICEF Celebrity Tap Project will give supporters a chance to win a limited edition Celebrity Tap Pack, featuring one bottle of water from each of these celebrities’ home faucets.

While we don’t normally support bottled water, or the celebrity endorsement of bottled water, this is an interesting way to draw attention to the need for clean water in developing nations. It also conveniently drives home the point that most bottled water is nothing more than tap anyway. Even if it comes from a celebrity, we’re willing to bet that most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between their home tap water and the variety that came out of Taylor Swift’s faucet. Still, we can’t help but applaud these four celebrities, and UNICEF, for their innovative efforts.