Several years ago, a young man in the middle of a life crisis left the United States to do volunteer service in West Africa. While there, he visited a village and saw people carrying water back to their villages from surface sources such as swamps or bogs. These people, mostly women and children, would physically walk the water back to their villages, travelling between 30 minutes to 8 hours round trip just to have water needed for life, dirty and contaminated as it may be, period.
This man—Scott Harrison—recognized that this was a key issue that was contributing to many of the community’s other issues. Illnesses, disease, even cancers had the common vector of the dirty, surface water. Add the lost time to this and incredible the suffering and lost potential all for lack of something most all of us take for granted from multiple taps right in our homes. He also noticed something else—a well for clean water was being dug in another village. There was clean water right under people’s feet—they just didn’t have the resources to get it.
And there, in the middle of West Africa, he developed the idea of charity: water, an organization that helps communities to dig their own fresh water wells.
Since then, charity: water has gained significant recognition for the work they do in these communities. Inc. Magazine has headlined this charity at the last two Inc. 5000 conferences. After meeting Scott at the conference last year, OWC donated $25,000 to charity: water. While attending the Inc. 5000 conference this year, I had the opportunity to speak with Scott at greater length and we came to a more ambitious goal, to help spread the word and help raise at least $125,000 for this worthy cause.
I believe in this charity’s mission for one very good reason—it is a solution. Clean water is a basic, core need. By bringing clean water to these communities—not just for a day, but for the long term—via these wells, people are freed and empowered with more available time, better health, and greater opportunity to move forward make a better future for themselves. This basic necessity removes a hurdle that without a doubt truly makes a world of difference
charity: water truly lives up to the old saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”
OWC has been a provider of solutions since its first day. charity: water is a cause that provides a solution for a basic necessity that no one can live without. Solving real problems, being the solution, is what it is all about.
I hope you will join us in being a part of this great solution!