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Chats with Jack – Monthly Calls with Colleges and Universities

Tess with children in Rwanda; see the woman carrying water in the background?

In the late autumn of 2011 we started meeting via Webex each month with students from colleges and universities all over the country.  Our goal?  To connect them to other like-minded peers and leaders who are interested in being a part of the solution to the economic water crisis that keeps millions without access to clean, reliable water sources.

In December we began recording the calls; I tell you, this is so fun!   So why bother doing the recording?  So we can share news from the field, and begin to catalog conversations that others (like you) can listen to and learn from, at your leisure!

Jack, the voice from the field

For our December call we had an interview with Jack Owen, our Program Manager, where we heard about a pilot project we are beginning in Kenya with a Field Partner, Pamoja Trust.   Working in informal urban settlements around Mombasa, the pilot project will establish two water kiosks, provide hygiene and sanitation training, and is expected to serve between 2500-3000 people.  Listen to our chat with Jack by clicking this link, and hear more details about this project, and stories of changed lives.

What’s next in our line up of recorded topics?  Keep your eyes open for topics such as ‘Time is Money Water!’ (to be recorded during our Jan. 25th call),  ‘Technology Spotlight’, and others.  Have ideas for discussion topics?  Write to us!  We’d like to hear from you.

“Catch you on the radio”, as they say!

 

 

The Ripple Effect Celebrity Benefit

Kat Graham and Peter Chasse attend "The Ripple Effect" in Los Angeles.

Kat Graham and Peter Chasse at "The Ripple Effect" in Los Angeles.

This past Saturday, December 10th, Kat Graham and Ian Somerhalder hosted “The Ripple Effect” in Los Angeles to benefit The Water Project. It was a beautiful evening, complete with a red carpet welcome, live and silent auctions, and presentations by the hosts and our founder, Peter Chasse.

Over 200 people turned out to show their support, including a number of Kat and Ian’s friends from the CW Network. Ms. Graham, who previously sponsored a water well through donations to her fundraising page on myWaterProject, worked with Jane Owen PR to organize every detail of the evening. She arranged sponsors, solicited gifts for the auction, and made sure everyone had an amazing time.

According to GiveBackHollywood.com, “Celebrities that attended to support the cause include Emmy Rossum, Nina Dobrev, Michael Trevino, Jenna Ushkowitz, Arielle Kebbel, Krysten Ritter, Camille Winbush, Christa B. Allen, Deborah S. Craig, Matt Lanter, Tiffany Hines, Judi Shekoni, Perez Hilton, Tamra Barney, Eddie Judge, Bianca Lawson, James Kyson Lee, and Marisa Quinn. Matthew Koma, best known for his hit “Novocaine Lips” on the Abduction soundtrack, entertained the celebrity audience.”

Throughout the evening, guests tweeted support of The Water Project and helped introduce our work to thousands of new people. We’re still tallying all the donations that have been made as a result, but we can say that many new wells and water projects will be built in 2012 thanks to Kat Graham’s Ripple Effect event. We couldn’t be more thankful!

See Photos and Video Inside

 

Muffin Mondays – Turning Treats into Taps

Libby and her Mom Meg have something in common.  They love to bake.  In fact, they even have their own web site where folks in the Hamilton, Ohio area can order freshly baked muffins and cupcakes to be delivered to your door. Check them out here:http://flourpowertreats.weebly.com/index.html

But what makes Libby so cool is that she has used her love for baking as a way to raise money to bring clean water to a community in Africa.  Muffin Mondays she calls them.

Every Monday since early October Libby has delivered freshly baked muffins to the Teacher’s Room at her school in Harrison.  Flavors vary each week and have included Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Granola, Blueberry, and Cinnamon Apple Crumble.  Wrapped in clear plastic wrap so the tantalizing goodness can be seen, each muffin is labeled with this equally clear message … these muffins don’t only taste good, they DO good.

They taste good, and do good!

Each muffin is only $1, but that $1 is a gateway to clean water.  Libby’s loyal teachers and fans have been doing their part by ordering their muffins each week, and Libby and her family are gaining momentum toward their goal to fund a well.

What about the rest of Libby’s family?  Well, Dad holds the invaluable (and lucky) role of being an official taste tester; and sister Maggie is helping out in the kitchen measuring out yummy ingredients.  The inspiration of all this family fun?  Libby’s Grandmother, who has seen first-hand the need for clean water during mission trips to Africa.  Her stories shared with Mother Meg and Granddaughter Libby stirred up the passion for clean water that led the Graham family to bake treats that will turn into taps (or more likely pumps) of clean water.

So my only question?  If Monday’s are for muffins, what about Tuesday and the rest of the week?!

To track Libby’s progress, see the family fundraising page here: http://thewaterproject.org/community/profile/meg-graham

 

Smiles are only the beginning

The most amazing this about this photograph is that it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what will happen in this place.

Yet, so often, we get caught up in images like these. Don’t get me wrong, there is every reason to. The first drops of clean, safe water for a school bring dramatic and immediate changes.  In an instant, children – often young girls – are freed from the daily burden of carrying water from a far away stream or infested pond. Water is used for washing and cleaning, restoring dignity and pride. Crops are irrigated and parched plants begin to show new signs of life as the fear of hunger subsides. Stomach aches fade and soccer games take on a new found energy. Childhood resumes.

But it’s the unseen that is truly remarkable. When you step back for a moment, another image emerges.

When I gaze into these faces, I see the future. I see young men and women engaged in learning. I see healthy, rested minds hard at work. I see this young girl, Purity, with time to dream about what she’ll be when she grows up. I see a market stand opening, packed with vegetables and crafts – products of fertile fields and productive hands. I see a leader, Steve, inspired by what someone did for him, yearning to help his own neighbor escape poverty.

I’ll admit though, I still get caught up in the moment. Water flowing, children splashing, and everyone cheering the opening of a new well will do that. In our narrowly focused world, we’re so used to goals and accomplishments. We love to celebrate what is “finished.” But if we stop there, we’ll miss the fullness of what is happening.

So let’s not forget that today is day one. The hard work of the next steps begin now. Hope is only beginning to bear fruit.

Then, when we celebrate with a community or a school like this one, we can celebrate things that we’ll likely never see – future events that we’ll certainly not have a hand in. We can celebrate Purity’s graduation from high school. Or Steve’s successful new enterprise, fresh out of university. We can cheer as a new school is constructed or as the local church fulfills its mission and raises nearby villages from poverty. We can celebrate things we cannot even imagine.

That’s what it means to join in their story. That’s what it means to hope for Steve and with Purity, and all their friends at the Care Compassion Orphanage.

When water comes… everything changes. These smiles are only the beginning.

What do you see?