Saving Lives with Clean Water

Thanks to the incredible support of 79 campaign donors so far, we are very close to reaching our goal of providing 10,000 people with access to clean water for 10 years! I am so inspired by the amplified impact we have when we work together! To see our current fundraising total and to donate to our WaterBearers campaign, click this link: Water for the World.

Growing up in South Africa, I was aware from a young age, that people did not have equal rights. However, I was unaware that many people around the world did not have the right to a basic necessity like clean water. One particularly vivid memory I recall is of my mother telling me at age 15, that my nanny, Beatrice Shabalala, had a baby about the same time that I was born. Instead of returning immediately to her village so that the baby could be looked after by the elders while she returned to work, as was the typical African custom, my mother encouraged her and the baby to stay with us for three months. Whatever Beatrice did for me, she also did for her own baby; sterilizing our bottles and making sure everything was clean and safe for both of us. When the baby was three months old, Beatrice returned to her village for the elders to look after her baby. The elders gave the baby water directly from the river. As a result, the baby died within a week of going back home. My mother always had regret and heartache over what happened. She questioned whether things would have been different if the baby had been born in a village with access to clean water or if the baby had gone home sooner. The pain of this baby's death stayed with my mother for her entire life. I realized then how fortunate I was to have access to clean water. I cannot believe that today, many others are still not as fortunate.

Our world population is 7.36 billion and the UN reports that 783 million people do not have access to clean, drinkable water. This means that over 10% of the world's population do not have access to clean water. We have the power to change this statistic!

I was inspired on March 4th by two local keynote speakers at Accenture's International Women's Day (IWD) event. Amy Redford made me sit up and think when she said "I looked at my life and wanted to make sure that it wasn't going in a direction without my consent". Clare Munn asked the group "Are you satisfied with your life?" About three people raised their hands and I wasn't one of them. I realized this was because I have always wanted to make a significant contribution to the world but have been stopped by thinking that "I am only one person". It is difficult to see how you can make an impact when the issues in the world are so enormous. Then it hit me, I am not just one person, I have a large network. When people work together, we create a significant impact.

On March 8th, I joined Michelle Patterson's Women Network live streaming event for IWD and heard Spryte Loriano and Jane Brinton, co-founders of the Waterbearers, discuss their global campaign to provide clean water to one million people in 30 days, by World Water Day on March 22nd. I was driven by their bold goal and also loved their wonderfully simple but powerful mission "to inspire women who have access to clean water to get it to those who do not".

My first instinct was to donate $50 to the Waterbearer campaign. Then a lightning bolt hit me and I found myself thinking of my company's IWD theme "Be Greater Than" and signed up to be a Waterbearer team lead. I was now responsible for generating $5,000 of donations in less than 2 weeks! This put me far outside my comfort zone! The strange thing is, it is also exactly where I need and want to be!

You can watch my video to hear about why this is so important to me and can donate to my Water for the World campaign if this cause resonates with you.

The Waterbearers campaign is centered on Women, Water and Wisdom. The best piece of wisdom I have ever received was from my mother, who was the most inspirational woman in my life. She told me "Ask or the answer will always be no". I am offering people the opportunity to impact the lives of 100 people by providing them with access to clean water for 10 years for $50. Framing my request from the perspective of this powerful outcome has been instrumental in me closing in on our $5,000 goal. My friends Katrina Bergh and Natalie Galbraith shared the ripple effect that clean water has on education, as children can go to school instead of walking 6km to get water every day. Who wouldn't support this compelling two-for-one proposition?

The math is very simple. Whatever amount you donate, double it and that is how many people's lives you will impact by giving them access to clean water for up to 10 years.

I am feeling particularly inspired by what we can accomplish in the world when we work together. And particularly thankful for meeting Spryte Loriano and Jane Brinton.