I had a pleasant surprise Thursday night when I got home. I received my Kona edition of Triathlete Magazine. I was exhausted but I took time before bed to thumb through the pages to see what was in the issue. I came across a page on Team Water.Org. Now, I’m quite familiar with Water.org. I have made monetary donations to the cause and also have donated my voice via Facebook. I’m a strong believer in their cause.
Water.org is a nonprofit organization founded by Matt Damon (yes, the actor!) and Gary White in 2009. The organization’s mission is to provide access to safe, clean water and sanitation to developing countries in Africa, South Asia, and Central America. Here’s a few interesting facts about water:
- Every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related diseases
- Women around the world spend about 200 million hours a day collecting water (often walking miles to retrieve water and bring it back to their homes)
- More people have a cell phone than a toilet
- 884 million people worldwide lack safe drinking water, which is over 3x the population of the United States
- The lack of clean water and proper sanitation claims more lives than wars with guns
An American who takes a 5-minute shower a day uses more water than a typical person living in the slums of a developing country uses in a whole day
As a public health student I am very passionate about access to clean water and proper sanitation. Access to clean water and proper sanitation can solve so many problems in developing countries. Millions of people who die from water-related diseases each year will be saved. Women will no longer spend hours walking to collect water and can go to school to be educated. For every $1 invested in water infrastructure there is a return of about $3-$34 depending on the region and technology. Water can change the world!
Now, what is Team Water.org (T.W.O)? T.W.O was started by Kyle Damon, Matt Damon’s brother who is a triathlete. It is a nation-wide community of endurance athletes who support the cause of clean water. Members of the team raise awareness of the water crisis and select races in which they match the race entry fee with a donation to water.org. The team is open to all athletes. They range from weekend warriors to Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker and former Ironman World Champion Karen Smyers. You can join the team for a $25 annual fee (which will provide an individual a lifetime supply of clean water in a developing country) and pledge to match your race fee(s) with a donation to water.org. You also need discounts on training products and access to a private online store where you can buy a team uniform and gear!
I am now a proud member of Team Water.org and I encourage all of you to consider joining the team or making a future donation to my fundraising efforts with the team. You can save a life!