charity: water raising $2 million to bring water to 100 villages in Orissa

3rd Sep 2013
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New York-based non-profit charity: water, has set a goal to raise $2 million to bring clean drinking water to 100 villages in Orissa. The project is part of charity: water’s September fundraising campaign, and on last count, 1,382 crowdsourced fundraising campaigns had been initiated. Encouragingly, of the $2 million target, more than a fourth has already been reached. When this story was published, $287,473 had already been mopped up.

charitywater
Picture credit: charity: water’s Facebook page.

charity: water’s mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Every year, it picks one country to bring about large-scale change, and this year in what is its biggest campaign to date, it has turned its attention to India. For the September Orissa project, charity: water is working with Gram Vikas, to implement the program. Gram Vikas, a non-profit that is more than three decades old, has positively impacted 3,66,999 people in 24 districts in Orissa to date.

charity: water’s model is one where it raises money, formulates the project plan, ties up with a local partner and then works with the local communities to ensure that they have bought into the project. Before the water system is built, each family must construct their own toilet and bathing facility. Then the community builds a water tower to store water from a reliable source. Finally, each household gets three taps with a piped water supply — one in the kitchen, bathroom and shower. From the time a campaign is live, money raised, to the final construction, there is a gap of 18 months.

On charity: water’s site, interested individuals can design their own fundraising campaigns and set customized targets depending on the amount they want to raise. Neil Harwani, for example turns 17 shortly, and has set a goal of $1,996 for himself and is encouraging friends and family to donate $17 each. Currently he has raised $1,132 of his $1996 target that will help 25 people get access to water.

To date charity: water has funded 8,944 water projects in 20 countries. The non-profit pumps in 100 per cent of public donations raised into funding projects and makes up for its operating costs through the largesse of private donors.

charity: water gives donors the ability to track every water project through photos and GPS coordinates on Google Maps. In 2012, charity: water was the recipient of the Google Impact Awards, to monitor their water projects, using remote sensor technology. The $5 million pilot project will give charity: water the ability to ascertain water flow in any of their projects. The organization has set stiff targets for itself, by 2022, it hopes to give access to clean drinking water to 100 million people.

India’s water crisis:

The water crisis in India is a serious problem: out of $1.5 billion that is spent annually on rural medical expenses; $600 million is due to water borne diseases. According to a recent study, India is near the bottom in terms of quality of potable water. Out of a list of 122 countries rated, India stands second last at 120. According to social enterprise WaterAid, 37.7 million people are afflicted with water borne diseases every year. Over a lakh children die of diarrhea every year that is mainly caused by unsafe water.

Watch this video to understand the water crisis in India

Want to help 100 villages in Orissa boot out their water woes? Start a campaign here. Prefer to donate? Do it here.

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