Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Clean Water Crisis & What You Can Do

From Jeff: We’re doing something different today with a guest post from Matt Windley, a guy who’s making a difference in the world through an audacious goal to fight the global clean water crisis. Please consider being a part of this opportunity to help others. You can follow Matt on Twitter and his blog.

Did you know 42,000 people die each week due to not having access to clean drinking water? 90% are children under the age of five. Are they our neighbors?

Clean Water Crisis

Photo credit: charitywater.org

If you’re like me, these phrases have been a part of your life:

  • “I can’t help everyone.”
  • “There are plenty of people in America to help.”
  • “There will always be poverty. What good will my money do?”

For much of my life, I’ve waited on a “call” before reaching out to those in need.

It was as if I expected some cosmic flashing arrow to point out what I should do. I can only imagine John Mott was thinking about people like me when he said:

The awareness of a need and the capacity to meet that need: this constitutes a call.

Redefining neighbor love

Recently, I’ve discovered what a weak, pathetic view of “neighbor love” I have. In North America, our “neighbors” are the people who live next door, whom we see in passing when we’re going to work or getting the mail.

The story of the Good Samaritan has destroyed this view for me.

In the story, the Samaritan comes upon someone who has been beaten and left for dead. Without regard for his own comfort or safety, he immediately takes it upon himself to do all he can to help the one in need.

In this story, “neighbor” means something more than what we’re accustomed to. It means the one who recognized a need and sacrificed to meet it.

No flashing neon lights. No over-sized arrows pointing to it. Just the awareness of a need and the ability to meet it.

We have an opportunity

The Samaritan acted in love. We can do the same.

Our neighbors around the world sit as the beaten man, waiting for us to respond.

How can we sit by and watch them suffer from preventable diseases?

Clean Water Crisis in Uganda

Photo credit: Esther Havens (via charitywater.org)

Here are some startling facts (via Water.org):

  • Approximately 1 in 8 people in the world lack access to clean water.
  • Waterborne diseases cause 1.4 million children’s deaths every year.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.

Here’s the rub

The resources are there. The manpower is there. The only thing missing is our willingness.

Throughout the month of June, a group of people are trying to raise $1 million dollars for charity:water, an organization that brings life-saving clean water to people in the developing world.

Yes, that is a crazy goal. But a harsher reality haunts me: Over 4,000 children die each day, some while we’re reading this. I want to raise every penny I can to change this reality.

If I set unrealistic goals, it is only because I face irrational adversaries. Hunger and Disease and Thirst have no mercy, no discretion. And they must be fought with audacious weapons.

On average, $20 gives life-saving water to one person. Even if we fall short of our goal, many lives will be saved.

Will you help?

The beauty of charity:water lies in how they handle your money.

100% of your donations go directly toward life-saving projects. That makes them unique in the non-profit world. Private donors offset their admin costs so they can make use of every cent you donate.

If you would like to give, here’s the link: 30 Day – $1 Million Challenge

Clean Water Well in Rwanda

Photo credit: charitywater.org

We may not be able to help everyone, but we can help someone. I have a four year-old and a one-year-old. I cannot imagine watching them suffer from diseases we could prevent.

Together, we can make a difference. Please consider giving the gift of life in the form of clean water.

We have seen the need, we have the ability to help. Will we act?

Final challenge

Jeff here, again. I’m posting this because I’m curious. I want to know if this blog community can actually make a difference together. So, here’s my challenge:

I want to see 500 readers from this blog each help one other person by giving $20.

Some may be able to give more than that, and some less. That’s fine. Do what you can do. But what do you say? Can we give this a try?

Honestly, what’s the point of social media if we can’t focus our voices and attention on something that really matters?

Will you give a little and encourage others to do the same?

You can donate to this campaign by clicking here.

For more about charity:water and the clean water crisis watch the video below (or click here if you’re viewing this in an RSS feed or email). Please share this post with others through email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Water Changes Everything. from charity: water on Vimeo.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Thanks for sharing Jeff. My wife and I would be more than happy to help!

    • Thanks, Chris!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Chris! Appreciate that!

  • charity:water is amazing and thanks for the call to act.  We’ll be pitching in.

    • Thanks Ryan!

    • Anonymous

      You’re right. I love the way they operate. That’s one of the reasons why we picked them. Thanks for contributing!

  • You know what Jeff, I have an Idea that I will be getting back to you about… I am willing to believe that we have enough resources to make what I am thinking about happen. I will send you a message with more info and see if we can go about this in the right way…

    • cool, Rory. I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Done.  Thanks for this informative post, Jeff.  I’ve been taking a mission trip to the DR for the past couple years and have been following an outbreak of cholera in the town we always serve in.  It’s heartbreaking.  

    • Anonymous

      My wife and I went to a very poor part of Brazil this past October. It changed my perspective quite a bit. Thanks for helping Eileen!

  • Anonymous


  • Pingback: You Can Make a Difference | Tamara Out Loud()

  • “Honestly, what’s the point of social media if we can’t focus our voices and attention on something that really matters?” YES.

    I’m on it. https://tamaraoutloud.com/2011/06/24/you-can-make-a-difference/

    • indeed

    • Danny

      I was literally pasting the same quote when I looked down at your comment.  

      I love it Jeff…I can only imagine how much we can do when we unite all these online communities.  

      • Anonymous

        Absolutely right Danny. That’s basically the reason why I set the goal so high. It’s outrageous looking, but it’s honestly a very small fraction of what could be accomplished. Thanks for helping!

    • Anonymous

      You’re awesome Tamara! Really appreciate you carrying it further.

  • Jeff, THANK YOU!!!  

    A good number of those 1.4Million kids that die each year from waterborne diseases, die in my hospital . . . just a few weeks ago, I watched a little girl take her last breaths after her intestines perforated as a result of typhoid . . . a bacteria that was growing in the intestinal lining as a result of drinking contaminated water.  

    Clean water doesn’t only improve quality of life, IT PREVENTS SUFFERING!  

    THANK YOU again!  (and thanks to all of you giving!!)

    • Wow.

    • Anonymous

      That’s a heartbreaking story, but I’m glad you shared it. Thank you for being on the front lines helping people.

      • (Couldn’t be ‘on the front lines’ without heaps of folks in the ‘support’ role . . . it’s those like you who keep those like me doing what we love.  So thanks!!)

  • Great cause here! More than happy to help out.  Thanks for the call to act!

  • Isn’t it amazing that we take for granted such a valuable resource like water everyday?! It’s really eye opening. Our church has helped build a clean water well in Tanzania and water purification kits during the Haiti earthquake.

    I love being a part of the change… let’s be a part of life change folks!

  • Very good cause my friend! This need is more palpable to me after going to Africa recently and seeing how some have to carry water for miles. Also, seeing kids with parasite-bloated tummies is heartbreaking. Thanks, Jeff.

    • Wow. Thanks for sharing Rich. And for going.

  • Bernjamyn

    Bloodwater mission is a good clean water ministry as well. They are run by the band Jars of Clay. https://www.bloodwatermission.com/ . These all are awesome ministries!

  • Hi Jeff I always enjoy your posts.
    This one perhaps a little more because first I know charity water
    ands second I am founding board member of Potters Without
    Borders an international NGO based in Canada.
    We provide direct assistance to pottery groups in rural
    developing countries to assist with setting up ceramic
    water filter factories that provide local jobs benefiting their health
    and local economy.


  • Marta

    Wow, you are a great writer and motivator. I am writing an research paper on this issue and you inspire me to dig deeper into this issue. Also, I love that you want to build up future writers.

    Great job. God Bless