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:

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

Here are some startling facts (via

  • 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:

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.