Move for H2O
Move for H2O is a Canadian fundraising initiative in partnership with HOPE International where volunteers can participate in activities to raise money for water-insecure countries. Move For H2O’s 10th annual campaign selected the Haitian region of Fon Batis to support 4,989 people in the area who must walk 3 km uphill to the nearest water source, the Marianne Spring.

Exercise for a Cause

Move for H2O organizes public and virtual athletic events across Canada that individuals or teams can participate in while fundraising. Participants registered for events like Bike in Edmonton, Run in Vancouver and Kickbox in Burnaby, all of which the organizer hosted. Others held their own athletic fundraising events from kayak paddling to dog fetching.

Throughout the weeklong event, volunteers are provided with a fundraising page. This way, friends and family can cheer them on while they work out. Move for H2O encouraged participants to move 6 km to match the distance the people of Fon Batis walk daily for water, according to its website.

Organizers at Move for H2O were excited to provide for the people of Fon Batis through the 2022 fundraiser. Haiti remains one of the world’s most water-deprived countries, with 3.3 million people lacking access to clean water. Additionally, World Bank reported that water access in Haiti has decreased from 62% in 1990 to 52% in 2015, likely due to deforestation and a lack of sanitation infrastructure in rural regions.

HOPE International describes clean water as “the catalyzing step communities take to end the extreme poverty.” The nonprofit designated this year’s fundraising campaign with the purpose of constructing a water system in Haiti. It will bring clean water from the Marianne Spring directly to the people in the 12 neighborhoods of Fon Batis, instead of the other way around.

This development could directly impact the health of people. It could improve living conditions for the women and children who trek over two hours across high and uneven terrain to the Marianne Spring, according to Move for H2O.

Move for H2O’s Fundraising Impact

This year’s fundraiser, which took place from June 10th to June 18th, raised $152,453 for Fon Batis. Move for H2O posted a Twitter update following the fundraiser, stating that the money will go toward digging trenches, installing tanks, laying pipes and assembling taps for the water system.

Six kilometers of piping will send water from the spring into four tanks, according to Move for H2O’s website. The water will flow into community taps in Fon Batis after a treatment plant filters it. The organization foresees “profound transformation” coming to Fon Batis, “because water changes everything,” Move for H2O said on Twitter.

HOPE and Move for H2O’s commitment to providing water to families improved the lives of more than 12,000 people. Over the last 10 years, the fundraiser has raised about $1.07 million which went towards various communities like the El Capotillo District of Dominican Republic and Talaxcoc, Guatemala. Move for H2O is a strong example of how compassionate and committed individuals can create lasting impacts for the communities that need it most.

– Evan Lemole
Photo: Pixabay

Virtual Reality Can Affect Global Poverty
Although the technology of virtual reality (VR) is still in its infancy, it is steadily growing more advanced and more easily available to the public. VR is opening up all kinds of new opportunities and experiences, and they’re not just limited to video games – people around the world are finding that virtual reality can affect global poverty.

VR has made a strong impact in such fields as healthcare, manufacturing and even insurance. Many around the world see no reason why these advances shouldn’t also address humanitarian needs.

Researchers have found that virtual reality is incredibly powerful at building the feeling of empathy in users, which gives it obvious appeal to those in the non-profit world. With its ability to connect users to other people, the technology can make unprecedented strides in shining a light on the plight of millions.

According to Jeremy Bailenson of Stanford University, “Virtual reality transforms relationships that tend to be abstract to become visceral. Our research has shown that making this cause and effect relationship perceptual, as opposed to theoretical, changes consumer and other behaviors more than other interventions.”

Some non-profit organizations are now taking advantage of the fact that virtual reality can affect global poverty. HOPE International has found success by reaching out to potential donors with the technology by showing them exactly what problems their donations will be addressing. Boosted levels of empathy generate more contributions, helping to make a significant dent in global need.

Another organization, Trickle Up, combats poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries also by using virtual reality. By introducing VR experiences to donors at a fundraising gala, the organization was able to connect supporters to a local shop owner in Guatemala whose business would benefit from their donations. Trickle Up’s Communications Officer, Tyler McClelland, noted that having VR at the event increased interest and made guests more excited about the cause.

Some have taken the involvement of virtual reality in the humanitarian world to an even more interesting level. Chris Milk of UNICEF partnered with Samsung in 2015 to create Clouds Over Sidra, a virtual reality film that follows a 12-year old girl, Sidra, through her day-to-day life in the Syrian refugee camp of Za’atari in Jordan. Winner of the 2015 Doc/Fest Award, the film breaks barriers in the documentary world, making the VR viewer an interactive participant.

While there is much time and research yet to spend on the technology, early success strongly indicates that virtual reality can affect global poverty. It has the power to break down walls and, as the creator of Clouds Over Sidra said, it “connects humans to other humans in a profound way I’ve never before seen in any other form of media, and it can change people’s perception of each other. That is why I think virtual reality has the potential to actually change the world.”

Emily Marshall

Photo: Flickr