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Celebrities that are ending world hunger

Many celebrities are doing their part to end poverty and illness around the world, searching for ways to contribute to the end of these injustices.  Below is a list of five celebrities that are ending world hunger.

50 Cent

From rags to riches, 50 cent is a prominent American rapper who is using his platform to end hunger in Africa. 50 cent has stated that “every day, families in Africa go without food and water, never knowing when their next meal might be; but we can change that if we all work together.” With every purchase of his new energy shot Street King, a meal is being provided to a child in need.

50 cent is strategically using his social media to promote donating to poor countries. He is using his Street King Facebook page to encourage aid. For every like he gets on the page, he doubles in terms of meals. This means that with a goal of a million likes, 50 cent will donate two million meals.

Bono

For Bono, The F Word campaign is not tied to the bad word or obscenity most commonly related to that letter, but rather from the word ‘famine.’ ONE’s F Word campaign created a movie called The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity, to showcase the fight to end famine in countries like Somalia, and to encourage action.

ONE.org is raising awareness about the more than 30,000 children that die every three months. Although ONE.org does not solicit funding, there is a petition on the website that pressures world leaders, calling on them to live up to promises already made.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera is a spokesperson for the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief Campaign. She has raised over 148 million dollars. Christina is an active humanitarian who often does field missions around the world in places like Rwanda and Guatemala. She supports WFP’s priority program: Zero Hunger.

Zero Hunger is Goal number 2 in the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Christina Aguilera proudly supports that Zero Hunger “pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

Karlie Kloss

Karlie’s Kookies, courtesy of Karlie Kloss and Momofoku’s Milk Bar Christina Tosi, have made an effort to end childhood hunger by donating meals to schools all around the world through FEED.  For every cookie purchase, FEED donates 10 school lunches around the world. To date, FEED has provided 107,532,896 nutritious meals to children in 63 countries around the world.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon is a co-founder of the H2O Africa Foundation and campaigning as a spokesperson for Feeding America. He works with the foundations to provide aid for 13 countries to end the water crisis. There are more than 22 million people who are benefiting from Matt Damon and the campaign’s aid.

Celebrities are seeing the need to provide aid to countries in need and are using their platforms to reach these goals. Matt Damon, Karlie Kloss, Christina Aguilera, Bono and 50 cent are just 5 stars that are helping the fight to end world hunger.

Francisco Benitez
Photo: Flickr

World Changing Celebrities
People often recognize celebrities for their music and performances but there are a variety of stars that use their fame as a platform to support charities, create foundations and change the world. Below are five world changing celebrities that are actively using their voice to fight global poverty.

Leonardo DiCaprio Protects Indigenous Rights

Along with spreading awareness and educating followers about climate change on his Instagram page, DiCaprio created the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation which focusses on protecting all of Earth’s inhabitants. It has recently partnered with Earth Alliance to address and take steps to find solutions to major threats to the planet’s life support systems.

One of his most notable works is the protection of indigenous rights. Dicaprio’s Foundation helps fund programs focused on and led by indigenous people. It helps indigenous people defend their rights, create renewable energy sources, develop sustainable livelihoods and increase the political impact of advocacy efforts. As of 2015, The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation accumulated $15 million in grants to fund innovative organizations and environmental projects focused on preserving and protecting the planet.

Christy Turlington Assists with Childbirth Safety in Haiti and Uganda

Because of her personal experience with complications in childbirth, Turlington is using her voice to advocate the importance of making childbirth safe for every woman. In 2010, she worked on “No Woman, No Cry,” a documentary that told the stories of pregnant women in four different countries: Bangladesh, Guatemala, Tanzania and the United States. She expressed the need for lifesaving medical care for women giving birth in case of the occurrence of complications.

She also founded the nonprofit Every Mother Counts, an organization that focuses on the health and wellbeing of mothers all over the world. As of now, her organization has partners in countries like Guatemala, Haiti, India, Tanzania and the U.S., and has impacted more than 600,000 lives.

Matt Damon Gives Access to Safe Water

Another of the world changing celebrities is Matt Damon, who is the co-founder of Water.org, an organization focused on providing families with safe water and sanitation. The foundation hopes that less time spent searching for water will allow children to go to school and get an education, improve health and help the economy. Damon’s foundation expresses the importance of access to affordable financing through WaterCredit. WaterCredit is a pay-it-forward system that makes it possible for household water and toilet solutions by bringing repayable loans to those who need access to affordable financing. In total, Damon’s foundation has benefited more than 20 million people across 12 different countries.

The Lewis Family Improves Access to Health Care

In the 1980s, Ryan Lewis’ mother, Julie Lewis, contracted HIV due to a blood transfusion from pregnancy complications. She lived through her prognosis and decided to create the 30/30 project. The 30/30 project’s main focus is to improve access to comprehensive health care by building multiple medical facilities worldwide. The project has placed a total of 30 medical facilities in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Togo, India, the U.S., Rwanda, Bolivia and Puerto Rico.

The organization places medical facilities based on the needs of the area. For example, the Mbita Clinic in Kenya intends to prevent and treat major diseases, which include HIV, TB, malaria, water­borne illnesses and respiratory and heart ailments. The Mbita Clinic reduces waiting cues, prioritizes critical care needs, improves conditions for the staff and allows for service expansion due to the district’s high infant mortality rate and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. In total, the medical facilities have had 215,963 patient visits.

Bono Fights to End Extreme Poverty

In 2004, Bono co-founded the ONE organization. ONE’s goal is to end extreme poverty and preventable illnesses and diseases by 2030. ONE is a nonprofit organization with diverse groups of people. These groups come together and take action to organize, mobilize, educate and advocate for gender equality, youth employment, quality education and equal access to health services. ONE has secured over $30 billion in funding for historic health initiatives. It also helped pass the Electrify Africa Act of 2016, a U.S. legislation on energy poverty.

From actors to musicians, these five world changing celebrities put their public reputations to use by showing everyone that their voices matter and are an important key to make a difference and change the world.

– Juliette Lopez
Photo: Flickr

What is Davos
For the last 50 years, world leaders have been flying across the world to take part in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) facilitated conversations that might leave people wondering what is Davos, exactly? The small Swiss town, Davos, is home to the annual meeting held by WEF where invited elite address global issues and how to solve them.

In 2019, there were 3,000 people that joined together in the Swiss Alps to propose new initiatives for various issues, including how to help those in developing countries. The organization has been present in the creation of successful initiatives to provide vaccines and water to those in poverty as well as in the development of a project to prevent sickle cell disease in Ghana.

Gavi the Vaccine Alliance

Nearly two decades ago, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance launched at Davos, an organization that aims to provide vaccines and immunizations to children living in poverty. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided $750 million to get the organization running.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also founded Gavi and began partnering with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2008. UNICEF distributes vaccines and immunizations on behalf of Gavi, having spent $1 billion in 2014. In 2018, UNICEF distributed products to nearly 70 countries for Gavi, and plans on doing the same in 2019, according to its shipment plans.

Gavi’s goal is to immunize 300 million children between 2016 and 2020, already having provided 700 million children with immunizations. When people living in poverty receive vaccines to common diseases, it removes a financial burden and could eventually allow them to alleviate their poverty, according to a Harvard Health Policy Review article.

Water.org’s Clean Water Initiative

At the 2017 Davos meeting, Matt Damon and Gary White, founders of Water.org, announced the organization’s partnership with Stella Artois in providing water to 3.5 million people. According to WHO, 2.1 billion people lack access to clean, safe water in their home which can lead to the spread of diseases and death. To combat this phenomenon, Water.org is selling Stella Artois chalices and using a portion of the profits for WaterCredit, a system that allows local communities to take out loans to improve their water situation. This can mean different solutions for different communities allowing them a choice that best serves their needs, according to NPR. This partnership is just one of the initiatives in place by Water.org; Water.org and Stella Artois have been working together since 2015 and have helped over 1.7 million people gain access to clean water.

Sickle Cell Screening in Ghana

At the 2019 Davos meeting, the government of Ghana signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, to treat sickle cell disease within the country. Two percent of Ghanian newborns are born with sickle cell disease, according to a 2005 study of over 200,000 newborns. Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, stated at Davos that he hopes that the MOU will allow for the placement of treatment centers in all regional hospitals and the screening of every newborn while also collecting and analyzing data on the disease.

As of March 2019, 5,600 doses of Hydroxyurea, a daily drug treatment for the disease, went to Ghana for sale at a reduced price, according to Ghana Business News. By September 2019, 40,000 more doses should enter the country.

In answering the question, “what is Davos?”, it is a small city where big leaders have been working towards making changes for more than 20 years, like the alleviation of poverty through acts such as providing vaccines, clean water services and disease screenings to countries in need. At varying levels of success, these initiatives have reached millions of people suffering from poverty and seem to be maintaining momentum.

– Makenna Hall
Photo: Flickr

Matt Damon and WASH
Matt Damon is an academy award winning actor, screenwriter, producer and humanitarian. Inspired by his trips to Mexico and Guatemala as a youth, Matt has been devoted to ending the struggle for basic human needs. He learned about the immense challenges of accessing and retrieving clean water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa and this inspired him to create the H20 Africa Foundation.

The Foundation of WASH Program

Later on, he teamed up with Gary White to merge into one foundation and launched the WASH program with the official website water.org. The WASH is an abbreviation from Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Matt Damon works with the WASH program by doing active organization work. He visits multiple countries to strategize on how to improve water condition and meets with high-level organizations like the World Economic Forum and the World Bank. This hands-on activity has positioned him as one of the world’s experts on water and sanitation issues.

Matt Damon knows water is a basic human need. In many areas around the world, women and children walk miles on a daily basis to the nearest source of clean water for cooking, drinking and bathing. Having to go so far for water every day takes people away from education and their families and Matt believes this robs people of their potential. As Matt says it himself: “Access to clean water is access to education, access to work, access-above all- to the kind of future we want for our own families, and all the member of the human family.”

The Effects of Water Crisis

The water crisis around the globe has been an ongoing battle for many countries. More people die from unsafe water than from any form of violence, due to the waterborne diseases. These diseases kill more children than malaria, measles and HIV/AIDS combined. Over 100 million families are in a constant cycle of disease and lack of opportunities to improve lifestyle. One in three families lacks access to a clean toilet, increasing the chance of disease. With the journey to get decent water being so long, 443 million school days are wasted, just because families do not have clean water. Time spent gathering water also affects the economy as well as nearly $24 billion is lost annually. Even with these setbacks, every dollar donated to improve clean water and sanitation increases economic activity by eight dollars.

The Work of WASH Program

For more than 25 years, Matt Damon has been working closely with the WASH program to bring clean, accessible water to people in poverty around the world. With the WASH program, safe water has the power to turn problems into potential. The potential for health, education and economic prosperity lie in the power of clean water and sanitation. Gary and co-founder Matt are out there making this happen. So far, they have brought clean water and sanitation stations to over 16 million people. Charity alone is not a permanent or not even long-term solution. Through government and economic outreach, they can raise money with percentages from products sold and government funding. Another way the organization is tackling the ongoing water crisis is with its own type of credit called water credit. Water credits are small loans families can apply for in order to have proper sanitation systems built. The payback on these loans has been high, with a 97 to 99 percent payback rate.

Wash Program Super Bowl Ad

In an attempt to reach out to the masses of people, Matt Damon took the WASH program and put it in a Super Bowl ad. The ad states that, although the water is available at the turn of the knob, for roughly two billion people around the world, water is difficult to access. This includes 750 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and 63 million people in India that lack access to clean water. For example, conflict in Yemen has completely cut off the supply for clean water. At least half a million of those people are infected by waterborne diarrheal diseases. To take action, Matt urges governments and businesses to invest in clean water and toilets. The commercial promotes the sale for Stella glasses. This company has dedicated a portion of 300,000 sales that will go towards water projects correlated with the WASH program. Getting clean water to people globally will require donations, but most importantly companies that will invest in this program.

With millions of people affected by the water crisis, there is no one size fits all solution. Matt Damon and the WASH program are using their influence and are utilizing all their resources to bring people water, a basic survival need, straight to their homes.

– Kayla Cammarota
Photo: Flickr

Matt Damon and Water.org
Over the course of two decades, Matt Damon has built quite the resume, with acting achievements and accolades that aspiring actors can only dream of receiving. Damon entered the Hollywood spotlight after his break through film “Good Will Hunting,” which he starred in and co-wrote with close friend Ben Affleck, eventually winning the Oscar for best writing in 1998. Following his historic debut, Damon has gone on to star in highly-praised films such as “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Departed” and the Bourne trilogy.

Damon has since devoted his time to provide underdeveloped countries in Africa, Latin America and South Asia with access to clean water through his foundation, Water.org.

According to Water.org, 663 million people lack access to safe drinking water, 2.4 billion lack access to improved sanitation, and one million are killed by tainted water or other poor sanitation-related diseases each year. One in three people lacks access to a toilet, and every 90 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease–including diarrhea, the third leading cause of death among children.

Damon decided he could no longer ignore the suffering of millions of people on a daily basis, considering that lack of sanitary water is preventable. Damon addressed his discontent with the ongoing water crisis to CNN, saying, “You know, imagine if we cure cancer tomorrow and in 100 years, three-and-a-half million people a year are still dying of it. I mean it’s just unconscionable.”

Using his celebrity platform, Damon created a nonprofit that provides affordable access to safe water and proper lavatory facilities through microfinance loans. Damon and White met at the Clinton Global Initiative and discovered that both had similar organizations that focused on clean and safe water (Damon with H20 Africa Foundation, and White with Water Partners).

Damon and White agreed to merge their charities, and in 2009, Water.org was born. Water.org has since provided more than six million people with access to safe and sanitary water while implementing programs in 14 different countries across the globe, including Ethiopia, Cambodia and Brazil.

One of the main goals of Water.org is to give women and children a life where they do not have to work hours on end to obtain water. Water.org suggests that women suffer the most from the water crisis, due to the fact that women and children spend close to six hours a day collecting water. By providing access to clean water, Matt Damon’s Water.org believes women can use the extra time saved to pursue work and school.

One of the countries most impacted by the efforts of Matt Damon’s Water.org has been Ethiopia, where 43 million people don’t have access to safe water and 71 million lack access to improved sanitation. Through the contributions made by Water.org, 149,000 Ethiopians have been reached with improved water, sanitation and hygiene. As recently as 2015, Water.org launched WaterCredit programs, which the organization expects to bring 40,000 people access to safe water over five years.

Matt Damon’s Water.org has not slowed down its efforts. In the beginning of 2017, Water.org partnered with Stella Artois to further their pursuit of clean and sanitized water. If you buy a pint or bottle in various bars in the U.K and the U.S., Artois will personally fund a month of clean water for someone in the developing world.

Damon told CBS, “We’re going to try reach over the next four years 3.5 million more people with clean water solutions through Stella.” Through programs such as WaterCredits and the partnership with Stella Artois, Matt Damon and Water.org will keep fighting to provide accessible clean and sanitized water for all.

Patrick Greeley

Photo: Flickr

matt_damon_water_project

On Jan. 22, actor Matt Damon along with Stella Artois and Water.org co-founder Gary White announced their first global social impact campaign. The initiative, called, “Buy a Lady a Drink,” aims to raise awareness to the global water crisis and help provide solutions.

When Damon heard that the United States Congress had passed into law the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act, he praised the U.S. government for its commitment to ending the crisis for the world’s poor.

“In order to solve some of the biggest challenges we face, such as ending extreme poverty, we know we must address and finally end the global water crisis for billions around the world,” Damon told USA Today in an interview about the campaign.

Damon was so dedicated to supporting his cause on water that he used toilet water to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, an activity that involves dumping a bucket of ice and water on a person’s head to raise awareness for a disease.

Stella Artois has also donated a total of $1.2 million to Water.org to help the new campaign and has invited the rest of the world to join the cause by putting limited-edition Chalices up for purchase on Amazon.

Purchasing one of the three glasses, each with a different pattern modelling art specific to Ethiopia, Honduras and India, will allow the nonprofit organization to provide five years of clean water to one person in the developing world.

Both Water.org and Stella Artois encouraged people to buy the chalices in hopes that it will spread awareness about the cause.

The campaign got its name due to the fact that women across the world spend a combined total of 200 million hours each day collecting water. This impacts women’s productivity hours and increases the likelihood of them encountering dangerous situations during those long walks.

“Buy a Lady a Drink aims to help put a stop to these water-collecting journeys, so women can start new journeys of their own,” said Damon.

The global water crisis affects a majority of women because they are often the ones who provide supplies for their families. Damon and Water.org attempts to tell stories of women around the world who collect water to raise awareness.

The charity has surpassed its goal of providing two million people with safe water and sanitation, allowing women to become more productive, and keeping children safe from health issues.

The campaign will help the 3.4 million people who die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes; most of these are preventable diseases.

Allowing access to obtaining safe, clean water can significantly improve the lifestyle of those living in remote areas.

In September, the United Nations will reveal the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals—a global agreement to pursue new goals that will allow the world to alleviate global poverty, battle inequality and build a more sustainable planet.

Addressing the global water and sanitation crisis is significant in achieving these goals.

Damon will continue to support Water.org and promote the new campaign to help the 750 million people around the world who lack access to safe water. Both the organization and beer company hope that their partnership can make a change.

– Sandy Phan

Sources: Water.org, Women’s Earth Alliance,  USA Today,  Unwater

Photo: Flickr

milken institute global conference
Philanthropist Michael Milken established the Milken Institute in 1990 with a focus on the interaction between education and job growth. The institute’s mission has expanded to include advancing economic and policy solutions to create jobs, widen access to capital and enhance health.

The institute has also expanded its reach. At this year’s Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, guests included Matt Damon, will.i.am and Charlize Theron. The 17th annual conference attracted more than 3,500 entrepreneurs, executives, philanthropists, scientists and celebrities.

Co-founder of Water.org, Matt Damon, spoke about the water crisis, in which 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water. Damon and co-founder Gary White created the nonprofit organization to find new solutions, new financing models and real partnerships, with the vision of providing safe water and proper sanitation means for all. Water.org operates in Africa, South Asia and Central America.

Black Eyed Peas singer will.i.am spoke at the conference about his experience teaching disadvantaged children from his former neighborhood in Boyle Heights, Calif. He also spoke about entrepreneurship, presenting his wristwatch phone, which was an idea he designed and created with the help of an engineering team.

Charlize Theron, founder of Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, spoke at the conference about fighting AIDS in South Africa. Almost 6 million people in South Africa live with AIDS. Theron, a native of South Africa herself, established the project in 2007 to support African youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The youth of Africa are particularly vulnerable to HIV for many reasons including gender inequity, high crime rates, lack of cohesive family units, high incidence of rape, lack of information, chronic unemployment and lack of access to health services. The project focuses on community-based organizations and gives support in the form of grants, networking and building collaborative relationships based on trust and respect.

The Milken Institute Global Conference is organized into more than 160 panels that are grouped into 11 categories, including education, philanthropy, aging, health and environment. Next year’s conference will be held April 26-29.

– Haley Sklut

Sources: Forbes, Look to the Stars, Milken Institute, Water.org
Photo: Fulloma

UNICEF Awards Matt Damon and Michael Douglas
Matt Damon and Michael Douglas were awarded the Danny Kaye Humanitarian award at the 2013 UNICEF ball this month. The Danny Kaye award stems from late actor Danny Kaye, who was UNICEF’s first Global Ambassador in 1954.

Kaye was a beloved comedic Actor to Hollywood but a strong advocate to children. Kaye had been quoted saying “if children are healthy and have care and education, surely they will be more effective adults, and maybe, just maybe, make the world a better place.”

Michael Douglas was honored for his strong leadership and advocacy roles with the United Nations. Douglas became United Nations Messenger of Peace in 1998. Over the years Douglas has brought attention to the rise in child soldiers in Sierra Leone through a UN film “Child Soldiers.”

Throughout the documentary Douglas interviews former soldiers, as well as helps children reunite with their loved ones.  Many child soldiers are kidnapped by rebel groups and endure inhumane conditions while with them. Douglas is also a strong advocate for weapons control and nuclear disarmament, and continues to help the UN’s mission of peace and security.

Matt Damon was awarded for his strong advocacy efforts toward the need for clean water around the world. Damon co-founded water.org, an organization that helps people in developing nations gain access to clean water through loan assistance programs.

“Every 20 seconds a little kid, a child dies because they lack access to clean water and sanitation, every 20 seconds,” Damon states in an interview with CNN.

One way the program works is by giving communities loans so they can gain access to clean affordable water either by building wells or putting water pipes directly in villager’s homes. Having the opportunity to have water nearby allows villagers, especially women and children, extra time for education and career training.

Facts from water.org show millions of hours per day are spent collecting water from wells many miles from villager’s homes.

“It’s not just about the millions of children who actually  die every year, it’s about the quality of life that somebody can have if they have access to clean water” states Damon, after speaking to a girl who is able to play and be a child again , instead of spending that time collecting water for her family.

These men have been great humanitarians throughout the years and will continue to advocate for children and families for years to come. It’s through their efforts along with thousands of other great humanitarians why the world is changing and becoming a place of peace and freedom.

Amy Robinson

Sources: Variety, UNICEF, CNN, Water, Vimeo, IIP Digital
Photo: PopSugar

Matt Damon Toilet Strike

Dear Toilet,

It’s not you. It’s us.

Sincerely,

Matt Damon

Matt Damon broke up with his toilet…well at least until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The Oscar-winning actor and co-founder of Water.org announced his toilet strike in a comedic video.

The video is a staged press conference with prominent comedians. It highlights society’s ignorance of the world water crisis and the underappreciation of toilets. 780 million people lack access to clean water.

Damon mentions how the toilet has saved more lives than any other invention, yet 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets or basic sanitation.  More people own cell phones than toilets. The “Matt Damon Toilet Strike” is designed to be less about him and more about people who lack the luxury of clean sanitation.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson released a statement that the world water crisis is something people “don’t like to talk about.” The United Nations aims to double the number of people with toilets by 2015.

The organization’s long-term plan is to “eliminate the practice of open defecation” by 2025.  This practice makes unsanitary water the number one killer of people worldwide.  In fact, children under the age of five are most likely to die from diarrhea-related diseases.

Water.org traded the traditional public service announcement model in hopes of creating a viral frenzy.

“If Sarah Silverman and I can generate millions of views on YouTube for something ridiculous, then we should be able to do better for one of the most important and solvable issues of our time,” Damon said.

The nonprofit has “been toying with [the idea of comedic videos] for a couple of years.”  Damon and the rest of Water.org believe viral videos can “generate new levels of awareness and participation in the cause.”

The announcement video is the first of 12 videos. The strike campaign’s other videos include: Damon breaking up with his toilet, other celebrities joining the strike, and John Elerick fighting to outdo Damon.  The video was filmed for free at YouTube’s L.A. studios as YouTube works to educate nonprofits about best practices for video campaigns.

Jessica Mason, YouTube spokeswoman, understands that views should not be the main concern for non-profits. “We want to help nonprofits raise awareness and turn that awareness into action.”

Water.org will continue using social media to further awarness.  The website features extensive social media integration.  It asks visitors to “lend” their social media accounts and allow Water.org to publish automatically until World Toilet Day on November 9, 2013.

For more information, visit strikewithme.org or tweet questions with #strikewithme.

Whitney M. Wyszynski

Source: Strike With Me

matt damon water_opt

The premise of water.org’s new video campaign is simple; until there is clean water and sanitation for all of the world’s citizens, rich and poor, Matt Damon is on toilet strike. However, the campaign also points to an emerging trend of using comedy in charity campaigns.

Traditionally, nonprofits attempted to use the sheer power of statistics accompanied by heart-wrenching images to support their cause. In a changing media climate, organizations are realizing that the way to attract the public’s attention is to not only appeal to pathos, but to make them laugh.

Water.org is attempting, like most advertising firms, to make an online viral video. If viewers find the video entertaining enough, the impacting message of the campaign will quickly spread. This mode of communication differs drastically from a strictly television or radio campaign that relies on a viewer coming into contact with the message at a certain time in a certain place. Online videos can be viewed at one’s own convenience and on mobile devices making them readily available to anyone with internet.

Mike McCamon, who runs Water.org’s community outreach program, explains that the intent of this non-traditional PSA is to get more people engaged and interested. Once the viewer is hooked by the video, the traditional non-profit mode of operation comes into play on the organization’s website. There are a slew of statistics and images that highlight the importance of the company’s vision of “the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water”.

The message behind Water.org and Matt Damon’s toilet strike is a crucial aspect of development, but the video also points to a trend that is larger than a single nonprofit organization. If nonprofits can successfully blend humor with their important and often moving campaigns, they are more likely to attract attention to their cause and help more people in poverty, and in this case, those without clean water and sanitation.

Access the video here.

Sean Morales
Source: Los Angeles Times
Photo: NYDailyNews