Birthday Month – A Charity: Water Challenge

Collecting Water at the Well - Old Dhaka, Bangladesh
Women collecting water at a well in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Before you continue reading, go to your nearest water faucet, turn it on for a few seconds, turn it off, then stand back.

The simple task you just performed constitutes a dream for nearly a billion people around the world. Why are we telling you this? Because we hope to use our birthdays this month as a platform to give to an organization that aims to deliver on that dream, one community at a time.

And we’d like your help.

Yes, August is birthday month for the two of us. We don’t often do much in the way of fanfare to celebrate our birthdays, but this year we are doing something different.

We’re joining our birthdays together to raise money for Charity: Water, an organization whose sole aim is to bring reliable clean water access to communities around the world.

Our birthday challenge: raise $1,500 by August 25, 2012.

If prose isn’t your thing and you’d like to cut to the chase, here’s where you can find all the details you need to help us make this happen: Uncornered Market Birthday Month – Charity: Water

Buy Us a Virtual Beer on our Birthday…So Someone Can Drink Clean Water for Life

Imagine joining us to celebrate our birthdays this year. A big open place with street food stands, people from all corners of the world and maybe some live music. Yes, we’re dreaming a bit, but it’s our birthday fantasy so please allow us this momentary break from reality.

Dan and Audrey Berlin
Hipster hooligans in Berlin.

Perhaps you’d like to buy us a beer or glass of wine to toast the occasion, or a gift. Even if you could imagine giving nothing at all…

We ask that you consider giving to Charity: Water through our joint birthday campaign that will run until August 25, 2012 (Audrey’s actual birthday): Uncornered Market Birthday Month

charity water rwanda
A new Charity: Water well brings clean water to a community in Rwanda.

Not only will 100% of your donation go directly to water access programs, but you’ll actually get to see where in the world that money is being spent, right down to the GPS coordinates of the wells being dug and the treatment facilities being operated. This is not a passive giving process, but one where you can get involved and feel part it.

Why clean water?

Imagine not having access to clean water in your own life. Stop for a moment and seriously consider this little thing that no doubt you’ve taken (we have all taken) for granted at least once in your life.

Imagine, however, walking each day for hours to collect water from a dirty stream or a standing water source. Then imagine carrying that water back – sometimes 40 pounds a canister – for several hours more. Imagine the result: murky, bacteria-ridden water, carried back home not only to wash and to clean, but also to cook with and to drink.

Drinking water in a village in Ethiopia.

Think of the health consequences: dysentery, skin infections, disease — to name only a few — all because of the lack of access to clean water.

Here’s the good news: we have the technology to solve clean water access through wells, purification methods and other techniques. All that’s needed: the will, some resources and the mechanism to bring it all together effectively.

Ethiopia drill water
A Charity: Water drill at work in Ethiopia.

That’s where Charity: Water comes in.

Around 800 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water. Charity: Water’s mission: keep going until everyone possible has access to clean water. You could say that Charity: Water desperately wants to work its way out of existence.

Madurai, India: Girl and Pitcher
Girl at Well in Madurai, India

Why did we choose Charity: Water for our birthdays?

When we consider organizations to work with and support, we look for the following characteristics: commitment, investment in local partners, and transparency.

Charity: Water fits.

Passion and commitment of the founder.

We were fortunate to see Scott Harrison speak last month in Portland at the World Domination Summit and to spend time with him at a speakers’ dinner. His personal story includes going from New York nightclub promoter to volunteer in West Africa to setting up Charity: Water to solve a problem he became passionate about when he worked aboard a surgical boat off the coast of Western Africa. Long story short, so many of the medical complications he’d seen boiled down to one thing: dirty water. When he returned to the United States, he dedicated his life to doing something about it.

Commitment to transparency.

Scott has implemented a “show, don’t tell” system at Charity: Water so that you, as a donor, can see how your money is being used in every step of the process. You can see the actual communities where your money is being used and the ways in which it’s being invested. This approach not only connects donors to the programs they contribute to, but this level of transparency also raises the bar for the nonprofit sector in general.

100% of public donations go directly to programs.

When Scott set up Charity: Water, he made a promise that 100% of public donations would go directly to programs. He’s been able to keep this promise through corporate and private donations for administrative costs and in-kind contributions for things like office space.

The upshot: all that you donate goes directly into the field.

Working with local partners.

Charity: Water works with local partners to carry out projects, thereby providing local jobs and increasing training opportunities for community members. Sustainable development is all about investing in and training local partners so that they themselves are vested in the process and possess the skills to manage and extend projects where necessary.

Thank you!

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our birthdays than by using the occasion to give back. A big thanks for getting involved and helping us achieve our birthday goal to bring clean water access to a few more communities around the world.

One last time so we don’t forget, here’s the page to make it all happen: Charity: Water Birthday Challenge

Now let’s do this thing!

ethiopia clean water

Enjoy this?

Then sign up for more travel wisdom & inspiration from 8+ years of traveling the world.


  1. says

    @Sky: We really appreciate your support! Thanks in advance for the contribution for clean water!

    @Sutapa: Thank you for your kind contribution. We’ll be posting our birthdays on Facebook as well – Dan’s was August 4 and mine is August 25.

    @CosmoHalliton: We’ve been very fortunate to have always had access to clean water growing up, but we’ve seen firsthand the importance of clean water in communities. This is just our little bit to give back. Thanks for your support!

  2. says

    @Steve: Well, Charity: Water is really the one who is doing the amazing work. We’re just trying to help with funding so it can expand its projects and reach more people. Thanks for your kind words though!

    @Heather: Thank you!! Really do appreciate your birthday contribution. We’ll be sure to pull the hats out next time we see you :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *