Water. We use it to water our lawns, make our coffee, and wash our hands, but what most of us in the United States take for granted is a difficult-to-access and valuable commodity for nearly a third of people on the planet. In fact, 1.7 billion people do not have access to a toilet and 771 million have no clean water source near their homes. The challenge of accessing clean water is responsible for the deaths of nearly 1 million people each year, which means the death of a child every two minutes, and fuels extreme poverty and spreads disease.
Oscar-winning actor, producer, and screenwriter Matt Damon, and former civil and environmental engineer-turned-global water and sanitation expert Gary White are working to solve the global water crisis. Damon was first introduced to this crisis during a visit to rural Zambia in 2006, which was arranged by Bono’s DATA organization (Debt AIDS Trade Africa). In 2008, he met water advocate Gary White at a Clinton Foundation event and they decided to combine their efforts in a single non-profit organization focused on helping people obtain clean and safe water.
Today, Damon and White’s nonprofit Water.org has enabled more than 48 million people in 13 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to access clean water and sanitation. In partnership with 149 organizations around the world, they have mobilized more than $3.8 billion in capital. This money is used to support small, affordable loans that provide people with the resources to build the basic infrastructure they need to get safe water in their homes. The fascinating story of their mission to bring safe water to millions is shared in their new book, The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge. Please join us as Matt Damon and Gary White take us along on their journey to uncover solutions, overcome challenges, raise capital, and innovate a brand-new model for solving the world’s water crisis.