In an effort to raise awareness of the world water crisis, the Georgetown chapter of UNICEF celebrates UNICEF World Water Week this week as a part of the UNICEF Tap Project, started in 2007.
Participants in the Tap Project asks donors to contribute $1 or more for the tap water that is normally available for free. According to the Georgetown UNICEF Web site, each dollar provides a child 40 days of potable drinking water. The UNICEF World Water Week events include a movie screening, a bar night at Epicurean and numerous advocacy events.
Andrew Gaul (COL ’12), the UNICEF special events chair, said that the Tap Project hopes to provide clean water to those who need it for longer than 40 days.
“Forty days of clean water is still only 40 days,” Gaul said. “Children deserve clean water for life so sickness and dehydration will not hinder their development.”
According to Gaul, UNICEF distributes water in disaster situations, as well as oral rehydration salts and purification tablets to treat diarrhea and disease. The organization also helps ensure clean water supply in impoverished communities by distributing water kits and installing water pumps, wells and latrines.
Gaul added that UNICEF has teamed with other groups on campus such as Eco-Action and The Corp to promote World Water Week.
“This year, we are approaching the project with a greater emphasis on advocacy and engagement with the Georgetown community,” Gaul said. “We hope to make the presence of the Tap Project felt on campus and let people know that we are excited about this ongoing project.”
Eco-Action President Kristin Ng (COL ’11) said, “We chose to work with UNICEF on this issue because a lack of access to clean drinking water amounts for one in 10 deaths of children under 5 [years old] in some countries.”
UNICEF and Eco-Action screened a documentary about the privatization of water, entitled “FLOW: For Love of Water” last night in Healy Hall. They also held a challenge in the Leavey Center during the day where participants were invited to test their ability to tell the difference between bottled water and tap water.
According to Gaul, the event is successful because it only asks people to make small changes in order to make a difference.
“This project is not asking people to change their lives, but simply to inform themselves about the issue and realize that their contributions will make a difference. Simplicity translates into effectiveness,” Gaul said.
UNICEF is an international organization that focuses on areas such as child survival and development, basic education and gender equality, according to the organization’s Web site.”