Last week I mentioned two important facts about water and the world around us.
Fact #1: The problem is serious. While the rest of us look at pictures of the iPad and debate what kind of healthcare reform America should have, one billion people in Africa and Asia don’t have clean water.
Fact #2: Empowering people at the local level is the best way to fix the problem. Addressing the global water crisis is probably the most important thing we can do to help people make their own choices. You can’t “design your ideal lifestyle” when your children keep getting sick from bad water.
This week, let’s add a third observation:
Fact #3: It’s best to tackle the problem one place at a time. The overall water crisis is hard to fix (one billion people!), but when you break it down country by country, region by region, and community by community, it’s not nearly as difficult.
With the third observation in mind, today I’m kicking off a different kind of launch.
What You Need to Know
1. I’ve chosen to work on this project with my friends at Charity: Water, and together we’ve chosen to focus on two communities in rural Ethiopia. 100% of donations – yours and mine – will be applied directly to project expenses.
2. I want to raise a minimum of $500,000 for water wells in Ethiopia over the next 18 months. I’d be happy with more, of course, but it’s good to have a goal.
3. My own commitment towards this goal includes 10% of all revenue (not just profit, but everything that comes in) from UnconventionalGuides.com, 20% of all author royalties from my upcoming print book, and 100% of royalties for every reader I meet on the Unconventional Book Tour this fall. (The more people who come out, the more money we raise — more on that later.)
4. My accountant will provide a letter every year stating that I’ve kept my end of the bargain. I’ll also be discussing the project in every speech I give, and whenever I talk with people about AONC in general… which is pretty much every day.
5. Despite going all out, my own contribution will be a small part of the overall fundraising goal. The rest will need to come from friends, readers, and partners who want to be a part of the mission.
Over the next few months, I’ll tell you more about why this project is so important, and more about the specific communities in Ethiopia we’ll be partnering with. In late 2011 I’ll also take a small team to visit the communities and document the work that’s been done in cooperation with local leaders.
If this mission resonates with you, I would like you to be part of it with me.
Many of you have your own circle of influence or your own small army. When you speak, they listen to you because they trust you. I recently mentioned my support for Partners in Health in their relief effort for Haiti. Someone wrote in a few days later and said he read the post and felt compelled to give $10,000. WOW. Amazing, yes?
But then—he asked his friends to help out as well, and they raised ANOTHER $10k. I was suitably impressed, both by the donation and by the way his friends agreed to help double the initial amount. These are the kinds of things that happen with a group that is united in purpose to achieve something great.
If you have a blog, a classroom, an audience of some kind, you’re invited to be a partner in this project. You can donate directly, tell your friends, or get creative.
More information here:
P.S. We’re still working out a few things in terms of how the blogger commitments and partner opportunities will work, but I didn’t want to wait on launching this important project. (Another lesson from Linchpin: artists ship! Artists get things out! I agree.)
I figured some of you may not want to wait either, so that’s why it’s here now.
And… you can support our Ethiopia Water Project here.