March 2013 Archives

Turning Pennies Into Clean Water

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I once overheard a conversation between two teenage girls where they talked about how much they hated pennies. One of the girls said she disliked pennies so much that she threw them away. I was aghast, not just at the idea of literally throwing away money, but because, for me, pennies mean clean water.

For more than five years, I've saved every penny I've gotten for the African Well Fund. I never spend pennies. I pick pennies up off the ground. I kept a jar on my desk at work and was always happy to receive baggies-full, mugs-full or even hands-full of pennies from coworkers.

One Christmas, a friend brought me a water jug filled with pennies that she rescued from someone who planned to dump the jar when he moved out of his house. The jug weighed nearly 20 pounds and yielded about $50 for the African Well Fund.

My penny hauls aren't usually that large, but I know that each one has made a difference. For the jars that I turn into cash (about $10 per jarful) and then into donations (more than $200 since I started saving pennies), African Well Fund uses that money to fund projects implemented by Africare that will improve access to clean water and sanitation for thousands of people, projects that will keep people healthy, projects that will help girls stay in school, projects that will make new businesses possible, projects that will change lives.

For World Water Day, the African Well Fund hopes to collect a mile of pennies (84,480 pennies, or $844.80, lined up makes a mile) to fund future projects, and needs your help. You can pledge to save pennies for the African Well Fund here.

I've signed the pledge and my jar is ready. Let's work together to turn more pennies into clean water.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes - Pennies for the People

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Every day, women and children in developing countries must walk miles just to obtain enough water to live from day to day. These hours-long journeys reduce economic productivity, make it difficult for children to go to school, and since water points are not necessarily sanitary, increase the risk of waterbourne illness.

Where I live in the United States, a 'long walk' for water is the two minutes it takes to get from my desk to the water machine which dispenses clean, fresh water at no cost to me.

So this week we're challenging AWF supporters to become more aware of their water usage by hosting 'A Walk in Her Shoes Penny Fundraiser'. It takes 84,480 pennies lined up to make a mile, so why not collect a mile's worth of pennies in honor of those who make this journey every day?

Further, what if we focus on just how much water we use every day by committing to donate a token amount for that usage. A penny for a cup of coffee, a dime for a flush of a toilet, a quarter for the dishwasher or a shower? The average American uses 100-176 gallons of water every day. The average African family? Five.

Are you in?

If so, here's a quick guide to starting your own penny fundraiser at home, at work, or wherever your travels may take you.

1) Check out AWF's 'Mile in Her Shoes' kit, which is packed with water facts, fundraising ideas, lesson plans, and much more. This will give you all the info you need to move ahead with your own fundraiser!

2) Find some containers. You don't need anything special - a glass, pitcher, or vase will do. Print out African Well Fund labels so everyone knows exactly what the collection is for, and tape or otherwise affix them on to your containers.

glasses.JPG3) Put your containers somewhere visible. If you're at work, this might mean a kitchen or break-room. At home, perhaps next to your coffee maker is a good bet.

glasses2.JPGAre you committed to going fully virtual? AWF has started a Crowdrise for 'Walk in Her Shoes'. Start a team, drum up support on your blog, family e-mail newsletter, or Facebook, and go to town!

4) PROFIT! Or, well, not quite. Spread the word - let your co-workers know what you're raising money for and why it's important. Tell your kids why you're scrounging for loose change whenever you go to get a glass of water.

5) Then, profit. Count up those pennies (and maybe nickels and dimes!) and make a donation to African Well Fund. There are a number of options available on our website.

Just make sure to note you're participating in the 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes' fundraiser.

Ready, set... go!

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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