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How a visit to rural Zambia, backed by U2 singer Bono, led Matt Damon to marketing campaign for clear water

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Hollywood celebrity Matt Damon informed CNBC {that a} go to to rural Zambia in 2006 first opened his eyes to the influence of a worldwide water disaster that no person was speaking about.

The Oscar-winning actor, producer and screenwriter co-founded nonprofit Water.org in 2009 with former civil and environmental engineer-turned-global water and sanitation skilled, Gary White.

Together they’ve already helped greater than 43 million folks entry protected water and sanitation by WaterCredit score, an inexpensive financing program which empowers these in want to assist themselves by small loans.

Damon was talking in early April following the discharge of their new e book, “The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge.” The globally acclaimed star of the “Jason Bourne” blockbuster film franchise informed CNBC he first understood the enormity of the disaster on the go to which was organized by advocacy group DATA (Debt AIDS Trade Africa), co-founded by U2 frontman Bono.

“I found myself … waking up at 35 years old with this bizarre platform and really wanted to do something positive with it and was really on that trip trying to investigate all these issues of extreme poverty and to try to understand how I could be useful,” he stated.

“And this was just an issue that was so enormous and underpinning everything, and yet nobody was talking about it, and that really kind of sparked my interest at first.”

A 14-year-old native woman took Damon on her every day mile-long stroll after faculty to gather clear water pumped from a effectively. As they walked and talked, she informed him by an interpreter that when she was older, she was going to the Zambian capital Lusaka to turn into a nurse.

“And I just really connected to this kid because she reminded me of how I felt when I was 14 and Ben Affleck and I were going to go to the big city of New York, and we were going to be actors, and, you know that feeling that all 14-year-old’s should have, that the world is kind of their oyster,” Damon stated.

He informed the newest episode of CNBC’s “Sustainable Future” that the Zambia journey made him understand that the water disaster was not solely liable for the “senseless” deaths of thousands and thousands of youngsters who do not have entry to scrub water, however it was additionally stopping thousands and thousands extra from realizing their full potential.

“Had it not been for somebody having the foresight to sink a borewell near this girl’s house, she wouldn’t be in school, she would be spending her entire day collecting water for her family,” he stated.

“So that really got me, that kind of really landed with me and, you know, the enormity of this issue and how deeply it affects so many people, beyond the sickness and death.”

According to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), one in 10 folks on this planet lack entry to protected water, with one in 4 missing entry to a rest room. 

Internationally acknowledged water and sanitation skilled and CEO of Water.org, White, informed CNBC the Covid-19 pandemic had been a difficult time for the group, with donations taking place.

He stated it additionally “drove home” the disparity between these with and with out water all over the world.

“This crisis .. with Covid, started with us being told to wash our hands with soap and water and to do that frequently and vigorously and to stay at home,” he stated.

“And what I knew was the people that we were helping needed us more than ever, because one, they didn’t have access to water to wash their hands, they didn’t have access to soap, they couldn’t choose to stay home, they had to go out and find water. You know, every morning when you wake up, nothing else matters until you find water. It’s that simple.”

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