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How I Quit My Day Job to Help Change the World46:05 with Viktoria Harrison
Viktoria was working at an advertising agency in New York City when she first began to feel restless about her path in life. She was drawn to more meaningful work, and wanted to use her talents to make a significant impact in people's lives. One day, a friend of hers introduced her to the founder of charity: water, then a tiny start-up in a Soho living room. After a few nights and weekends volunteering her time, she took a leap of faith, quit her job in advertising and joined charity: water full time. In the last seven years, she'ss has helped grow charity: water's mission to bring clean water to people in developing countries, and focused the brand around creativity, design, photography and storytelling. From a living room in downtown soho, charity: water has grown to 70 employees and works in 20 developing countries around the world. In seven years, they have funded 10,000 water projects and provided clean, safe drinking water to three million people. Viktoria is the creative director at charity: water and runs a team of designers, story-tellers and creatives who are all using their talents to help end the global water crisis.
[SOUND] Hi guys, can you hear me? 0:00 Yes? 0:08 This works? 0:08 Great. 0:08 All right, so I'm gonna start, first of all I want 0:09 to say that my body does not look weird, I am pregnant. 0:13 And when Jerry asked me to speak it was like nine months ago. 0:15 And I had no idea that I would be standing up here seven months pregnant. 0:20 So this is kind of a new experience for me and it's kinda fun. 0:24 I am the creative director at Charity Water, and I 0:28 wanna start my talk by asking you guys a question. 0:31 Can you remember the last time that you were thirsty, or the 0:34 last time that you could not find a drink of clean water. 0:38 Anyone can remember that? 0:44 A few people? 0:45 Great. 0:47 I can't. 0:48 Because, I live in New York City, and there 0:48 is, a clean drinking water source around every single corner. 0:52 I open up my tap, I go to the bathroom, there 0:56 are water fountains, there are water bottles sold on every single corner. 0:59 We, we never have to think about the problem of clean water. 1:02 The nature of the work that I do is, is the complete opposite. 1:06 There are 800 million people in the world, who 1:11 don't have access to clean and safe drinking water. 1:14 So I'm gonna tell you a little bit about the issue that we're working on. 1:16 And I promise this, we will talk about design. 1:19 And it will circle back to it soon enough. 1:22 [COUGH] Like I said, there are 800 million people in the world right 1:24 now, who don't have access to clean and safe drinking water on the planet. 1:27 That's that's what we call a water crisis and the people I'm 1:31 talking about are living in mainly 1:35 Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. 1:37 And these are the countries we refer to normally as developing countries. 1:41 This is kind of water people are drinking. 1:45 This was a photograph we took in, Niger, three weeks ago, okay. 1:48 In the Sahel desert region, which was kind of spans a very, a very 1:53 large part of Africa compasses two countries 1:58 we're working in which are Mali and Niger. 2:01 And people are drinking this water every single 2:03 day and they're giving it to their kids. 2:05 Grueling work to actually collect water for many women and children. 2:07 Women and girls, young girls, are specifically affected, because 2:12 water is considered a woman's job in developing countries. 2:16 Girls drop out of school very early, some young at the age of eight to 12. 2:20 They stop going, they stop completely dreaming about any, any aspect of 2:24 a future, and join their mothers in taking care of the house. 2:28 And part of, a major part of taking care of, of the home is collecting water. 2:32 This is a video that we just shot. 2:37 I just want to kind of show you what it's like to [INAUDIBLE] water. 2:39 This is specifically in Niger. 2:42 A couple, a couple of weeks ago, we were there and 2:44 first of all the, the rope that they're using right, right here is made by by hand 2:48 by these women, and this, this this community really [INAUDIBLE]. 2:53 Systems to pull up these large buckets of dirty water out of 2:58 really deep open wells that have been build two to 300 years ago. 3:01 The water is very dirty, but at least it's in their village. 3:05 Some women have to walk very far distances, because they 3:10 don't have this kinda of, open big hole in the ground. 3:12 We've heard stories, we actually spoke to woman who a long time ago fell down a 3:16 well, while she was pulling water and the 3:21 rope broke, because it was all made by hand. 3:23 And she almost died. 3:26 She had her baby on her back and she 3:28 abducted one of these, on of the little wooden pieces. 3:30 She was actually rescued, but she was not ever able to bear children again. 3:34 And this is this is actually common story we 3:38 are I like other, other women have been falling 3:41 down wells, they were like yeah tons of us 3:43 many many women in this region which happens to. 3:45 There's also a large part of the water 3:49 crisis when you think about obviously drinking and ingesting 3:51 dirty water is is a major health risk and especially for kids under the age of five. 3:54 Babies their, their immune systems in their bodies 4:00 are just unable to fight the bacteria in, 4:03 in contaminated water, and that is why women 4:05 are losing so many children shortly after child birth. 4:08 Usually babies get diarrhea dehydration and then they die. 4:13 But a, another huge part of the water crisis that is that is less apparent 4:17 is the time spend walking and the 4:22 energy expanded into actually going to collect water. 4:25 It's incredible incredible amounts of work and many, many hours every single day. 4:28 I've heard stories from all over the world, And in Ethiopia I heard 4:33 a story about a girl who used to walk eight hours a day. 4:37 Four hours to the water source and then four hours back, 4:40 so walking is very, very common for clean, for dirty water. 4:43 This is walking in Ethiopia, walking in Rwanda, walking in Malawi. 4:47 40 billion hours are spent collecting water in 4:52 the continent of Africa, in one year alone. 4:56 And that is equivalent to entire workforce of the country of France for one year. 4:59 So huge potential being wasted. 5:04 Walking's also dangerous. 5:07 My team is camping currently in a village of Uganda, and they are living with a 5:09 family where the two daughters of this family 5:13 two girls two sisters, six 17 and 18. 5:17 Both were raped on their way to collect water. 5:20 They were walking four hours a day, and they were 5:24 attacked and raped and they both got pregnant and they have 5:26 babies because of their, their wandering far outside of their 5:28 community because there was no clean water source within their village. 5:32 So the water crisis is vast. 5:36 There are many issues that are that are, affected by clean water, 5:38 education, health and, and prosperity, is, is probably the biggest one. 5:44 The amazing news is when you bring clean water 5:51 into a community, it's fascinating how quickly things can change. 5:53 The first thing that is affected for 5:57 kids, especially in, especially girls, is education. 5:59 And you know, girls don't have to make these 6:02 long treks to, to help their moms collect water. 6:05 Instead, they can actually go to school. 6:08 And classrooms can be filled with kids. 6:10 And we've seen that, and especially when you build a water project at a school. 6:12 That is incredibly transformative. 6:16 We normally couple, water projects with latrines, 6:18 whenever we work at schools and clinics. 6:21 Because sanitation is incredibly important and especially for kids. 6:23 The biggest issue for girls when they're going to school 6:27 and there's no private place to go to the bathroom. 6:31 They either have to walk home and when they get their period they have 6:32 to stay home, and they usually get behind and often drop out of school. 6:35 So building a clean water project and latrines. 6:39 Can incre can increase education potentially dramatically. 6:42 Also clean water provides jobs for people. 6:46 This guy, his name is Paul, he lives in Malawi. 6:48 We met him last year and he's adorable. 6:51 He basically took it upon himself to start fixing water projects, fixing wells. 6:53 In surrounding communities where he lives. 6:58 He is currently in charge of 100 wells, and he packs his tool 7:00 bag every single morning, and he gets a call from village chiefs saying hey. 7:04 My pump broke this morning and I need to replace the washer 7:07 or whatever the issue may be and he grabs all his tools. 7:10 He goes into a community and within a matter of hours, he's able to repair it. 7:14 They pay him a little bit of money. 7:17 That's how he earns his living. 7:18 This is his, his tools are incredibly simple. 7:19 There are rope, some feathers for glue and some hammers and a little 7:22 like a little saw. 7:29 Eh, so this is a great job for Paul and many, many people like him. 7:31 If there are [UNKNOWN] water projects, 7:36 they're always gonna be needing, needing some 7:38 kind of repair or maintenance, because an average water project is actually pumped. 7:40 Something like 40 million times a year there's constant wear and tear. 7:43 And then these we actually empower local 7:48 water committees, in every single village, so their, 7:51 their, their job is to maintain the water project as well and make small repairs. 7:55 They call in guys like Paul when there's a big job. 7:59 But they're able to make little tiny, tweaks. 8:01 And they're also the, the people usually in charge of 8:05 educating families and households about how to use clean water. 8:07 Many getting any issues, and also collecting 8:10 small, fees from every family, very affordable. 8:12 So that, when something major breaks, a pump, needs to be replaced. 8:16 This water committee has the funds to be able to do it. 8:19 And often, on water committees. 8:22 This is the first chance women have to lead in their village. 8:24 So it does empower them and were all were, were very strict about 8:28 making sure that half, at least of the water comity, is always women. 8:32 This is kinda the meta, meta reason why we believe 8:36 clean water is the solution to, to long term poverty alleviation. 8:39 And donations develop reports says that every single dollar invested in improved 8:44 water projects can yield up to $12 for the local economy, so whenever 8:47 we build a water project that if it costs $6000 multiply that by 12 and that is. 8:54 How much it yields in time savings for people and 9:00 health improvements, so when you're sick you can't work, obviously. 9:04 If you're sick because you've got a parasite or your stomach hurts, 9:08 or your kids are sick, you've got to stay home, can't work. 9:11 Another reason why people also go in debt is because of, the 9:14 fee it takes to take a bus to a local clinic and then 9:17 the medicine it, it, the, the medicine that costs money, in order to 9:20 treat a simple bacterial infection that you might have gotten from dirty water. 9:26 All that stuff goes away and people are able to work, be more productive. 9:29 Women are sometimes as simple, you know, the simple 9:34 things we hear is, like, women say, I have 9:38 finally have time to come home and lie down 9:39 for half an hour because they work so incredibly hard. 9:41 The previous photos that I showed you from Molly in 9:46 Niger, what I didn't, what you didn't see is that the, 9:47 the heat that they're working pulling that water in is 9:51 115 degrees, and it starts at 10 o'clock in the morning. 9:54 It's incredible how, how tough their, their, their lives are. 9:56 So even just providing a little bit of rest for 10:01 women is it, it, it makes it worth it for us. 10:03 Okay, so, there a simple, here's what Charity Water does. 10:08 We are we are seven years old, actually we're gonna be 12 this 10:11 September, so we're almost, I'm sorry eight, 10:15 this September we're almost eight years old. 10:17 gosh, I can't believe that, it's been so long. 10:19 And, what we do is we fund clean water solutions, very simple clean water 10:23 solutions, in 22 countries around the world developing countries, and, we 10:28 do that through local partners on the ground we don't build the laws 10:34 ourselves, we're actually a marketing engine here in the US to raise money. 10:36 In a really gra, grassroots way for water project, and a 100% of the 10:41 money that was raised we pass on to our local partners in these 22 countries. 10:44 So we've got Ethiopians working in Ethiopia, we've 10:48 got Bangladeshis working in Bangladesh, Nepalis in Nepal. 10:51 And they're the ones that learning actually 10:56 running these organizations and building water projects. 10:58 The solutions that we find are very simple, because we work rarely. 11:01 There are no, often there's no electricity, 11:05 so people ask us about sort of, some 11:07 of the innovative and interesting technologies that 11:10 I'm sure some of you have read about. 11:14 Like the life straw or these big fog collection filter things. 11:15 And we say you know, right now so far the simple solutions are the 11:21 best for us, because of the, of the rural nature of where we work. 11:24 So we fund everything from hand dug well, drilled wells, rainwater catchments 11:27 whi, which are just big tanks with gutters on schools and clinics sometimes. 11:32 Gravity fed systems are big. 11:37 Sprint protections, and BioSend filters are, are also, something that we do. 11:39 And this is just quickly how a well is built. 11:45 Wells are, are our main kind of water project that we fund. 11:47 And some people say, you know? 11:51 Why don't, people in Africa make their own wells, or drill their own wells. 11:52 Well. 11:56 First of all it takes two trucks, a compressor, 11:57 lots and lots of equipment and a lot of expertise. 12:00 Imagine a village could never figure out how to do it and you 12:03 and I could never figure out how to build a well right now. 12:06 So some organization is needed and some obviously heavy machinery. 12:09 But when that stuff is around, it's actually incredibly simple to watch. 12:13 A drilling crew skilled of about, you know six to 12:17 12 people on drilling with a compressor come out a hydrogeologist 12:21 will identify the spot where water, where water most likely is 12:26 underground, and there are underground aquifers pretty much all, all around 12:30 the earth, and some of them are very deep. 12:38 Some of them are shallow. 12:40 There are many layers of them, as well. 12:41 Sometimes you can hit two or three aquifers at a 12:43 time when you're drilling and get a lot of water. 12:46 But they'll drill for two days. 12:49 They'll install a drill stem first, drill, then pull that out, put piping 12:51 down to line the well, and then install a pump on the top. 12:55 And water comes out a couple of days later and people are drinking clean water. 12:58 It's amazing to watch. 13:02 We heard a woman in Ethiopia say to us, an 80-year-old woman, who said, 13:03 after I watched this process I, I started uncontrollably crying, and we said, why? 13:07 Why were you so sad? 13:12 She said, because I've been walking for 80 years, and you mean to 13:14 tell me that there was clean water underneath my feet the entire time. 13:17 So it's incredibly wonderful to watch this process. 13:21 So this is our goal as Charity Water, we, we started with a very 13:26 ambitious goal, we wanna give clean water to every single person on the planet. 13:30 In this day and age there's absolutely no reason this cannot happen. 13:34 It's not just gonna be us, it's gonna be a lot of other charities as 13:37 well that have to kind of work 13:41 in different, in different parts of the world. 13:43 We have to tackle this together. 13:44 But, our mission is to bring clean water to every person on the planet. 13:46 Our vision, here, and this is something we don't talk about externally as 13:50 much, but our vision internally is to rei, reinvent charity for our generation. 13:53 And what, what that looks like, is, is 13:58 a couple of very important kind of key things, 14:02 that I will talk about and that's where 14:05 design plays a big major part and that's where. 14:06 Online and product and tech and technology for us plays a major part in this is in 14:09 reinventing the way charity is done in this country, and and around the world. 14:14 But first I want to tell you quickly my story, this is how I got here. 14:20 I [LAUGH] how did I get here? 14:25 I'm glad I put this in, so that I don't forget how. 14:28 Tell this. 14:31 I was an immigrant at nine years old. 14:31 I came to I came to New York with my family from St. Petersburg, Russia. 14:33 My dad was a total hippie. 14:38 He's wearing a suit but he would never wear 14:39 a suit, normally this is a very strange photo. 14:41 He was a total hippie. 14:44 He used to smuggle Beatles albums into the United 14:45 States where, I'm sorry, into Russia from the United States. 14:47 During communism, because you couldn't obtain some of those things. 14:51 In in communist Russia. 14:55 So, he always wanted to leave, hated living in communist region, but 14:58 he could not could not leave until 1992, when the Iron Curtain fell. 15:03 He was able to get out, and that's what he did right away, he came to New York. 15:08 And then shortly after, a year after, my mom 15:12 and myself joined him, and my grandmother came as well. 15:14 So we were first class immigrants in, in, in Brooklyn, New York. 15:17 And my family kind of, as a very 15:24 typical immigrant family would you could imagine saying, 15:26 they said, you got to, you know, I was, I was really going in the artist route. 15:30 I was experimenting with fine art and my family 15:35 was like, okay, you got to go make some 15:38 money, because we did not bring you to this 15:39 country, so that you could be a broke, starving artist. 15:40 And that's where design came into my life I, 15:45 I thought about how can I be creative, and use 15:47 creativity which I and, and use art which I 15:50 am interested in, but also be able to make money. 15:54 And school visual arts was the school that I 15:56 heard about, and they had a program called computer art. 15:59 So I was like okay, you could do art on the computer. 16:04 You can probably make money doing that 16:08 because computers, engineering, money, I don't know. 16:09 And back then I joined the computer art program. 16:13 It's so funny that that's what it was called. 16:17 I don't know what it would be called 16:19 nowadays like Graphic Design or 3D animation or something. 16:20 And shortly and I got basically all of my technical skills that 16:24 I need at school of visual arts, I learned Photoshop, I learned illustrator. 16:30 Without, I think without a formal education I probably would 16:33 not have been able to figure out this on my own. 16:36 I know there are some amazing people who like start Photoshop at the age of 11 16:39 when there in elementary school but it took 16:43 an education for me to learn that stuff. 16:46 But after Junior year, I was like I think 16:49 I've learned everything that I need to know and 16:50 I've also taken out $60,000 in college loans, and 16:52 I'm gonna be broke for the rest of my life. 16:56 Which is when an opportunity came along at a small creative boutique agency. 16:58 I interned there for one summer after my junior year, and my boss said, you 17:03 don't need to go back to school just come and work for us full time. 17:08 Which was a very convincing argument at the time, because I was 17:12 definitely terrified about the college loans that I was gonna have forever. 17:15 And I was I think underneath it all, 17:20 really not interested in doing my senior year thesis. 17:22 So it's like great, quitting school my 17:25 parents were not excited about that at all. 17:28 My immigrant parents were like, you need a degree, you're never going to get a job. 17:30 I said no, mom, that's not how it works with design. 17:34 [LAUGH] so I, I dropped out of college after 17:37 my junior year, went to work at an agency. 17:41 And, this was a, a, it was a, a, the 17:44 agency at the time called Superfad, a very small boutique place. 17:47 And, oh my gosh, it was amazing, it was the 17:52 first, I was like glamorous, I was for the first 17:54 time doing, getting paid to do what I just learned 17:57 how to do on the computer and, and, and in design. 18:00 It was incredibly rewarding and fascinating. 18:04 And I was a Junior Designer, so, I mean I was ready to do anything. 18:08 I remember my first project was cutting out, mattes in Photoshop for like 18:12 a month, of this computer to make it rotate, of, of an IBM computer. 18:17 We were working for, our client was IBM and. 18:22 The project was to make it rotate. 18:24 And instead of shooting it on video for some 18:27 strange reason they took like a [UNKNOWN] photos in sequence. 18:29 And I had to cut out every single one of them separately in a [UNKNOWN] Photoshop. 18:32 But anyway I was happy. 18:36 I was so happy doing it, because I was getting 18:37 paid and it was in my line of work and 18:39 eventually I did start taking on more interesting client work, 18:42 and we were yeah, we were working with a bigger agencies. 18:47 With Sachi and Sachi and Warren Kennedy, and Ogelvy. 18:52 the, the kinda usual suspects, and the clients became 18:57 Honda, and America Express, and Coke and Pepsi and Our 19:00 team would work on concepts and pitch concepts and 19:04 it was all going really well and it was really 19:08 fun, I mean going to to these big agencies 19:10 and meeting with creative teams was like my dream job 19:12 this was you know my friends were still graduating 19:15 school of visual arts, and I could tell them hey 19:20 today this is, this is what I did at work. 19:22 It was fascinating. 19:25 For two year, this was my life. 19:26 And it was a pretty conventional career path. 19:29 I, was pretty happy with it. 19:31 And then around the two year mark something started to shift in 19:33 me, and I didn't know why that I was feeling kind of useless. 19:38 And it all kind of culminated around this project. 19:44 I was working Clinique which is a line of facial cleansers; if, you don't know them. 19:47 But and I absolutely love the company still, totally user our product. 19:53 But this was the worst two months of my life. 19:57 The The client wanted this animated bubble to 20:00 move across the screen and highlight the products. 20:04 It was like a soap bubble. 20:07 And this was my job, I owned the soap bubble. 20:09 For two months I had to do revision after revision on how this soap bubble moves 20:12 through the screen, and the different reflections in 20:17 it, and the hints of color in different reflections. 20:20 And the way that it animated and now it's too low and now it's too high. 20:24 And it's going too fast, or no it's going too slow. 20:28 And I mean literally for two months I was, I was moving a bubble. 20:30 And that to me was the straw that broke the camels back, I said. 20:35 I think there're people doing very important work in this world, 20:40 that are saving lives, and I am definitely not doing that. 20:45 But I want to be. 20:50 And I watched, I remember watching a movie called The Constant Gardener 20:50 with with Ralph Fiennes and just that for some reason came at 20:57 the right time in my life where I was like, I wanna, 21:02 I wanna do something that means more than just selling stuff to people. 21:05 I wanna save lives. 21:12 I wanna help people have better lives. 21:12 And then I kinda stumbled upon this quote, which totally spoke to me. 21:15 It's by David Burman and he says, the same design that 21:19 fuels mass over consumption has the power to repair the world. 21:21 And for me this was, this spoke to exactly what I was feeling. 21:26 I thought, you know, I do love design and I love being creative, but I 21:31 can't figure out a way how to reconcile that with the stuff I'm doing right now. 21:35 How can I use design? 21:40 How can I actually use my skills to do 21:41 things that I believe are, are, are life saving? 21:44 [BLANK_AUDIO] 21:48 At first I didn't know, so what I just did, like 21:50 any, anyone who, who's, seeking meeting or, or, or purpose would do. 21:52 I started to volunteer. 21:56 I worked at a soup kitchen, I went and volunteered for New York Cares, 21:58 which is an inner city organization here in New York, and [COUGH] I was 22:02 just kinda searching and one day, I ran into my next door neighbor on 22:06 the corner of my East VIllage, block, and was telling him all of this stuff. 22:10 About kind of how I was feeling and, and I was 22:15 still obviously working at the agency, days, and volunteering at night. 22:18 And he said to me, you know, I have a friend 22:22 who just got back from living in Africa for two years. 22:24 His name is Scott and he wants to start this thing called Charity Water. 22:27 And he's having an exhibition in Union Square Park this weekend, you should come. 22:32 I was like, what water thing? 22:39 And, there's a water, what's a water crisis? 22:40 There's people that don't have clean water in the world? 22:43 I had absolutely no idea. 22:45 I was like, what is this? 22:46 This is look, this looks really interesting. 22:48 He's, they're using Design, at least they're trying to kind of 22:50 be creative about the way they tell the story of this cause. 22:53 what, what this actually was, where, where big tanks that had they were 22:56 filled with water from our local ponds and rivers around New York City. 23:00 And though, what [UNKNOWN] was trying try to stay with this was, if your taps 23:04 ran dry today, you, where would, this is 23:08 where you would be getting your water from. 23:11 This is the water from the Hudson River. 23:12 Here we go, take a look at it. 23:14 This is the water from the Central Park pond. 23:15 This is where we would be going. 23:18 And I found this photo actually like years later, but that's 23:20 me on my first day ever, getting to Know Charity Water. 23:22 So we first started, I mean, this was like weeks, but 23:27 weeks after Scott got the name and trademarks, the, the organizations. 23:31 So we were literally in, in the conception stage. 23:35 And for about a year, we worked out of his living room. 23:38 On his couch and on his kitchen table. 23:40 And I began to come over nights and weekends after 23:42 my day job, to basically help with anything Design related. 23:46 I mean we were doing things that you know, every, every startup 23:50 company needs like making business cards 23:53 and creating little stickers and brochures. 23:55 And I was so excited because I was really getting to be a part of something 23:58 very small for the first time that felt like it was gonna be huge one day. 24:03 And 24:07 soon after, a couple of months after, after being involved with Charity 24:09 Water, I decided that it's time for me to go to the field. 24:13 I have to see what this work looks like on the ground. 24:15 I did a very embarrassing thing to earn the money to to pay 24:18 for my flight over to Africa 'cuz like I said I was completely broke. 24:24 It's not, probably as embarrassing as you're 24:27 imagining, but I'll tell you what it was. 24:30 Have you ever watched MTV at five in the morning and there're these 24:32 commercials that come on and they're like, do you wanna know your true love? 24:37 Dial 888-46-whatever. 24:41 I did one of those. 24:44 It paid $5000 and I made it the whole thing myself in a week, and I had 24:45 the money to pay for my flight which was 24:49 awesome, I was like, I don't care, you know. 24:50 it, it was kind of I didn't tell anyone about this for like years, 24:53 and then Scott was like, we had this conversation once and it was hilarious. 24:57 I finally told him how I got, how I got myself to Africa. 25:02 But, nonetheless, I got myself there. 25:05 There I was in Liberia for the very first time. 25:08 And Liberia was at the time the poorest country in, in all of Africa. 25:11 It had just gone through a very brutal Civil War 25:14 and there was still UN troops occupying the main city, 25:17 and we had, we'd started going out rurally and looking 25:23 at potential sites where we could start funding water projects. 25:27 And I ended up seeing things like this. 25:30 Moms and kids gathering water from [COUGH] ponds and from puddles. 25:34 And this is actually later on we went to Ethiopia, saw the same exact thing. 25:38 I got to spend a lot of time with 25:44 communities, just hanging out with people, and learning about 25:45 their lifestyle, and how loving people are and how, 25:48 how a sense of community can really be incredible. 25:53 And it's, it's just something that's so different and 25:56 so still so present in many of these developing countries 25:59 in Africa that we've I think somewhat lost a 26:02 little bit here in, in, in the, in the States. 26:06 But the most important thing I got to 26:09 see was the difference between clean and dirty water. 26:10 It was just such a simple thing. 26:13 I mean, you don't ever wanna drink the water on the left, 26:15 and of course, you know, the water on the right looks great. 26:18 It was provable, it was tangible, it was visual, 26:21 you know, it wasn't like finding a cure for cancer 26:24 which seemed like such a hard problem to prove, 26:26 or you know, asking for donations for something like that. 26:30 I would imagine it's so much harder than saying, if you give us 20 bucks that can 26:33 give a person clean water for 20 years, and 26:37 you can change their water from left to right. 26:40 and, God, this video is kind of just everywhere. 26:43 So, I was totally pumped. 26:47 This was my dream job. 26:49 I wanted to do this forever. 26:50 I quit my, my agency job and came on full 26:51 time as first as just a designer for Charity Water. 26:54 I was the second employee, and that's kind of a testament 26:57 to Scott who founded Charity Water, who's actually now my husband. 27:00 That's a totally separate story. 27:05 But [LAUGH] he, he was he was 27:06 so intentional about how he wanted to re-invent 27:08 charity using design, that it showed, because 27:11 the first person he hired was a designer. 27:14 Most charities, the first person they hire is a programs person, then a finance 27:17 person, then, 25 other people before they 27:20 ever think about hiring their first designer. 27:23 And Scott was, was was kind of a marketer at at the core of his nature. 27:25 He was the night club promoter in New York City for 27:30 ten years and that's, he has his own talk that is 27:31 actually fascinating about how he changed his life and ended up 27:34 doing this work, but not gonna go into that right now. 27:38 So, there are three things that I think make Charity Water different. 27:41 And these are the three things that we started with to re-invent Charity. 27:44 First we said people don't trust charities and people 27:47 probably think that some of the money is wasted. 27:51 So we want to never run into that issue, and so when people ask us 27:55 how much of my money of my donation is gonna go to build water projects? 27:59 We wanted to be absolutely sure, we wanted to say 100%. 28:02 So we built our model to give 100% 28:06 of every public donation straight to water projects. 28:08 That meant paying for our salaries, for our rent, for our 28:11 elec, electricity bill completely separately from a private group of donors. 28:14 And currently, seven and a half years in, we have a group 28:17 of 100 donors, who fund our 28:21 salaries, our flights, absolutely everything operationally. 28:24 And we continue to give 100% of the public's money to the field. 28:27 It costs now about $9 million a year to run Charity Water. 28:31 We have 65 employees and 1000 employees around the world. 28:37 And 100 people in this group gives us that $9 million. 28:40 We actually are currently raising about $35,000,000 28:43 a year for water projects from the public. 28:45 The second thing we said we wanted to do is prove where every single project goes. 28:49 Because another concern that we felt people had with 28:54 charity organizations was, I don't know where my money goes. 28:57 So, even if I trust that you are using my money well, I 29:00 kinda can't see where it's going, and charities don't show this to me. 29:03 And for us, we said this was actually so simple. 29:08 Every single well is located in a physical 29:11 place, not, it's not going anywhere, and back 29:13 in 2006 when we started Charity Water GPS devices you could go buy one at Best Buy 29:16 for $100 and then you could take it to Africa and you could click it at the 29:20 site of the well and you could get a GPS coordinate and upload it to Google Maps. 29:24 Which is what we did, and we've been doing that ever since. 29:28 We put every single water project that we fund on our website on Google Maps and you 29:30 can see the photo of it and you can read the name of the community, you can 29:34 see the GPS coordinates, so if you actually 29:38 wanted to go visit it and you were wandering 29:40 around somewhere in rural northern Ethiopia, you could 29:42 grab a GPS coordinate and you could find it. 29:45 And the third thing we absolutely wanted do was 29:49 reinvent charity through using Design, and using great marketing. 29:51 And we started doing stuff like this. 29:55 I mean in the beginning we were like, how can we just 29:58 be interesting about talking to people about the lack of clean water? 30:00 So we sort of did this like imagine if you didn't have 30:04 clean water campaign, and you know, how would you cook your food? 30:08 What would you drink? 30:12 We also did a little photo series, and, and, and interesting things 30:13 like this where we wanted to be provocative and say, imagine if 30:17 your grandmother who lives on the Upper East Side had to drink 30:19 dirty water like this woman in Ethiopia, we would never allow this. 30:22 So why is it okay for her? 30:25 Imagine if your kids who go to a 30:28 fancy, expensive prep school, have to carry a giant 30:31 fuel container filled with dirty water to school with 30:36 them every morning, or instead of going to school. 30:39 We would not allow this, but these girls in Ethiopia walk every 30:42 single day, and skip, skip class to help their mothers carry water. 30:44 Imagine if our friends in their Brioni suits had to go to 30:51 Central Park pond in the middle of their lunch break to collect water. 30:53 These men in Uganda do and they're around the same age, they're 30 years old. 30:57 And then this [UNKNOWN] kind of sums it up for why design is so important to us. 31:04 Nick Kristof who's a writer, for New York Times says toothpaste is 31:07 peddled with far more sophistication than all of the worlds most life-saving causes. 31:11 And, I don't like the word peddled, but the essence here is that we have, I 31:16 mean, you guys in this room here today, you know and from the previous talks, we 31:21 know that we're a bunch of very talented 31:25 people in this industry, so vast and robust 31:28 and we have such amazing ideas about how 31:30 to create compelling products, and how to market them. 31:33 But at the time, when we were starting Charity Water no 31:36 one was really putting that talent to use for, for, for causes. 31:39 And in fact, charities were, were actually like, 31:43 hostile to designers and thought designers were trivial. 31:46 And frivolous so, this was the, the, the issue we were seeing 31:52 a lot back then was, you know, charities would say well, actually, 31:55 if we do anything fun with design, or if we make our 32:00 website look good, it's gonna, people are gonna take us less seriously. 32:03 People are gonna think that we are too sexy 32:06 and glitzy and that our work is not important. 32:10 And we just said, that's just completely crazy [LAUGH] and backwards. 32:12 We don't buy that. 32:15 but, you know, this was the, these were websites of charities that we were seeing. 32:18 I mean there's just like clutter, and lots of information, 32:21 and stuff you don't understand and where do I look? 32:23 And we, we kind of were anti all of this, and currently, I mean, still, even 32:26 to this day you know, that's, that's probably 32:34 where we express the most creativities on our website. 32:36 it, through, through our mobile approach and kind of the simplicity of 32:39 what, of what we do and the, and the way we raise money. 32:45 And then kind of just graphic designwise, we were always aiming to 32:49 inspire and to make things that look beautiful, that are inspiring to us. 32:54 So these are some of our little graphic 32:58 design projects that we've done over the years. 33:00 Just redesigning some brand identities, and this is a 33:03 welcome kit for the, the biggest donors of Charity Water. 33:06 Just introducing them to organization and to our staff. 33:10 We design immersive experiences as a well, we designed this past year pretty much 33:15 every element of our big fundraising gala which is in the winter time in December. 33:23 And we started by really putting and pouring 33:27 a lot of love and care into our invitations. 33:30 And got a lot of great paper makers and printers to donate all of the stock. 33:33 And be involved in that way and our designers just 33:39 had such a great time doing this work, 'cuz they 33:42 knew that it was eventually, you know, what sets us 33:46 apart and what helps us to raise money for Clean Water. 33:48 Took that same identity into the space, and did just kind, kinda some cool 33:51 experiential things like this Water Walk, where we had people at the party try 33:59 out what it's like to carry two containers of, of water and a company 34:04 actually sponsored every single person that walked 34:09 and donated money to Clean Water projects. 34:10 This was kind of a big space. 34:12 And so, you know, what we were really doing with 34:15 design is, we were designing a new kind of charity. 34:17 A charity that hopefully, eventually other charities would 34:20 wanna emulate through their use of design and 34:23 say, design is not a key for charity, 34:26 design is actually amazing, and it's a great tool. 34:28 Design and creativity innovation. 34:31 In the last few years, those first three major buckets of things that we believe 34:33 differentiate ourselves from other non-profits, grew into 34:38 five buckets because we started to use technology. 34:41 And we also started to use social media very aggressively to build a movement. 34:44 to, we were the first charity that had a million followers on Twitter. 34:50 We were the first charity I think, ever to use Instagram. 34:54 And and for us that was, that was just 34:57 kind of, important that we were early adopters of technology. 35:01 So with technology specifically, what we've 35:05 been working on is to democratize giving. 35:08 Instead of saying charity is only for the wealthy, we say, no, every 35:11 single person can and should be giving to charity whatever that they can. 35:15 And it should be fun for people to 35:20 be part of transforming lives and changing the world. 35:22 So over the years, this is kind of our 35:27 biggest, our biggest source of bread and butter in fundraising. 35:29 Is the fundraising platform that we built from scratch called My Charity Water. 35:33 And anyone can come on on our site right 35:36 now, and click Sign Up and start a fundraising campaign. 35:39 You can upload your picture, you can set a goal, and you can 35:43 write a little mission statement about why you wanna raise money for clean water. 35:47 It's very similar to Kickstarter or Crowdrise. 35:50 I don't know if you guys have heard of some of the other platforms. 35:53 We built our own from, from scratch. 35:56 And so far we've we've had pretty good 35:58 success with it, we've raised, it's, it has raised 36:01 $33 million through about 150,000 people who have 36:04 gone out and done fundraising campaigns like this one. 36:07 This is Chris Barnett who did a wheelie, for, he did, he rode his 36:10 bike on the back of his wheel, I think that's what wheelies are called. 36:15 For like hours and hours and hours and hours over the 36:18 course of a year and raised $5,200 for a water [LAUGH] project. 36:22 And this is little Sadie, who every day for 36:28 a month put out a little table in front of 36:32 her house, and her mom and dad helped her, 36:34 and she sold lemonade and raised $8,000 for Clean Water. 36:36 I think she's somewhere in Kentucky. 36:41 Lynne Foote is another woman who's just a mom of six kids and 36:43 she gave up her birthday and she said, I don't need any more presents. 36:48 I'm 49 and I don't want my family and friends to buy me socks or sweaters. 36:52 I'm just gonna give up my birthday and say instead of 36:56 gifts, donate to Charity Water for my birthday, and she raised $839. 36:59 And then this guy Pewdiepie is just, I threw 37:03 him in here because he's so wacky and crazy. 37:05 He's a YouTube sensation. 37:08 He has the biggest following on YouTube of any channel and he plays video games. 37:09 And people just watch him on YouTube play video games. 37:14 And he discusses them, and talks about them, and makes fun of them. 37:16 And because of that, he has the most followed YouTube channel ever. 37:19 I don't understand it, but it's awesome because he raised 37:26 half a million dollars from his fans, for Charity Water. 37:28 Last year and we're actually taking him to Rwanda. 37:32 And he's actually this like really nice Swedish guy, 37:34 but he is a total character as you can see. 37:37 And there's about 150,000 other people like these four people 37:41 that I'm showing you who are doing crazy, wacky things. 37:44 People are riding their bikes across America, someone did a Shave 37:47 or Save My Beard campaign last year, having people donate to both 37:51 campaigns and whichever one had the most money, this guy would, our 37:56 friend actually was gonna chop off his beard or keep his beard. 38:00 Anyway, that's kind of how we believe 38:03 grassroots charity can be done is, is through involving lots and lots of people. 38:08 To actually be passionate and to care and to do interesting and fun 38:14 and exciting things that bring them joy, that bring their friends into the 38:17 story, and also result in clean water projects for people and giving people 38:21 this leg up of of having access to clean water in their communities. 38:27 So another way kind of way we've been using 38:33 technology is, is to innovate on the transparency part. 38:35 So we said we, we really believe that 38:39 people should know exactly where their money goes, and 38:41 for our case, we want, we want to 38:44 send 100% of every single donation to water projects. 38:46 But one of the biggest transparency issues out there in the water sector is 38:49 that wells break and then oftentimes, there's no one around to fix them. 38:54 And communities go back to the pond or the river to get their drinking water. 39:00 So we said, that is not good enough. 39:04 That's a lot, the international community kind of 39:06 always said to us, that's just how it is. 39:08 I mean you've gotta use community building 39:10 techniques, and you've gotta create better communication between 39:13 communities, and yes people have cell phones nowadays 39:17 in Africa but [LAUGH] still this wasn't happening. 39:19 Water projects were being abandoned and, and actually still are. 39:23 So we worked with Google two years ago to 39:26 start to start working on a remote sensor pilot. 39:28 And that's what you see, this little white strip between between 39:32 the two parts, the top and the bottom of the well. 39:36 That's a sensor that can tell whether water is flowing through it in real time. 39:39 And the minute water stops flowing, [COUGH] the 39:44 sensor sends a signal up to a satellite which 39:47 alerts us in our office and alerts our 39:49 partners in their offices, hey, something's going wrong here. 39:50 There's not been clean water coming out of this pump for a day or so. 39:54 At which case our partners can jump on motorbikes and go 39:57 out there and fix the, the, the water project right away. 40:00 So our goal, is for this, Google gave us $5 million two 40:05 years ago, to basically invent this low cost sensor which was incredibly hard. 40:09 It had so many criteria, it had to be under $150 per sensor, it had to 40:14 be waterproof, it had to work with no 40:18 electricity, and it had to be vandal proof. 40:20 Because people would probably just steal it in Africa somewhere. 40:23 If it was, if it looked like something you could actually sell for money. 40:28 [LAUGH] So all those things are really, really hard, we worked 40:31 with eight laboratories around the country for a year and a half. 40:34 Finally got this prototype and our goal by the end of this year, or the beginning 40:36 of 2012 is to have 4,000 sensors, installed on our wells around the world. 40:42 We have 11,000 wells, so we're gonna retroactively start by installing, 40:47 by outfitting about a third of them first with these sensors. 40:51 Just start getting massive amounts of data into see how our wells actually working. 40:54 In some countries we have 10% of our wells that are 40:59 not working in other countries, it's less and other countries it's more. 41:01 So we're really gonna start to visualize and be able to see on a 41:04 mass scale, what is actually going on in the field with our water projects. 41:06 And the biggest challenge after that is once you know a well is broken, how do you 41:10 create a system of mechanics that can actually go 41:14 out and repair these projects in a timely way? 41:17 So we're working on building systems, we're, 41:19 we're working on building teams of local 41:21 mechanics and actually starting to create small 41:23 business enterprises around clusters of water points. 41:25 [BLANK_AUDIO] 41:27 And this is Robert who's working on the sensor. 41:29 He's an amazing guy. 41:31 He came out of the CIA and joined Charity 41:32 Water two years ago to work on this project. 41:34 He's been flying all around the world, and and right 41:36 now he's currently in China manufacture, or supervising the manufacturing 41:39 process of this, of this sensor and working with Google 41:43 on the the kind of interface and the technology behind it. 41:46 But so back to creative, I wanted to just kinda give you guys a sense of the fact 41:49 that we may seem like a, like a big 41:55 charity, but we have a pretty small creative team. 41:58 And I say this, and I wanna show you 42:00 guys this because people always ask like, you know, 42:02 you guys do so much stuff and you must 42:06 invest so much of your money in, in creative resources. 42:08 And I say, well, our team's actually pretty small. 42:12 This all of them. 42:14 There's currently one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, 42:16 eight people and we're looking to hire two more. 42:19 But basically I've just got two graphic 42:21 designers two y designers, a video editor, a 42:23 content strategist and myself, and our community 42:26 ambassador and looking for two hires, but this 42:29 entire team is making tons of videos, 42:32 making our entire website, designing our website, creating 42:36 every print piece of collateral that you just saw and, and a lot, a lot more. 42:40 We also have a heavy focus on engineering, 42:45 so we've got about eleven engineers right now. 42:49 And half of them are working remotely from different 42:52 countries, but all working on our fundraising platform, and 42:55 we've also got a head of product whose the 43:00 kind of, completes the triangle of engineering Product and Creative. 43:03 And some of the principles that our creative team really lives by, is 43:07 we wanna infuse opportunity and not a sense of guilt into the charity space. 43:11 People should feel like they're they're giving out of a place of love. 43:17 And that's why we, we love images like 43:23 this where they're bringing hope and, and, and 43:25 prosperity into into, into communities instead of showing 43:28 the dirty water stuff, which I started with. 43:32 This is what you'll see on our Homepage of our website. 43:34 Not, not the, not the, sad stuff most of the time. 43:36 And you'll see the hope that people have and the dignity that we wanna 43:40 show, in every single individual, and our 43:43 field team is constantly out there shooting. 43:47 Shooting photos, shooting video, and having so much fun doing it. 43:49 And I'll just wrap up by saying that if you guys ever have thoughts of using 43:53 your creative or engineering abilities it's, it's the 43:59 most rewarding thing that I have ever done. 44:03 It's the most rewarding decision that I've ever made in my life. 44:05 Is to work for a cause and not to work for applause. 44:08 This is just kind of a big fun sign we have in our office. 44:11 And it looks like this, it's really fun. 44:14 I think I have a lot more slides, but I'm just 44:20 gonna kind of, actually this is it, I'm gonna wrap up and 44:21 tell you guys our progress over the last seven years, and then 44:24 I'm gonna tell you how you can help if you are interested. 44:28 Basically just top level, we've raised $150 million 44:31 in the last seven years for Clean Water projects. 44:34 About 11,000 water projects across 20 countries. 44:37 We have 70 staff, and we have given, we've been able to give with 44:40 our amazing supporters' access to Clean Water 44:44 for 4 million people around the world. 44:47 And that means that last year alone in 2013, 44:51 almost, we were like three people shy of a million 44:55 people in 2013, but 2700 people because of Charity 44:58 Water got clean water every single day around the world. 45:02 And that breaks down to 114 people every hour. 45:05 And almost two people every second that we sleep, 45:08 eat, drink and do whatever we do with our days. 45:13 [BLANK_AUDIO] 45:17 This is how you can help. 45:19 One of the most simple ways, if you guys are 45:20 interested, is you can pledge to give up your next birthday. 45:23 If you're like, I don't want any more 45:26 presents for my next birthday, and I don't wanna 45:27 have a party, you could still have a party 45:29 actually, but you could still do this as well. 45:30 Go on our site, start a page, and shoot an email out to all your friends. 45:32 And basically the simple thing, the simplest thing we ask 45:37 people to do, is just ask for your age in dollars. 45:40 So if you're turning 27, chances are you could 45:41 find ten of your friends who have 27 bucks that 45:44 can give to your birthday campaign, and 100% of 45:46 their money will go to fund Clean Water projects and 45:48 they'll actually be able to see at the end 45:51 of the completion stage, with exactly where their money went 45:52 and, and we'll send them a GPS coordinate of, 45:55 of the well that that your birthday campaign helped fund. 45:58 And with that, I'm gonna close, and thank you guys all for listening. 46:01
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