MATT DAMON & GARY WHITE ON THE POWER OF WATER
GARY WHITE AND MATT DAMON © ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF WATER.ORG
Today’s world is more connected than ever before—with the click of a button, we can talk to loved ones across borders and order our daily necessities right to our door. But in an era defined by innovation and progress, it's easy to forget that millions of people still lack the most fundamental resource for survival: safe water. One in 10 people grapple with the absence of this basic necessity, while one in four face the harsh reality of life without a toilet.
Water is the essence of life itself—it is intertwined with every facet of human existence. The ability to access safe water isn't just about survival; it's about unlocking potential and transforming challenges into opportunities.
“Access to water is access to education, access to work, access above all to the kind of future we want for our own families and all the members of our human family,” said Matt Damon, cofounder of Water.org.
Damon’s global perspective was formed years before he started acting. During a trip with his mother in the early 1980s, Damon saw what life was like for people living in developing countries—how they lacked the necessities he was so used to. Those experiences followed him through his early life, leading him to Sub-Saharan Africa, where, while filming a movie, he spent time with families in a Zambian village. He saw the same reality that he recognized so many years ago: that many people did not have access to basic human necessities.
“Safe water is everything. I’ve had access to safe water my entire life; I can go to the sink and have a glass of water whenever I want,” explained Damon. “It’s hard to walk away when you know how pervasive this crisis is. Access to safe water and sanitation is the difference between time saved and time lost, sourcing water or attending school, disease and health.”
In 2006, he founded H20 Africa Foundation to raise awareness about safe water initiatives on the continent. Three years later, Damon met Gary White, an engineer and water and sanitation expert who founded WaterPartners International, a non-profit organization that aimed to provide safe water and sanitation to people in need around the world.
Realizing the incredible impact the two could make, H20 Africa and WaterPartners merged to create Water.org, bringing together their expertise to develop and drive financial solutions to the global water crisis.
Toronto Star Newspapers Limited