Actor Matt Damon is on a water crusade for Third-World countries, and he recently spoke about it at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Historically, individual volunteers and organizations have visited these kinds of countries, and often times dug wells and tried to teach the locals about water conservation. However, Damon says that isn’t enough.
“As I started to study the issue and realized how complex it is, I realized that charity alone, digging wells, we’re never going to dig our way out of this,” said the actor, and he also says people in First-World countries should look at the globe as one big community and personally take on the challenges of each citizen. Plus, Damon says those gathered at the World Economic Forum are the perfect people to come up with, and implement, new ideas surrounding clean water.
“Because this particular group of people [at the conference] are so influential, but they really respond to ideas like this,” he said. “It’s something that’s not a handout, it’s a hand up. It’s really about seeing the world’s poor as citizens of the world and customers.”
According to the organization The Water Project, about 884 million people don’t have access to clean or safe water, and one in eight people around the globe aren’t able to drink the water in their communities. Plus, statistics show that children miss a total of 443 million school days each year, because they’ve been stricken with a water-related-disease.
In addition, Damon says he didn’t realize how severe the water issue was until he actually saw it first hand, and he also revealed his own startling statistic: “Having traveled in the Third World quite a bit, I started to get a real appreciation for the magnitude of the water crisis,” he said. “And it just shocked me. Every 20 seconds a kid dies because they lack access to clean water and sanitation.”