UNICEF's Tap Project

Last year, I wrote this story on UNICEF's Tap Project in Washington DC. It was one of the first stories to truly stir my heart, and was thus followed closely by this story, and this story. I couldn't get enough of interviewing organizations, such as GMMB, working with restaurants, bloggers and news bureaus across the city to work for the good of individual children across the world. I loved the way that the week brought the community together, and the passion that it sparked in me. I was largely ignorant about the global water crisis before Tap week, but it resulted in my involvement in UPI's Global Water Issues feature the summer afterward. I have never felt more alive than I did working on that project. 

Ben Hawkins, associate creative director at GMMB, said this to me about his involvement:

"I like to put a little soul into everything that I do." 

It stuck with me. 
I'd like to do the same. 

 This week, Vanessa, Director of Finance and Programs at ThinkImpact, was kind enough to answer some questions about the week in general, as well as her own personal involvement in it.

What is Tap week?
Tap week is a week long celebration of the availability and access of clean water and sanitation facilities.  During World Water Week each year the Tap Project is launched at restaurants across the country to raise money for clean water projects in developing countries.  Restaurant servers ask patrons to donate $1 for the tap water they normally drink for free emphasizing that just $1 brings clean water to one child for 40 days.  The Tap Project is also visible through events hosted in cities nationwide that also raise money for clean water projects.

What are some of this year's unique events?
In DC we are hosting our launch event at Local 16 on March 20th from 6-9 pm.  We'll host a DJ, live raffle, and serve delicious hors de vours along with a cash bar.  We look forward to kicking off world water week with this celebration and plan to recognize all the restaurants that have registered for the Tap Project for 2010.

How does it make a difference globally?
Every day, 24,000 children die of preventable causes like access to clean drinking water.   
Nearly 900 million people do not have access to clean water; one in five are children.  The lack of clean and accessible water is the second largest killer of children under five years old worldwide.  Tap Project fundraising goes directly to UNICEF's Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program, a proven program for providing sustainable solutions to water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges.
Why water?
The lack of clean drinking water and adequate sanitation is one of the most urgent health crises facing the planet today.  Most of the developing world's residents must walk on average three hours to fetch clean water.

What made you decide to get involved?
I have worked in Kenya and South Africa for 3 years with an organization called ThinkImpact developing sustainable projects to address health and education issues.  Last summer I managed college students in Kayafungo, Kenya, a village where women and children walk 3-6 hours a day to collect brown water with living organisms in it.  I am knowledgeable about the very serious and damaging effects such a water crisis can have on a community and wanted to be involved with the Tap Project to help raise awareness about water crises and to raise funds to bring clean water to millions around the world.

How can people (in the DC area and beyond) help?
Register to volunteer at www.tapproject.org and we will contact you personally with specific ways you can get involved with the DC Tap Project.  Most urgently we need help recruiting restaurants by March 14th!  After March 14th, we need help selling tickets to our launch event (http://bit.ly/taplaunchtix) and driving traffic into Tap Project restaurants during World Water Week.

(UNICEF photos used courtesy of Vanessa)