A global humanitarian group spread awareness of water necessity last month by challenging people to do the unthinkable: go 10 minutes without touching a cell phone.
UNICEF, a global organization that spreads poverty awareness and raises the quality of life for people in developing countries, supplemented this year’s UNICEF Tap Project with a mobile component. The organization challenged people to log on to uniceftapproject.org with his or her smart phone and leave the phone untouched for as long as they are willing.
“For every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone… donors can fund one day of clean water for a child in need,” the UNICEF website said. The purpose of the campaign was to force people to be more reflective in his or her daily life and not take everyday luxuries for granted.
“Some of us can’t go for more than a few minutes without checking our cell phones,” said Caryl Stern, CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Imagine what it’s like to go days, or longer, without safe drinking water.”
The UNICEF Tap Project’s Facebook page says that “more than 750 million people do not have safe, clean water to drink” and “every day, nearly 2,000 children under the age of five die of water-borne diseases.” The Tap Project was started in 2007 in an attempt to stop these needless deaths. The campaign, named for the tap water many people use every day and take for granted, has run every year since and ends in March. Since its beginning, UNICEF and its partners have aided over 2 billion people in their fight to obtain clean drinking water.
The sponsors and donors for this project include Giorgio Armani Fragrances and UNICEF’s Next Generation. This was the fifth year that Giorgio Armani has participated in the campaign as the national sponsor. Besides promising to donate a minimum of $500,000 to the project, the company also donated $5 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for every gift set or spray cologne that was purchased throughout the month of March. In all their years of involvement, Giorgio Armani Fragrances has donated $1.8 million.
The mobile campaign, which ran from March 1 until March 31, saw a lot of attention and support. Over the course of the month, people logged over 200 million minutes on the mobile website. The city with the top participation was Seoul and the top state was California. Web surfers also had the option to donate between $5 and $100, with $5 funding enough water for 200 days.
While the mobile campaign has ended, UNICEF still encourages people to get involved with the great cause by signing up to volunteer or donate on its website.