Thursday, February 19, 2015

Question 4

Article 1: The Real Future of Clean Water

“When an organization like Charity: Water takes off, as it has, with all the buzz and fanfare, it’s important to take a measured view. While it may be exciting to ponder how much money the tech mogul will give you when his company goes public, it’s more useful to ask: How will you avoid the project-sustainability problems that have plagued others over the past 40 years?”

This article highlights the issue of helping people obtain clean water and doing so in a sustainable manner. The article raises the question surrounding Charity: Water and its simplification of the issue at hand. The author of the article, David Bornstein, brings up the idea that Charity: Water is ultimately saying: “if enough people in the West were generous enough to pay for water projects in poor countries we could fix the problem”. Bornstein criticizes this approach because he feels that it’s not an appealing way to capture donors and participants. Bornstein also expresses concern that Charity: Water illustrates the solution to the problem overly simple; that all that needs to be done is establish water wells and purification systems and it’s all set. However, Bornstein highlights that social issues need to be considered while making these ameliorations to communities. Without implementing change based off of societal needs, then wells and purification systems won’t be of much help; there needs to be change on a larger, more sustainable level. Bornstein does give Charity: Water credit for raising public awareness of the clean water issue, however he primarily raises the question of how sustainable the structure of their program truly is.

Article 2:
Charity startup: Scott Harrison's mission to solve Africa's water problem

The origins of Charity: Water is dissected in this article. The author, David Baker depicts the life of the founder and president of Charity: Water, Scott Harrison, from his earlier stages of life and how his idea for the organization was created. Harrison started off as a club promoter, spending his days trying to sell people $500 bottles of champagne while partying alongside them. However, through Harrison’s travels and a book given to him by his father he suddenly transformed his life, wanting to devote himself to helping others. Although the company is fairly new it does not lack funding or volume. One of the unique aspects of the organization, as described in the article, is that Charity: Water is very transparent with its donors. Essentially everyone who donates can see where their money is going; for example images and GPS markers of the wells are available. The article describes how the charity bases itself off of trust and honesty: “ ‘He is honest about things that have gone wrong or mistakes that have been made’ ” (Neil Hutchinson).  Not only is the organization providing clean water but it also encourages business opportunities within communities. The article highlights the organization in a positive way and sheds light on this multi-faceted philanthropy.

Article 3

How Charity: Water Won Over The Tech World

Charity: Water is not only making strides with its mission to supply clean water to people across the world but also the use of technology within their organization. “…you know exactly what the project cost ($10,408.08), who built it (The International Rescue Committee) plus you can see photos of the well, and the precise location via GPS”. This elucidates how much the company prides itself on the transparency of its projects. The article also highlights that through large-scale donors it enables the company to use 100% of its donations towards the project: “Harrison’s funding model is another plus for efficiency-obsessed techies: Big donors (known as The Well) fund the operations (salaries, supplies, rent.) This allows for 100% of donations that are raised via the charity’s slick online and social media campaigns to go directly to water projects”.  Through the description of the start up of the organization and its continued success this article gives positive insight into Charity: Water.

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