Matt Damon Helps Ethiopia’s Water Crisis: How You Too Can Make A Difference

By: Robin Ryan, for Forbes.com

For the story’s original link, please click here:https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinryan/2019/03/19/matt-damon-aids-ethiopias-water-crisis-how-you-too-can-make-a-difference/#29a26b90c00d

Academy Award winner  Matt Damon is an active volunteer and has made the lack of clean water in Ethiopia a cause for his charity water.org. “The last time I was in Ethiopia, I was sitting over a hand-dug well and watched these children pull water out of this filthy hole. The water looked like chocolate milk,” says Damon.

When Tim Arnold, a retired general manager first went to Africa, he also saw the need first hand. He said, “When you travel in Ethiopia, you see all these young women and children walking mile after mile with yellow jugs on their backs going to get water. Most people walked for two hours to get water. Often times you’d see them get it from dirty streams or mud puddles.”

Arnold, a retiree and a member of Rotary, was faced with a lot of time on his hands and no purpose until he went on a trip to Ethiopia originally to celebrate the eradication of polio. Upon arrival, he took a seven-hour car trip to the town of Sodo, because they were having a Rotary club meeting. Of course, these Africans had never been in a Rotary club before but they wanted to help their community. The goal was to do a $500,000 water project.

These village leaders had no true concept of how expensive this $500,000 water project was or what to do to make this happen. They only wanted to do it.  Arnold noted, “I knew this project was something I was going to take. It just hit me that I needed to do something.” He needed some partners. I made a connection with Kim Lorenz and he became my contact at World Vision and we took on this project together. Arnold used his ability to organize and got the right people involved. The project grew and it became an $800,000 water and sanitation project. “I went back to Ethiopia to search for water locations and identified communities where they were really needed, although the need seemed to be everywhere. We found this village called Mehalwonz on a hill, that had no water or sanitation and a school with 500 kids. It would also need a pipeline to solve its water issues,” Arnold explained.

Volunteering can take on many paths as Arnold found out. He says, “I’m busier now than before I retired. One thing I had to do immediately was start fundraising. Arnold, with a couple of others, spearheaded this and got matching money from Rotary Clubs and then from Rotary International raising $400,000. World Vision matched that amount achieving the needed $800,000. This took a lot of his old managerial skills to connect with all the right people and keep on trying whenever he hit an obstacle, a “NO” or another roadblock.

Academy Award winner  Matt Damon is an active volunteer and has made the lack of clean water in Ethiopia a cause for his charity water.org. “The last time I was in Ethiopia, I was sitting over a hand-dug well and watched these children pull water out of this filthy hole. The water looked like chocolate milk,” says Damon.

When Tim Arnold, a retired general manager first went to Africa, he also saw the need first hand. He said, “When you travel in Ethiopia, you see all these young women and children walking mile after mile with yellow jugs on their backs going to get water. Most people walked for two hours to get water. Often times you’d see them get it from dirty streams or mud puddles.”

Arnold, a retiree and a member of Rotary, was faced with a lot of time on his hands and no purpose until he went on a trip to Ethiopia originally to celebrate the eradication of polio. Upon arrival, he took a seven-hour car trip to the town of Sodo, because they were having a Rotary club meeting. Of course, these Africans had never been in a Rotary club before but they wanted to help their community. The goal was to do a $500,000 water project.

These village leaders had no true concept of how expensive this $500,000 water project was or what to do to make this happen. They only wanted to do it.  Arnold noted, “I knew this project was something I was going to take. It just hit me that I needed to do something.” He needed some partners. I made a connection with Kim Lorenz and he became my contact at World Vision and we took on this project together. Arnold used his ability to organize and got the right people involved. The project grew and it became an $800,000 water and sanitation project. “I went back to Ethiopia to search for water locations and identified communities where they were really needed, although the need seemed to be everywhere. We found this village called Mehalwonz on a hill, that had no water or sanitation and a school with 500 kids. It would also need a pipeline to solve its water issues,” Arnold explained.

Volunteering can take on many paths as Arnold found out. He says, “I’m busier now than before I retired. One thing I had to do immediately was start fundraising. Arnold, with a couple of others, spearheaded this and got matching money from Rotary Clubs and then from Rotary International raising $400,000. World Vision matched that amount achieving the needed $800,000. This took a lot of his old managerial skills to connect with all the right people and keep on trying whenever he hit an obstacle, a “NO” or another roadblock.

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