As Chelsea Handler led 8,000 women rights activists through the streets of Park City, Utah on Saturday, Matt Damon spoke up for girls and women by articulating the need for clean water.  

At the Sundance Film Festival, Damon reaffirmed that clean water accessibility is not a partisan issue and requires “an all-hands-on-deck approach to solve this.” 

He plans to pitch President Trump on the issue of water and sanitation according to the Associated Press

“Hopefully we’ll get our turn,” said Damon when asked about his response to the election. 

Damon also said he hopes President Trump will be “open to backing clean water programs,” which can help girls spend less time collecting water and more time in school. 

It’s an effective and efficient way to foster gender equality into a future generation. Currently, girls spend 200 million hours a year collecting water. These are precious hours spent outside the classroom, which put girls at a disadvantage to their male classmates. 

Read More: A Walk in Women’s Shoes, The Journey For Clean Water 

Clean water is not a new issue for Damon. He’s been championing the importance of clean water for decades. 

Damon is the co-founder of —  a microcredit approach to accessing clean water. allows families in impoverished regions to take on building clean water and sanitation into their own hands and homes. The organization has brought clean water to more than five million people since Damon and Gary White, a civil engineer, started the non-profit 25 years ago. 

Damon is a firm believer that clean water is one of the most effective methods to end poverty. 

“You cannot solve poverty without solving water and sanitation,” said Damon. 

Read More: This Photographer and Storyteller Bring to Life Meaning of Water in Peru

In 2015, USAID invested $499 million toward water-related programs throughout 54 countries. The international aid agency has a goal of bringing clean water to another 3 million people by 2018. In order to achieve this goal, support and funding for water and sanitation programs cannot fall aside on the political agenda. 

But we can be rightly hopeful — because more activists are speaking out vigorously for the issues we all care about. 

So, amid the uncertainty President Trump’s upcoming policies on foreign aid, environmental protection, and gender equality, activists like Leo Dicaprio, and Damon reaffirm one of the slogans chanted loudly this weekend: “We will not go away.” 

Read More: 'Buy a Lady a Drink' and Bring Clean Water to Thousands of Women in Developing Countries


Defeat Poverty

Matt Damon Plans to Pitch President Trump on Clean Water

By Meghan Werft