As the US prepares for its biggest sporting event of the year, Matt Damon has an important message for the millions of football fans and fellow Super Bowl-party attendees chugging beer — 95% water — and washing out empty cups in the kitchen sink.
Damon and his organization Water.org, which provides small loans to help fund local water projects around the world, has partnered with beer company Stella Artois for a 30-second commercial that will air during the Big Game.
“Such a simple thing — clean water at the turn of a tap. It’s like magic,” Damon says in the ad. “And yet millions of people in the developing world walk up to six hours for water.”
Damon’s right: roughly 2 billion people around the world lack access to clean water, including more than 750 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and 63 million people in India. Conflict in Yemen has cut off clean water to half the country’s children and more than a million people there experience waterborne diarrheal diseases.
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The commercial encourages viewers to purchase Stella glasses — referred to as “chalices” — because a portion of up to 300,000 sales will go toward water projects in ten countries.
Like Water.org, Global Citizen campaigns on ensuring that everyone around the world has consistent access to clean water and safe sanitation systems. You can take action here.
Damon, however, isn’t the only one using football to promote clean water access.
Various NFL players have used their platform to help people around the world get access to safe water.
For example, nine current players “team up to tackle thirst” with the Waterboys, an organization that funds water and sanitation projects throughout Africa. The Waterboys roster includes Jacksonville Jaguars’ All-Pro defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who will face the New England Patriots for a shot at the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long, a nominee for the NFL’s prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year award and another potential Super Bowl contender, co-founded the organization after visiting Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. In addition to his work providing access to clean water in the developing world, Long also donated his entire 2017 salary to fund education programs in the US, a campaign that has raised $1.75 million so far.
“When you implement clean water, it’s not just giving people something to drink,” Long told students at the University of Virginia last year. “Health improves, hygiene improves, the economy improves, agriculture improves, education improves and kids aren’t missing school.”