LOS ANGELES, California — Part of a new fundraising campaign, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are raffling off a chance to have lunch with the celebrity duo. Affleck and Damon’s new fundraising campaign is raising awareness about global poverty. Since additional entries into the raffle are awarded for higher donations, their fundraiser works by incentivizing higher donations. The more money a contestant donates, the more likely she or he is to win a lunch date with Affleck and Damon. Here’s a look at the charity organizations where that donation money goes.
Damon’s campaign, Water.org, shifted its focus to address the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s widely accepted that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to quarantine. Without access to clean water at home, quarantine is impossible for millions of people. Water.org has sought “to empower people living in poverty with access to safe water and the health and hope that flow from it.”
In Ethiopia, for example, millions of people live with scarce access to both safe water and improved sanitation. This problem was exacerbated by COVID-19. Since 2015, Water.org has worked with financial institutions to generate loans for water and sanitation. This system has been effective throughout the pandemic.
Currently, the organization is “calling leaders around the world to prioritize water, sanitation and hygiene in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” It has also started a Resilience Fund to support 50 essential community projects over the next three years. It is intended to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and diseases like it through sanitation efforts.
Many people in developing countries typically have to find ways to secure clean water daily. WaterCredit provides small loans to those looking to improve household sanitation. These loans have already helped more than 31 million people access clean water and sanitation. Among its long-term health benefits, having water taps and sanitation systems allow people to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given that nearly 90% of the people who participate in the WaterCredit program are women, the program has also been effective in creating more time for women to pursue educational and personal goals. Although Affleck and Damon’s new fundraising campaign is raising awareness about global poverty immediately, their charitable organizations had already created some of the necessary infrastructures for navigating this pandemic.
Eastern Congo Initiative
Before the pandemic, Affleck’s organization, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), gave $500 to Un Jour Nouveau (UJN). UJN is an organization that works to empower women in business and related fields. The organization planned to use the money to make dresses, but COVID-19 stalled consumer interest in purchasing dresses. It, therefore, adapted by making masks instead. The Masks that UJN sold helped stop the spread of COVID-19. UJN’s resourcefulness and business acumen contributed to the public good by effectively saving countless lives. It also led to a heap of additional business contracts and profits for UJN.
UJN’s success is tantamount to the short and long-term goals of the Eastern Congo Initiative, which seeks to support the social and economic flourishing of eastern Congo. The Asili business model provides local businesses with the resources and capital that they need to get started. Asili businesses operate independently once they get started and generate a profit to sustain themselves.
Affleck and Damon’s new fundraising campaign is raising awareness about global poverty. Every donation supports Water.org and Eastern Congo Initiative’s programs to build sustainable institutions. The two actors are showing their commitment to fighting global poverty.
– Taylor Pangman