SAN DIEGO, California — Amy Poehler, well known for her roles in Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation, has taken her platform and used it to help fight global poverty. Poehler and a colleague of hers, producer Meredith Walker, started Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls in 2007, which originated with a YouTube video series in 2008 to help inspire girls and teens to express themselves. Since then, the web series has grown into a dedicated website that is intended to be a place for inclusion and positivity of all types, featuring writing on a variety of issues from women’s rights to the LGBTQ movement and poverty.
Working for Clean Water
Recently, the organization worked with the nonprofit Well Aware in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of clean water in Africa. Well Aware, based in Austin, Texas, works to bring clean and accessible water to East Africa by funding and building life-saving water systems. Clean water is instrumental to improving water-scarce communities’ quality of life not only by preventing waterborne diseases and providing safe drinking water, but it also affords people the ability to shift their time and energy elsewhere. As a result, providing clean and accessible water drives economic development and an overall ripple effect in positive changes.
At Well Aware’s Winter Waterland Virtual Gala on December 3, Poehler and Walker were awarded the 2020 Global Impact Award in recognition for their support in improving the lives of girls around the world. At the gala, Walker said, “We know from our work with UN Women that whenever girls and women are supported, and can take leadership positions in their communities, everyone does better.”
Smart Girls’ work to support women around the globe is vital, as pointed out by Well Aware founder Sarah Evans. Noting the importance of clean water in supporting women, she explained, “There can be no prosperity for women without access to clean water. Most often, it’s the role of women and girls to collect and treat water in these developing regions of the world, meaning their lives are tied to manual labor with little time for education, much less, laughter. Once plentiful and sustainable clean water is in their communities, the trajectory of their lives are changed forever.”
Impact of Water
In communities where clean water is scarce, women and girls can spend up to six hours a day working to collect water. When there is clean and accessible water, women and girls have the opportunity to be a driving force in economic development which consequently leads to positive changes across the board, as mentioned by Meredith Walker. Amy Poehler’s recognition of the substantial impact clean water can have on women and their communities is a welcome sight as it is heartening to see celebrities actively using their platforms to bring positive change to the world, especially with global poverty. Amy Poehler not only brings smiles to people in front of the screen, but also to those around the world living in poverty.