UNICEF Georgetown took a break from its regular fundraising and discussion last week to educate Georgetown about water, sanitation and hygiene needs around the world during World Water Week.

UNICEF Georgetown promoted and fundraised for UNICEF’s Tap Project, a campaign to provide clean water to children in developing countries in honor of World Water Day today.

This is the first time UNICEF Georgetown has devoted an entire week to the campaign, which has raised approximately $200.

“Last year, this wasn’t that big a deal, so we’re trying to expand our presence,” UNICEF Georgetown member Antara Joardar (SFS ’16) said.

UNICEF Georgetown President Dawn Chan (SFS ’14) said that World Water Week is particularly compatible with the group’s goals.

“Our main purpose here is to educate, advocate and fundraise,” Chan said. “World Water Week really fits into what we believe in and our function as a campus organization.”

In the biggest event of the week, UNICEF Georgetown held a spotlight dinner on clean water in Haiti Tuesday night. The dinner featured Andrew Bell, a research fellow at the Environment and Production Technology Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute, and Zachary Brehmer, director of research of International Action, an organization that brings clean water to communities in Haiti. Bell works on irrigation and sustainable land management in Asia and Africa.

Chan said the speakers were selected to provide two different perspectives on water issues.

“[Brehmer] talked about [International Action’s] work in Haiti and their ground operations, giving students a perspective on how water works on the ground,” she said. “Dr. Bell talked about, on a policy level, how you can change things to improve the provision of clean water. [He talked] about water rights and things we wouldn’t have thought about on a daily perspective.”

Chan was satisfied with Tuesday’s dinner.

“We got a really good turnout in our spotlight dinner,” she said. “We got a lot of questions and a lot of people stayed to talk to our speakers.”

Special Events Coordinator Brian Goggin (SFS ’14) described UNICEF Georgetown’s appeal to students.

“Georgetown is a community that’s very interested in development in general,” he said. “We have a lot of students who are interested in the topic, … but sometimes it’s also good to be passionate about something and put those ideas into action, rather than just scholarship.”

The group also sponsored a raffle and sold cupcakes to raise money for the Tap Project, in addition to holding a trivia night in Hoya Snaxa.

World Water Day is also acknowledged by professors, especially at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, which is featuring academic discussion of international water issues through its website and social media Friday.

“Water may also be the most fundamental of human rights because without water nothing else can succeed, including life itself,” Berkley Center senior fellow Katherine Marshall wrote in an email. “World Water Day marks the universal quality of the challenge, as it sets out to make sure that all the world’s people have access to clean water, not someday, but now. At the Berkley Center, we’ve taken up an important and neglected dimension of this challenge: the actual and potential links ways in which the deep faith concern for water can translate into practical, tangible results.”

UNICEF Georgetown Treasurer Janine Duffy (SFS ’14) agreed that clean water issues need more attention.

“I think it’s something that most people should think about,” Duffy said. “It’s the leading cause of death for children in the world, and we just take it for granted.”

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