Unilever has launched a not-for-profit program for providing safe clean drinking water to communities around the world with a Facebook Timeline application.

Working through the Unilever Foundation in partnership with Population Services International (PSI), the consumer goods company has created ‘Waterworks‘. The aim is to connect people on Facebook with communities in need.

According to Unilever, around 800 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water. Water-borne diseases like dysentery and diarrhoea kill weaker members of communities and thousands of children die each week because of water related illnesses.

Those are pretty horrific stats which also highlight how we can take for granted being able to turn on a tap and fill a glass with clean water.

Waterworks is a Facebook Timeline app for charitable giving. It highlights the issues and shares images of the communities affected along with extra information to aid understanding.

unilever Unilever Foundation launches Facebook app for clean water charity giving

Users are invited to sign up to the application and work with a PSI-trained ‘Waterworker’ to choose a daily donation, this can start from €0.10 ($0.13). The funds support water-poor communities where the Waterworkers provide education about clean drinking water and distribute water purifiers to families in need. (Yes, the water purifiers are made by Unilever.)

Waterworkers are women in the aforementioned communities, mothers, sisters and aunts who are trusted to have clear and educational conversations about health issues. This makes more sense than sending in strangers and translators to push information that may be viewed as suspicious.

Through this system, the women gain an income and training on communication techniques, so it is possible that the investment in communities like this will provide skills that are useful should the campaign draw to a close. In its initial stage, PSI will train 75 Waterworkers who will educate the neediest people in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Clean drinking water is a human right according to the United Nations. Making it so, does not make it available though and while traditional marketing methods might influence a certain percentage of people who are able to make donations, it makes more sense to work within one of the world’s biggest social networks to attract a new audience.

It might not be easy to commit to a continuous donation system of giving daily, but at the very least, the Waterworks Timeline should be able to educate others who might consider giving at their own pace to make a difference.

Image Credit: McKaySavage