The Water Project

Words by Weetyr Goh

A couple of years ago in 2011, I stumbled across The Water Project, a non-profit organization (NPO) started by Christians in Canada who were committed to “bringing relief to communities around the world who suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation. It was something that instantly connected with me, and still does. Personally, I had always thought of access to clean water as a privilege and when digging deeper into the water crisis that The Water Project aimed to help in, it was heart-breaking knowing that almost 900 million people globally did not have that very privilege that I enjoyed, and admittedly sometimes take for granted.

Recently, a Facebook friend shared a photo that was posted by Thankyou, a similar organization started by Christians in Melbourne who essentially had the same commitment – providing access to clean water to the almost 900 million people globally who didn’t have it. I had recalled hearing about the Thankyou organisation once, and that was as far as my interest went. The photo appeared on my newsfeed, and my interest in Thankyou was renewed once again.

It wasn’t until a couple of days after I saw that photo that I remembered where I had seen the Thankyou name before. Earlier this year, I had gone to an Australia Post (one of the places that stock Thankyou Water) branch to post something to a friend interstate, and while waiting in the queue, came across a 600mL bottle of water from the people at Thankyou. I thought nothing of it. Without knowing what it really represented, I figured it to be just another bottle of water by a random company, and this is where I could not be more incorrect.

Thankyou is unlike any other bottled water company, and neither is it a charity, as some have labelled it to be. Thankyou is really quite a fantastic social enterprise, and this is what sets it apart from organisations such as The Water Project. Rather than providing further competition to existing charities, it focuses instead on providing “a better consumable product option for the everyday Australian, enabling them to help change the world in the process.” With every purchase of a Thankyou bottle of water, which comes in 600mL and 1.5L sizes respectively, every cent leftover after costs are taken care of goes to life-changing projects in the developing world. These aren’t just empty words. This is Thankyou’s personal commitment to you. If you still don’t believe them, there is the option of tracking your own impact, something The Water Project has as well, so you can be at peace that your money is actually being used the right way. If you aren’t convinced that a Thankyou bottle of water is the way to go, know that every bottle of Thankyou Water you buy means at least one month of safe drinking water for someone out there!

To know where it all started, one only has to go a short while back to August 2008, where a young but mature-minded 19 year old university student by the name of Daniel Flynn and fellow co-founders Justine Flynn and Jarryd Burns founded what was known as Thankyou Water. The founding of Thankyou Water came after learning that while many across the world faced horrific daily battles, Australians were spending a mind-blowing $600 million annually simply on the purchase of bottled water. This was simply outrageous. They wondered why Australians were spending so much on something we had the blessed privilege of getting for free, all from the flick of our taps?

And so, Thankyou Water was born. Its mission? To channel all profits from sales into water projects, and making consumers aware of the highly significant impact one can make through the simple act of buying a bottle of water. A result of the two extremes, Thankyou Water had until very recently, remained a “bottled water company that would exist for the sole purpose of funding safe water projects in developing nations.”

I use the words “very recently” because as of 17th of July 2013, Thankyou Water changed their name to Thankyou. Why the change, you ask? Well, with the new additions of Thankyou Food and Thankyou Body Care, Thankyou Water has evolved to Thankyou in order to represent the three differing brands that it now consists of. If you’re thinking that Thankyou will now provide food and hygiene solutions on top of safe water access to those in need, you would be correct.

The Thankyou website explains it as such: “The mission hasn’t changed – we exist to empower the everyday Australian to make a difference through a simple choice within their everyday life. We’ve just stepped it up a level.” For a FAQ, visit: http://www.thankyouwater.org/movement/faq

Along with the two new brands by Thankyou, there is a corresponding campaign that the people at Thankyou are running. Titled “The Coles and Woolworths Campaign”, this video clearly explains what it’s all about, and even if you don’t read on, do check the video out!

“The Coles and Woolworths Campaign”: bit.ly/18y3kJQ

If you didn’t check the video out, it is basically a campaign to bring on board the two largest supermarkets in Australia – Coles and Woolworths. It is said that 75% of Australians shop at either a Coles or a Woolworths for their grocery shopping, and it is this market share that Thankyou is seeking to expand into. So far, for the past 5 years, Coles and Woolworths haven’t stocked any of Thankyou’s products. This kind of campaign has been run before. When Thankyou was seeking 7-Eleven’s cooperation, they ran a similar campaign. It focused on generating support from people from all over Australia and communicating this support to 7-Eleven so when Thankyou met with 7-Eleven, the level of support was undeniable and too hard to resist for 7-Eleven.

If the Coles and Woolworths campaign is successful, Thankyou’s national exposure would increase substantially, and they’d be increasingly able to help more and more people in need. Currently, Thankyou Water is stocked in over 3,000 outlets nationwide including 7-Eleven stores, Australia Post branches, IGA stores, Foodland stores, Provender vending machines, as well as an additional 400 independent outlets.

There will be some who ask: What if it doesn’t work?

The real question should be though: What if it does?

The Coles and Woolworths campaign is huge, and if it succeeds, one can only imagine the greater things that could take place. It’s rather exciting to think of the amount of help that will be provided to those in need, if in fact it does work!

The campaign worked with 7-Eleven. Let’s do the same with Coles and Woolworths.

Coles and Woolworths, if you stock the Thankyou range, I’d buy it.

PS: If you do post anything about the campaign, remember to hashtag #colesandwoolworths and #thankyou , be it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social medium that you might use!

Coolest videos so far:
 vimeo.com (by Janelle Oh and friends)
 www.facebook.com (by Josh)
 www.youtube.com (by Nath)

Compilation of Week 1 Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9C_1Py_5PQ

Visit the website: www.thankyouwater.org/
 Visit the facebook page: www.facebook.com/ThankyouWATER
Check out more videos at: www.youtube.com/user/thankyouwater

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