A Well in a Day

 

On World Water Day, Lahash launched an effort to build a well for our friends at Amazing Grace Children’s Home:  24 hours. $6,036. 10,000 people. And it all happened online.

“Just 1 Well in Just 1 Day” may have happened exclusively on Facebook, but it started under the hot sun in northern Uganda. In the months prior to the project, the Lahash Servant Team in Uganda had been struggling to dig a well for months. Lack of funding brought the digging to a halt while the kids continued to walk miles each day filling and carrying heavy jugs from the nearest well. Haley Baker, a member of the Servant Team, watched the children’s daily journey and witnessed the time and toil it took to supply the home with water. In a passionate blog post, she wrote this:

“The further you go outside of Gulu, the less international attention is being shined on the area we serve. On our bus ride back to Adjumani, the aid becomes less, and less, and less.  This morning I cried a little. …We want water so badly for these kids and we want our work to help the children’s home become more sustainable.”

With World Water Day approaching, Executive Director Dan Holcomb, presented the idea of holding a one-day fund-raising event on Facebook. But $6,000 in 24 hours sounded like a long shot. Dan created a simple graphic showing a well bursting from the ground. It was simple and urgent. And most importantly — shareable.

During a 24 hour period, the “Just 1 Well” project had an organic reach of about 300 people, and the viral reach extended to over 10,500 people! It was by far the most viewed social media effort that Lahash had ever done.

To keep the project at the top of people’s feeds, Dan committed to posting up-to-the-minute progress reports.  As each update came out, people continued to like, share, and comment on the amounts being raised. People felt like they were a part of something bigger than themselves. They were connected to a group of people who were trying to accomplish something world-changing together that none of them could accomplish alone. And 23 hours later, Dan announced that we had reached 101% of the goal. The new well was going to be completed. Water was coming to Amazing Grace.

As an advocacy tool, the reach and impact of social media is undeniable. It allows us to connect with each other and raise our united (digital) voices on behalf of the vulnerable in a new way. It allows us to instantly express the issues and ideas we are passionate about and invite others to get involved. Being a digital advocate means looking at things like Facebook and your smartphone in a new light. They can be used for more than entertainment and updates. They are tools (sitting right there in your pocket or purse) that we can use to change the world.  Here are just a few ways you can become a digital advocate:

– Like Lahash on Facebook
– Become part of the Lahash Advocate Team
– Additional Reading: “Twitter For Good: Changing the World
One Tweet at a Time” by Claire Diaz-Ortiz
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Article adapted from Hope Is Alive, a quarterly magazine publication of Lahash International. You can sign-up online to receive this free magazine.