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11 Days. 11 Takeaways.

Our Creative team just returned from an incredibly productive (and sweaty) trip to Cambodia. And it. was. a. whirlwind.

In 11 days, we visited five different communities. We toured our local partner’s headquarters, field office, and sand production facility. We attended hygiene and sanitation trainings. We watched villages working together to construct their own BioSand Filters. We saw those same BioSand Filters get installed in homes and transform dirty water into clean water. We took thousands of photos. We had an amazing time.

But we can’t share much about it yet.

The purpose of this trip was to capture content for this year’s charity: ball gala, (which is about the things you don’t usually get to see… the parts, pieces, and people behind every single water project you help fund), and most of it is top secret until December.

To hold you over in the meantime, here are some of our favorite takeaways…


1. Cathay Pacific is incredible.

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Our trip began with a wonderfully generous in-kind donation from Cathay Pacific, who flew our entire team to and from Phnom Penh… for free.

As a long-time brand partner, Cathay Pacific has helped us with individual flights in the past, but this was another level of generosity. Not only did it save charity: water thousands of dollars, but it also enabled us to do even more work.

It was an unbeatable start to the trip. And we cannot say thank you enough.


2. Next time, bring quick-drying clothes.

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“High of 91” isn’t the same when you factor in the humidity in Cambodia– which feels a lot like the inside of a kiln. We spent every day sweaty and did much more laundry than usual.


3. You’ll love all of the fresh fruit!

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One of the best parts about Cambodia is the amount of strange-new-fruits! Every breakfast or marketplace boasted something new – from longan and mangosteen to rambutan and durian.


4. You will not love all of the fresh other things!

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On the flip side, every marketplace also seemed to feature its fair share of strange-new-fried-bugs – from grubs and grasshoppers to tarantulas and cockroaches.


5. This team is willing to do anything for the shot

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We hung out the side of tuk tuks, shot video from motorcycles, staged photoshoots from cherry pickers, and setup portrait sessions inside pagodas. And it was worth it every time.


6. The award for ‘most-committed’ goes to our local partner team

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Our local partner, Clear Cambodia, has these incredible teams who live out of field offices across the country. These are 26-47 year old men and women who have spouses, young kids, new babies, and babies on the way – who they only get to see on the weekends because they want to help bring clean water to other families in Cambodia.

We spent time with each team member talking about the their work and why they do it, and every person said they wouldn’t choose to do anything else. That they love their job. That the impact is too important. That the team is their second family.

Talk about inspiring.


7. BioSand Filters are magic

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The solution that we provide in Cambodia is called a BioSand Filter. It’s incredibly simple – a tall concrete box with layers of sand and gravel inside. And it transforms dirty water of any color… with any amount of debris… from any water source into bacteria-free, clean and clear water instead.


8. The community buy-in is even more inspiring

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In order for a family to receive a BioSand Filter, they have to contribute a little bit of their own money and then come and construct it themselves! It’s an awesome scene – people of all ages pouring and stirring cement, working together to make clean water a reality for their family.


9. You can fit 100 people on a motorcycle

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Okay… maybe not 100. But families of four or five are very common. And we once saw a group of six!


10. Everyone in the world should own a hammock

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One way that families beat the heat in Cambodia is hammocks. You’ll find them at almost every house – or anywhere there’s a fair amount of shade. And it’s glorious.

Work hard, hammock hard… that was our slogan.


11. It’s all about the little things

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The best part of trips like this is the company. In addition to an inspiring and helpful local partner team, we were also fortunate to have an awesome content team – four of us from charity: water and two freelancers (a photographer named Jeremy Snell and a videographer named Brad Knull).

It made for a successful trip, but it also made for a lot of lovely meals, silly moments, and memorable experiences together.

charity: water cambodia BioSand Filter clean water asia

Meet our 2017 Summer Interns!

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We broke a record this year when we hired 21 amazingly talented and incredibly passionate interns to work alongside our team for the summer. We feel so lucky to have found such an awesome group of young world-changers and are extremely grateful for their hard work and dedication over the past few months. Say hello to our 2017 summer interns! 


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Nikita Benson
School: NYU
Team: Finance
Hometown: Muscat, Oman

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

The post-water project completion efforts to monitor, evaluate, and ensure sustainability by locals seems like something missing from a lot of development programs, though a vital part of the solution. Also, the large picture of Caroline in the reception really moved me, not something I was expecting to feel.   

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I’m working on a specific project looking into the foreign currency exchange losses sustained by partners, so most of my day is focused on that. Sometimes I work on smaller Excel related tasks.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

The Finance team seems really jolly, so it’s nice to watch people laughing and looking happy!

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Seriously, it’s the L train at night

Fun Fact: I used to ice-skate competitively and now I’m a lapsed skater with skates that have needed breaking into for the last 2 years.

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Jessica Jang
School: Binghamton University
Team: Key Relationships
Hometown: St. James, NY

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I fell in love with charity: water’s mission, and I wanted to contribute to something that influenced the world outside my little bubble. Why not be a part of such inspiring and impactful work?

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I’m usually updating lots of numbers and working on updates to send to donors about their water project sponsorships.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

My favorite part is the people and their hard work and passion for what they do. The office environment is a huge part of making everyday fun and exciting! I love hearing the amazing stories from people I work with, people who support us, and people we help.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

I love exploring new foods so you can most likely find me trying a new place to eat. That or finding a nice spot in Central Park to relax with friends.

Fun Fact: I have played a 9ft Steinway piano at Carnegie Hall.

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Jill McInerney
The George Washington University
Key Relationships
Warren, NJ

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I wanted to learn how non-profit organizations run and charity: water was the perfect fit! charity: water’s mission and model to solve the water crisis spoke to me, so I knew I wanted to work here.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

My day usually starts with chatting with my fellow KR interns about anything from everyone’s weekend/days off to celebrity gossip. For lunch, I grab a bite to eat from one of the various cafes in the area then sit in the Flex space and eat/laugh with all the KR interns. The typical work I do for Maria consists of donor research, sending updates to donors, buying and sending cool gifts, and inputting data into Salesforce/excel spreadsheets.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

My favorite part about interning for charity: water is the all around positivity and amazing energy in the office. Everyone is so passionate about what they are doing making charity: water an unbelievable place to work.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Any rooftop that has a great view and great vibes

Fun Fact: I am extremely interested in history!

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Maeve Kennard
School: USC
Team: Water Programs
Hometown: Wilton, CT

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

Last summer I had the opportunity to work with the Water Programs team on various data projects. I fell in love with the organization and the work I was doing and had trouble seeing myself at any internship that was not charity: water. I knew that I would not receive a more valuable experience outside of charity: water and had to come back to continue to learn about the organization and see how it continues to grow and adapt.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I spend most of my days working on various Water Programs data projects, whether they are cleaning Household Data Sets and analyzing the success of various water projects, or helping to create comprehensive Water Point Site Lists to better track past projects.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

It is definitely a tie between the day to day work and the people. I love working with the data sets and understanding the true impact of all of the water projects. But the people here are also some of the most interesting and hard working people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Everyone has such a different story and brings such unique skills to the organization that there is never a shortage of knowledge to learn and share.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Any rooftop with a cool view and good food

Fun Fact: I used to be allergic to the cold weather when I was younger (which I didn’t even realize was possible) and after spending 3 years in California with minimal winter exposure, that allergy has started to come back.

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Noëlle Elmore
School: The King’s College
Team: Supporter Experience
Hometown: Mobile, AL

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I read a book called “Half the Sky” in high school, and ever since I’ve been super passionate about women’s issues, especially in developing countries. Friends from my college told me about charity: water, and after reading about the massive effect that clean water can have on women and children, I was sold. I know I want to do some kind of international non-profit work when I graduate, so interning at charity: water is perfect!

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

My job is mainly focused on the Help Center - I help supporters with any questions they have while campaigning or donating to charity: water. I reallocate donations, help set-up campaigns, and ship Jerry Cans! Lately, I’ve been helping with a Marketing initiative to personally thank every single campaigner, which is time-consuming but so amazing!

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

Well, the bean bag chairs, trail mix, and Beer + Pizza Fridays are definitely big contenders, but I have to say that my favorite thing is the staff’s attitude towards interns. My manager gives me meaningful projects to work on and I can work independently, knowing that everyone here is willing to help/advise/support me anytime I need it. The staff makes a point to get to know the interns and bring them into the charity: water community.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

There’s an amazing sushi place in KTown on 32nd street. It’s in a 3 story building filled with all different types of Asian food vendors. I like to pick up sushi and miso from there, maybe some bubble tea, and then sit in Herald Square to people-watch (cause tourists are hilarious).

Fun Fact: I’m a Star Wars super fan! My family and I marathon all the movies every Christmas, we own every action figure ever made, I’ve read the Star Wars encyclopedia cover-to-cover, and my Dad’s prized possession is a piece of Darth Vader’s original cape.

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Lily Patterson
School: Fordham University
Team: Water Programs
Hometown: Cape Cod, MA

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

My high school hosted a gala to benefit charity: water during my sophomore year and I have been following the organization ever since. I interned with Taina in the Fall of 2016 and she made it such a positive experience that I jumped at the first chance I had to come back!

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I typically come in, grab a cup of coffee, and then the first thing I do is look through my emails. Beyond that, what I do varies each day depending on what the Water Programs team needs, from WASH research to cleaning up grant cards.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

The people are some of the friendliest and most open that I have ever met and I love getting to know everyone. The coffee doesn’t hurt either!

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

I love hanging out in Central Park with my dad and watching the different baseball leagues play.

Fun Fact: I can assemble any item from IKEA in record time and genuinely enjoy it.

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Julia Briggs
School: The King’s College
Team: Office Operations
Hometown: I moved 15 times growing up, so everywhere

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I know many previous interns from charity: water through my college and hearing their stories showed me the incredible impact that charity: water has on the world, so I knew I had to be a part of it.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

As the Office Experience Intern, I help maintain the office with our Office Experience Manager, Jordan. Whether it be through ordering snacks and supplies, setting up for Beer + Pizza, or tidying the office during my daily walk around.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

Being able to explain the work that charity: water is doing and seeing people’s faces as they realize what an impact it has on the world.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Any and all coffee shops! There are some great ones throughout the city!

Fun Fact: I am starting my thesis on the Influence of Cultural Perspectives on Holocaust Literature next semester at The University of Oxford in England!

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Shannon Wheeler
School: UCLA
Team: Marketing
Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I had the opportunity to intern with charity: water last summer and couldn’t wait to come back! Working at charity: water is incredibly inspiring, challenging and a lot of fun. I study International Development and I’m particularly interested in issues of public health, something that those without access to clean and safe drinking water struggle with daily.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I work with the amazing Anna Azarjew, so I usually start my day checking in with her and catching up on work while lounging on the couch next to her desk. Throughout the day you can find me developing resources for students and teachers and speaking with our awesome supporters.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

My coworkers! I’m constantly inspired by the energy, dedication, and experience of this staff. Anna is the Lorelai to my Rory.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

This answer definitely changes based on the season, but I would say my favorite summer NYC hang out is Central Park.

Fun Fact: I spent a summer walking across Spain.

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Evan Keare
School: Harvard-Westlake School
Team: Water Programs
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I’ve been passionate about volunteer work and service my entire life. About a year ago my uncle retweeted The Spring video, and it came up on my Twitter feed so I watched it. I was so moved and inspired that I knew I at least had to try to apply for an internship!

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

It changes every day! On any given day, I might be organizing and filing grant documents, keeping content bank and internal keynotes up to date, or doing whatever Christoph asks me to do for him that day.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

The space and the people for sure. The office is absolutely incredible and I love being able to work in such an open, comfortable, and fun place. The people are all so intelligent and passionate and come from all different walks of life, so it’s been really fun to get to know everyone.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

I love Pier 26 just a few blocks away from the office. There are tables and chairs looking over the river surrounded by a volleyball court, a basketball court, and a skate park. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sunset!

Fun Fact: I learned how to solve a Rubik's Cube in 60 seconds when I was in third grade!

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Yanyan Luo
School: NYU
Team: Finance
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I highly value when NGOs are accountable and transparent in how they allocate their funds. Thus charity: water’s 100% model really inspired me to want to be a part of the team.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Entering donations into NetSuite, and assisting Yohanny (or anyone else on the Finance team) in daily tasks as needed.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

The friendliness of the staff and the amazing office space.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Carl Schwarz Park and Central Park

Fun Fact: I had always dreamt of being a professional pianist when I was young!

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Thomas Newell
School: Brigham Young University
Team: Key Relationships
Hometown: Provo, UT

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

About a year ago, I listened to charity: water CEO Scott Harrison talk about the water crisis on the Bill Simmons podcast.  I had always been interested in charity work in the developing world, but had never considered water to be such a foundational part of the effort.  I determined that I would do my part to help end the water crisis and undertook a year-long endeavor to make my way from Provo, UT to New York City to be involved with charity: water, its mission, and its people.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Come in early to an office filled with wonderful people, communicate with my direct supervisor in the UK, and then get to work either researching potential charity: water supporters, helping the newly minted UK operations team move smoothly, or building up our database for the UK as charity: water becomes a household name.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

Being involved in something that is truly meaningful.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Any basketball park–whether it’s Rucker, West 4th, or Dyckman.  I love to get out and see basketball in its Mecca here in NYC.

Fun Fact: After New York, my wife and I will be moving to London to pursue a Master’s degree and completely empty our pockets living in another of the world’s most expensive cities.

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Maya Rudolph
School: University at Albany, SUNY
Team: Key Relationships
Hometown: Parsippany, NJ

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I wanted to intern at charity: water because I wanted to experience working for a mission driven organization that had the capacity and drive to make an incredible impact. I was eager to learn about the inner workings of a large non-profit, alongside charity: water’s unique 100% model.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I rarely know what to expect each day, but I love that there is always a surprise in store. My responsibilities vary in accordance to the fast-paced tempo of the office. Some days, we sit in on team meetings to learn from the Key Relationships representatives, whereas others involve researching donors or prepping the office for guest visits. My manager always has sound, knowledgeable advice or an intriguing task for me to complete.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

I love my team! The Key Relationships team is chock-full of powerful, inspiring women (and one great male intern). I love to learn from them each day about how to be fearless in my work and break down barriers. My co-interns are wonderful as well - certainly life-long friends!

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Any place on the water! Whether it be the East River, the Hudson, or lakeside in Central Park, I love to sit down with a good read and enjoy the view of the water ahead and the breathtaking skyline behind.

Fun Fact: I stand only as tall as three Jerry Cans stacked!

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Sam Benevelli
School: Hamilton College
Team: Key Relationships
Hometown: Madison, CT

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

Anyone I interviewed with or spoke to about charity: water was so passionate about their work and about solving the world water crisis. These are the people that made the job listing come to life and got me very excited about this opportunity.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

A typical day in the office for me involves donor research.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

My favorite part of interning at charity: water is my coworkers. From the other amazing interns to my fabulous managers, everyone here makes it easy to love coming to work.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

My favorite NYC hangout is Washington Square Park.

Fun Fact: I can sing every song from Hamilton the Musical!

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Antony Wolfe-Cowen
School: Cornell University
Team: Brand Partnerships
Hometown: London, UK

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

After watching Scott’s TED Talk a few years back, I was inspired by charity: water’s bold mission and commitment to bringing clean and safe drinking water to 663 million people across developing parts of the world. I was also fascinated by the way in which charity: water has revolutionized the traditional non-profit model and is leveraging innovative technologies across the organization to make their positive impact sustainable and quantifiable. Moreover, the unique opportunity to be charity: water’s first official MBA Intern, with the permission to co-create and structure the role alongside the Director of Partnerships, greatly appealed to me.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I spend a large proportion of the day working on the projects and related tasks that have been assigned to me over the summer. One exciting project that I am focused on currently is centered around the business case development for the next stage of a newly formed partnership. The goal here is to understand the potential impact of the venture’s growth and how we could integrate technology to make the program more seamless after the initial pilot phase.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

Contributing to an organization that is bettering the lives of millions of people around the world is of course hugely rewarding. It’s also great working alongside smart, driven, creative and incredibly passionate people who care deeply about the mission of the organization. The energy in the office is infectious!

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

As I love to take photos, I have to say the Tudor City Overpass; it’s the perfect spot to catch the sunset, especially during Manhattanhenge.

Fun Fact: Sacha Baren Cohen is in my family tree, although we sadly don’t know each other.

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Bryn Melanson
School: UNC Chapel Hill
Team: Brand Partnerships
Hometown: Boston, MA

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I wanted to work for an innovative mission driven organization with an amazing culture.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I help support the Brand Partnerships team with partnership inquiries, manage relationships with current brand partners, and research and develop creative ideas for potential partners to get involved.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

Definitely the people. The energy is magnetic and everyone likes to work hard, but have a great time while doing it.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

I love the West Village, there are so many great restaurants and things to do!

Fun Fact: I have my PADI Scuba Diving Certification and I was a DI rower.

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Casey Brown
School: University of Kansas
Team: Key Relationships
Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I was so inspired by charity: water and their mission. Knowing the impact that the organization has and continues to make only made me more passionate about being a part of the team.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I usually come in and catch up with the KR team for a bit, and then head straight into putting notes into Salesforce, sending packages and helping my amazing manager Brady Essmann with anything she needs for the day. 

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

charity: water has provided me with experiences and tools that I will carry with me long after the summer is over. I have learned so much by both observing and by the hands on approach they have here at charity: water. I love the fun exciting energy, and the always warm and comforting environment the office creates each day.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

I love running through Central Park! There is so much to explore! I could keep running for hours!

Fun Fact: I am an expert on all things Broadway!

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Megan Daly
School: Indiana University
Team: Guest Experience and Office Operations
Hometown: Dyer, IN

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I wanted to intern at charity: water because I heard about their mission and purpose on a podcast and got so pumped about what they are doing! Being a Nonprofit major, I have also always wanted to work with an organization that is doing the kind life-changing work that charity: water does.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Typically, I get to sit up front and answer the phone and talk to our wonderful donors! I answer their questions or help them with any issues they might have. I also get to greet and welcome guests as they come into our office!

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

I love learning more and more about the organization and the different roles that people play in accomplishing their mission. The people at charity: water are so passionate about what they do and have so much to share and teach!

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

I spend a lot of time in Central Park! It’s my favorite place to get away from the busy streets and go for a run or picnic with friends.

Fun Fact: I can, in fact, lick my elbow!

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Leah Havens
School: The University of Texas at Austin
Team: Water Programs
Hometown: Austin, TX

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

charity: water is working to solve one of the largest problems of our time. As a civil engineer who is passionate about using my skills in the context of international development, working for charity: water has been a dream. With an innovative business model AND innovative solutions in the field, charity: water is leading the way in getting clean water and sanitation to people who need it, and I am honored to be a small part of it!

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

A typical day in the office involves lots of coffee, tea, and snacks and wonderful meetings with the Water Programs team. Beyond that, I spend my time researching the solutions funded by charity: water and looking at data that we’ve collected through surveys in the countries we work in.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

The work space is one of the most inspiring places that I’ve ever existed in. From the people and the artwork to the awesome welcome mat, I feel motivated to be a part of something bigger the second I walk through the doors.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

A wonderful coffee shop called The Outpost in Brooklyn. They have provided me with endless sandwiches and coffee and have a dope patio.

Fun Fact: I can never be president. My dad was in the Army, and I was born in Frankfurt in a German hospital. Womp.

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Sadiq Keshwani
School: The King’s College
Team: Finance
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I was born in Pakistan, and when I was around 10 my family took a trip to the rural areas. I saw how clean water was a luxury in some of those places, and since then it has always been on my mind to do something to help people around the world get access to clean water. When I found out about charity: water and its mission, I quickly wanted to be a part of it in any way I could.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Entering checks into NetSuite, going through expense reports, generating tax receipts, snacking.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

The people; everyone is really nice, and approachable. The office is beautiful, and the kitchen is full of snacks. Not a bad place to be interning at!

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

Not Times Square.

Fun Fact: I went to the same highschool as Ed Sheeran.

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Tiffany Novacek
School: University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Team: Creative
Hometown: Norfolk, Nebraska

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

The idea was planted in my head by a family member, but moving to New York for the summer seemed really far fetched at the time. I’ve always loved charity: water’s mission and once I started realistically thinking about interning here, I knew I couldn’t pass it up! The organization is so inspiring and the experience has been better than I could have imagined.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

My day-to-day tasks vary in the office, but I can typically count on someone (usually Tyler) inviting me to Puffy’s for lunch. A lot of writing, editing and coffee drinking happen in my corner.

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

I look forward to coming to the office every morning, which has to be the best part! There’s always something exciting happening and the staff has made me feel right at home in New York.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

I’m obsessed with going to places that have cool rooftop views. The Met, Le Bain, The Wythe. Amazing views of the city and you get to escape the crazy sounds and smell for a bit.

Fun Fact: I am a huge animal lover, but birds scare me so much!

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Kristina Chu
School: Tufts University
Team: Key Relationships
Hometown: East Setauket, NY

Why did you want to intern at charity: water?

I was really drawn to charity: water’s strategy to solve the global water crisis (collaborating with local partners and accounting for different cultures/ environments when determining the best-fit solution for a community). I also figured charity: water could teach me so much about work in the public health/ international development sector, of which I am passionate about.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

As soon as I walk in, I grab a mason jar to fill with water and a mug of tea. Usually, I spend 5 minutes catching up with my fellow KR interns. Then, when settled in at my desk, I check my email, Slack, and Basecamp for new assigned tasks or notifications. The morning usually involves managing birthday gifts for our Well members or some research on foundation grants. Around noon, I break for lunch, sitting in on the Brown Bags when they are happening. In the afternoons, I return my attention to my assigned tasks and occasionally have a one on one meeting with Rachel (my amazing manager)!

What is your favorite part of interning at charity: water?

I love being in a space where the staff and interns are driven by and passionate about the org’s mission.

What is your favorite NYC hangout?

The Hypar Pavilion at Lincoln Center

Fun Fact: Up until tenth grade, my home didn’t have a computer or the internet!

The Value of a Tanka

As a skilled mason, Tamaram rises before the sun most mornings and makes the 100-kilometer journey to the neighboring villages of Balesar and Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India to get to work on time. With a wife and five kids at home, the majority of his time is spent working long days to ensure he is making enough money to provide for them all.

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While Tamaram is at work, it is the responsibility of his wife and daughters to collect water for their family. And in Rajasthan, this is no easy task.

Because the Thar Desert is mostly saline, most groundwater is unsuitable for drinking. Instead, many families in the region have to rely on open ponds or government-filled reservoir tanks for their water supply. But because the demand for water is so high (especially during the summer months) many of these reservoir tanks often stand empty and the ponds dry up.

To supplement their water supply during the dry season, Tamaram’s family pays to have water trucked in and stored in a kuccha tanka outside their home. Kuccha tankas are small, unlined pits in the ground that are surrounded by mud. Because these pits are poorly protected, much of the water either seeps into the ground or evaporates away. The water that remains is almost always contaminated, and many of Tamaram’s family members have fallen sick from drinking it.

Every year, Tamaram would have to spend at least 25-30% of his annual income on having this water trucked to his home. And with such a large family to provide for, this often meant he was never able to put any of his money aside for savings.

Additionally, during the summer months when the demand was high and supply was low, water would become so expensive to truck in that Tamaram would have to borrow money or take water on credit and pay it back when he was able to find more work.

That was until our local partner, the Jal Baghirathi Foundation, stepped in.

JBF works to change the story for families like Tamaram’s by training and supporting them to construct a permanent rainwater harvesting tanka. These tankas (unlike the previous kuccha tankas) are built out of stone and cement to maximize the collection and storage of clean and safe water.

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JBF’s program is demand-driven. This means families have to opt-in and contribute to both the cost of materials and the construction process.

Tamaram was tired of seeing his family suffer from the dirty water they were drinking and decided to use his masonry skills from work to partake in JBF’s program and construct a brand new tanka for his family in just 22 days.

Now, with a clean water tanka right in their backyard, Tamaram no longer has to spend his hard earned money on trucking tanker water into his home. Instead, he can save this extra 25-30% of his income each year to help take care of his family.  

For Tamaram’s family, having this tanka is just as important as the food they eat, the clothing they wear, and the house in which they live. It serves as a sustainable source of clean and safe water all year long. And it is an asset that will stay with them for generations to come.

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5 Accounts to #FollowFriday From the Field

Are you tired of “liking” that same picture of avocado toast on Instagram again and again? Well, you’re in luck! In honor of #SocialMediaDay, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite accounts for you to follow to freshen up your feed. Check out these 5 accounts of our local partners in the field to get a first-hand look at how your generosity is being put to work in the field.


1. @pandeyumesh

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From videos of welcome ceremonies in the field to pictures of team dinners back at the office, Umesh’s account offers an exciting behind the scenes look at our work in Nepal. He has been the Director of Nepal Water for Health for 25 years and, so far, has led the organization to bring clean water to over 1.8 million people! In addition to that, he is also an amazing soccer player and a famous Nepali singer! He’s won the national soccer league three times and has even had his songs featured in Nepali movies. If you were looking for a new jack of all trades to follow, Umesh is it.


2. @sisaybiruk

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Sisay has worked in Ethiopia with our local partner REST since 2014. For his first three years there, he was a cluster lead for Wahis Mai, our local maintenance and repair team. His job required him to travel to 4-5 sub districts in Tigray every week and help monitor and conduct repairs and the installation of sensors on charity: water projects. And his favorite mode of transportation? A charity: water yellow motorcycle! Check out his Instagram to see some great shots of him in the field riding through the streets of Tigray repping charity: water every step of the way.


3. @indianajim

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With 40 years of experience in the Central African Republic, Jim Hocking is the founder of our local partner in the CAR, Water for Good. With an extreme passion for Africa, Jim has also worked in the DRC, Cameroon, Chad, South Sudan, and Sierra Leone. If you want to be taken on a photo tour of Sub-Saharan Africa, Jim is the person to follow. From pictures of communities coming together to build water projects to seeing the results afterward, you can follow the entire journey to clean water just by scrolling through his feed.


4. @gebreselassie2

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If you want a true inside look at our work in Tigray, Ethiopia, you need to follow our friend and colleague, Gebreselassie! He is a hydraulic and geotechnical engineer who has more than 20 years of experience in the water sector. And, he’s the only charity: water employee who works directly on the ground every day. You’ll not only get a behind the scenes look at REST’s work in the field, you’ll also get a sneak peak into what goes on during our amazing staff and donor trips to the field! 

Disclaimer: You may or may not find some great dancing videos…


5. @cwyellowthunder

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In 2011, thousands of you joined our September Campaign to fund a drilling rig so our local partners in Ethiopia could drill more wells and bring more people clean water. We promised when the rig was on the ground, we’d track it on a map and show you proof of it in action. And that’s exactly what we did. Now, you can follow our drilling rig, Yellow Thunder, on Twitter and see which communities we’re helping bring clean water to each and every day!


Our partners on the ground are the local heroes who make all our work possible, and we want to make you all feel more connected to them. So click that follow button and add some inspiration to your feed. We promise you won’t regret it!

Our new home in the UK

Since 2006, with the help of more than one million generous supporters, charity: water has funded 23,377 water projects around the world. Enough to bring clean and safe drinking water to over 7.1 million people.

Today, we’re taking a big step toward doing even more.

We are thrilled to announce our official expansion into the UK. By registering as a UK charity, we hope to not only increase awareness for charity: water throughout the UK and Europe but also expand our supporter base and seize more opportunities globally.

Over the past ten years, our UK supporters have done so many amazing things for clean water. Jonny SUP boarded across the English Channel. Jon and Caitlin carried a Jerry Can around on their travels to spark conversations about the water crisis. Eight-year-old Lulu Grace wrote a book and sold it all over the Isle of Man for £10 a copy to raise money for charity: water.

The impact of these incredible supporters has already benefited the lives of so many people around the world. And now they’ll be able to help even more through Gift Aid.

Those living outside the UK may not be aware that donations made by UK taxpayers can be worth 25% more through Gift Aid - an income tax relief designed to benefit charities. Which means when we say 100% of donations will fund clean water projects, that number actually becomes 125% in the UK.

Last week, we celebrated the launch of charity: water UK with a beautiful reception at St. James’s Palace in London, hosted by TRH Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York.


It was truly a special night spent with an incredible group of old friends and new ambassadors. And an amazing start to this new chapter.

We look forward to what the future holds for our new home in the UK with this incredible supporter base by our side. 

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