Charitable startup: Scott Harrison’s mission to solve Africa’s water problem

by MMC
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With his money, Ndahayo builds himself a house – an impressive one-story structure that, once ready, will allow him to move out of his parents’ house and get married. And with his newfound time, he started a carpentry business, making door frames, tables and chairs.

Chief Iyamuremye is extremely proud of these positive developments in his village. He even points out that the local banana beer brewer also benefits from having water on his doorstep – although you can see he is slightly less comfortable with the effects of this than with the carpentry. “Scott disrupts charity by rethinking its foundations,” Dorsey says. “And applying it to fundamental questions that solve many problems, not just one. He realizes that to truly change something, you have to change yourself, and in this case, the organization you’re building .to track its effects across the world, but how charities should be managed.”

Some observers have suggested that Harrison’s project risks becoming a victim of its own disruption, as other charities follow its model of online engagement with donors.

But Dorsey ignores Harrison’s criticism. “The only thing we can say is that those who hate will hate,” he says. “This is a short-sighted view that assumes that organizations are not constantly evolving or trying to improve. Scott is building a

large-scale platform and technology.

But others see limits to the model. “Charity:water is our largest donor,” says Doug Spencer, director of resource development at Water for People, Charity:water’s Rwandan partner, which built the network in Gitambi. “They’re helping us address a market that we don’t have the bandwidth to capture. But I think Scott’s program will have a shelf life. It will become tedious and young people will start to become skeptical because they’re bombarded online. not just Scott. His space is getting a lot more competitive. “It’s true,” says Aaron Shaddy, who donated $500 to the charity:water last year after hearing Harrison speak at tech festival in Big Omaha in the United States. “If everyone can communicate their messages, it will be harder for donors to make a decision.” But, says the 41-year-old, Harrison is the kind of person who will meet this challenge with ease.” He will probably disrupt things further between now and then. You just have to keep raising the bar on disruption.”

Dorsey agrees. “Five years from now,” he says, “Scott will still be working hard to improve the world.”

David Baker edited The wired world in 2013*, the essential guide for the year to come, available now in paper and tablet edition*

A torrent of ideas: four innovative ways to make charity work: water Rename Birthday Scott Harrison raised money by throwing a birthday party, charging $20 (£12) entry. He invested the profits in drinking water wells in Uganda. Now others can create a fundraising birthday page and ask for donations instead of gifts.

Tell stories

Harrison believes in the power of visual stories. At, you can scroll through slideshows showing videos, maps, text and photos of clean water wells and taps that donations to the charity helped build.


Visitors to can see how much money is being raised in real time, and donors know exactly how their money is being spent, right down to the GPS coordinates of the specific project their contribution contributed to.

100% charitable To ensure that all donations go towards water projects rather than operating costs, Charity:Water has two bank accounts isolated from each other. Investors contribute to the operational fund, donors give to the charitable fund.

Pass It On: The Pay It Forward Model Explained

Make a donation for your friends Supporters are asked to donate $10 each on behalf of their friends.

Friends are then informed via social networks.

Maintain the chain Friends are encouraged not to let the chain stop with them, but to in turn make their own $10 donations to their friends.

Go viral The donors and their channels are profiled in an online book run by the charity:water’s WaterForward project.

This article was originally published by WIRED UK

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