Global Water Foundation Established to Aid Worldwide Water and Health Initiatives
July 6, 2006
GLOBAL WATER FOUNDATION ESTABLISHED TO AID
WORLDWIDE WATER AND HEALTH INITIATIVES
Superstars of Sports and Entertainment Join Campaign
To Raise International Awareness and Funding
WIMBLEDON (July 6, 2006) - Today in London, the sports and entertainment celebrity spotlight shone on a new worldwide organization dedicated to ensuring that every human community has access to clean, sanitary water. A host of international tennis icons gathered at Wimbledon to introduce the Global Water Foundation (GWF), recently founded by two-time Australian Open Champion and defending Wimbledon Senior Doubles Champion Johan Kriek.
Kriek, a native of South Africa, created the GWF after attending meetings of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town last year. Visiting schools and communities in impoverished nations and witnessing the conditions firsthand prompted him to act and enlist some high-profile friends in the sports and entertainment industry for help.
"I was taken by the sense of urgency expressed by world leaders to find solutions to the problem, not only in Africa but other parts of the developing world," said Kriek. "A source of healthy water is a fundamental right to everyone on earth, and there is so much the international community can do to help where the need is greatest."
Tennis legends John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Jim Courier, and other sports superstars including Olympic swimmers Aaron Peirsol, Janet Evans, Kate Ziegler and Tara Kirk have pledged their support to serve as "Clean Water Ambassadors" in order to deliver the message of the GWF to a worldwide audience.
Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa with offices in Springwood, Australia; Naples, Florida and Raleigh, North Carolina, the goals of the GWF echo those established at the United Nations-sponsored Millennium Development Summit in 2000. At the summit, world leaders agreed to a set of measurable goals for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. Central to these goals is the challenge of ensuring the right of all to have access to clean water and sanitation.
The GWF will raise public awareness, contribute technical assistance and fund programs to improve water quality and provide adequate sanitation in schools, rural areas and other communities across developing nations. Initial efforts will focus on training, mobilization and education in regions of Africa where the need is most critical.
Celebrity activism has directed international attention to areas of the world stricken by drought, famine and AIDS, stimulating grassroots awareness and program funding. But Kriek said his organization should not be seen as another face in the crowd of international aid groups already involved in relief efforts.
"The intent of the GWF is not to duplicate the work already undertaken by well-established organizations," Kriek said. "Rather, it is to complement those services in areas where it is needed most, and offering solutions through innovation, entrepreneurship and education."
In addition to introducing the GWF and highlighting the sports community's support for the foundation, the press event at Wimbledon today also unveiled the foundation's plans for a series of massive ‘Live Aid'style concerts over the next several years to bring worldwide awareness to the international clean water crisis.
Steve Luongo, legendary drummer, vocalist and record producer for the John Entwistle Band (of The Who fame), and an experienced hand at staging large-scale concert events, has already begun assembling an all-star rock ‘n' roll lineup for the foundation's first benefit concert in 2007.
"Our biggest task is waking people up to the problem," said Luongo. "and we're going to do it with good, old-fashioned rock ‘n' roll."
Other awareness-building strategies the GWF is planning include a worldwide "Walk for Water" where participants will walk four miles; the average distance an African woman walks each day to get buckets of often-unsanitary water for her family. The GWF will also coordinate a fundraiser event during the 2006 U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York later this summer, and is planning an internationally broadcast musical telethon.
Along with Johan Kriek, GWF's founding directors are Minnie Hildebrand, Director for Africa, Joe Cox Director for America, as well as Leigh Peric, Director for Australia and Program Manager for GWF projects in Uganda. The non-executive members for GWF's South African Section 21 company along with Kriek, Hildebrand and Peric are Dr Darren Saywell (UK), Professor Eugene Cloete (SA) and Mr. Godfrey Mbala (Cameroon). The GWF currently has plans to open its European office in Holland.
About the Global Water Foundation
The Global Water Foundation was established as a charitable trust with the exclusive purpose of raising public awareness, providing technical assistance, supporting knowledge sharing, enabling technical innovation and research, and facilitating the provision of humanitarian aid throughout the developing world. The ultimate goal is to provide safe, healthy drinking water and adequate sanitation in areas where it is not available or where accessibility and supply have been compromised. For more information, visit our Web site at www.globalwaterfoundation.org.
# # #
Return to Media Center