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Concert benefits clean water access throughout the world

Oct 04, 2017 03:20PM ● Published by Keyra Kristoffersen

A night of music to benefit clean water sustainability throughout the world with local Utah artists. (Jennifer Roberts)

On Oct. 28, the Libby Gardner Concert Hall at the University of Utah will host a score of Utah’s musical talent in the hopes of drawing attention to the need for clean water access all around the world.

“There are over a billion people in the world that don’t have access to clean water, and there are about 3.4 million people every year that die because they don’t have that clean water, and that has kind of a ripple effect of other negative impacts, waterborne illnesses, sanitation, lack of water in dry season to keep things growing,” said Jennifer Roberts of WHOLives, a South Jordan based, nonprofit that is looking to help get clean, sustainable water to every corner of the earth using a human-powered, self-propelled drill that can be easily transported by truck or canoe to different areas not usually accessible.

WHO stands for Water, Health and Opportunity, and the organization has been recognized and awarded internationally for its work to bring sustainability, rather than dependence to people around the world in need of access to clean water. John Renouard, the founder and president, was presented with the Red Cross Hero Award for the work that’s being done. In the last three years, WHOLives has more than 1,200 water points in more than 25 different countries, bringing water to more than 1.2 million people. 

“It really can fix the world water crisis,” said Roberts. “We often say that WhoLives is the leading technology in the fight against poverty because it really does all begin with clean water. It allows economic opportunities to people. Prosperity can begin to take hold in the lives of people.”

Roberts notes that part of that prosperity is the opportunity to bypass the often seven-hour constant journey back and forth that young girls are charged with to bring mostly dirty water to their families throughout the day. With the drill, that process is cut to a fraction, allowing them the chance to spend that time in school learning, gaining social development skills and reclaiming their childhood.

In 2016, an average of one well a day was dug by a village drill in more than 25 countries such as India, Vanuatu and others in Africa and South America. This year, WHOLives is hoping to double that number and go beyond it. The drills that go out are owned and operated by an active drilling team, local team of entrepreneurs, hospital or school which, Roberts said, isn’t traditionally how it has been done with clean water. Normally, water is brought in through funding or a gift but, when the system breaks, it tends to stay broken and the source of water is cut off because there just isn’t the funding or expertise to fix it. The WHOLives sustainability model insists that certain economic opportunities must be in place before the drill is put in to ensure that the water will continue being accessible to the community. Not enough water isn’t the problem, said Roberts; it’s not having reasonable access to clean water that is the problem.

“The goal for this concert is to continue that mission,” said Roberts.

With the sponsorship from Gary Young of Young Living, all the proceeds from the concert, donations and ticket sales will go directly toward funding global water projects as well as helping local refugees who have resettled in Utah with a scholarship gift. Raffle and auction prizes are also part of the program. 

“We’re going to put on an amazing show and inspire the audience to help,” said Roberts, “It’s going to be a special, unforgettable evening.”

Artists include Dallyn Vail Bayles, the One Voice Children’s Choir, Stephen Beus and more. Seats are limited. To purchase tickets, go to www.wholivesevent.org.

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