Global Development Studies

Bringing Clean Water to Vulnerable Communities

by Katia B.

One of the first lessons that was taught in our Global Development class is that it ​is​ and ​can​ be possible to be a ‘real life change-maker’. Now, when you think of what a ‘real life change-maker’ is, you may think of people such as Greta Thunberg or Martin Luther King. But being a ‘real life change-maker’ is not limited to those who are widely renowned.

Mrs. Lavender, my Global Development Studies teacher, taught us that being a changemaker means making the world a better place. If you think about building a staircase; you need to build the first step before the rest follows. With the world entering a time of mass chaos and school moving to an online format, this meant that we ‘real life change-makers’ needed to adapt and find new ways in which we could make a difference. This presented an exciting opportunity for me because I have been passionate about water conservation and sanitation for a while. I started thinking about what I could do. 

Before even taking Global Development Studies, when I was in my sophomore year I made the decision to be a part of the GIN (Global Issues Network) club and this gave me a taste for what Global Development would be about. Being in GIN not only expanded my knowledge of the current water situation around the world, but created opportunities to help those in need of cleaner, more accessible water sources. Since joining GIN, I created my own group called EDC which stands for Every Drop Counts and our mission is to create the most amount of social impact in areas in need of clean and accessible water. Last year, I was fortunate enough to fly to a rural village in southern Yunnan to witness the water crisis up close. In just the span of a week I connected and empathized with those in the village and left Yunnan with a better understanding of the impact of water access. That is why, when I was given the opportunity to create a project around an issue I was passionate about, I knew it had to be connected to water.

At first, I felt conflicted because it seemed there was only so much one could do during this time of COVID social distancing. I couldn’t fly anywhere because the airports were closed. I couldn’t create a walk for water because we couldn’t have large-group gatherings. So, what could I do?

At this time, I became aware of an NGO called Charity Water. Charity Water is an incredible organization that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. They have funded 51,438 water projects for over 11 million people around the world and, because donors cover their operating costs, 100 per cent of donations go right into the field. I became really excited about what Charity Water is doing and started thinking about partnering with them for my GDS plan.

Using our EDC Instagram account, I came up with the idea of a 2020 campaign. It’s the year 2020, of course, and 2020 can refer to clear vision. So I wondered if I could raise $2020 for Charity Water as a way to engage in indirect service and to create awareness online of the need for clean water around the world.

After creating a clear plan, I got started. In just two days, I planned, filmed and launched a video to promote the campaign. In one day we raised a little over $300 and Charity Water even reached out, commending the video and the campaign.


Katia B. is a student of Global Development Studies at Concordia International School Shanghai.