• Written by Mark Charmer
    27 October 2009

New York-based charity:water is probably the hottest campaigning NGO in water right now – and we’re big fans.

We first got to know them earlier this year through our involvement in Twestival, and soon project director Becky Straw wowed everyone at our World Water Forum innovation session, “Thinking outside the water box”, which we hosted in front of about 700 water experts in Istanbul in March. Becky’s presentation was in a different league to anything else – powerful video, focused messages and a strong story. Since then we’ve met Scott Harrison, its charismatic founder, and talked with many of their staff and wider network. In September it was the first charity of any kind, we hear, to pass 1 million followers on Twitter – as of tonight it has 1,102,733 followers. Be in no doubt that charity:water is at the centre of an exciting new generation of water campaigners, centred in the United States.

Photo (above): Becky Straw director of water projects at charity:water, with Ian Thorpe, founder and chief executive of Pump Aid. New York. 15 October 2009.

The guys were kind enough to lend me a corner of their office last Thursday while I was in New York. A Brit-invasion ensued as Ian Thorpe, Pump Aid founder and chief executive also arrived.

charity:water and Pumpaid are partners already, and Pumpaid is one of Akvo’s newest partners – they started using our system just a few weeks ago in their role as lead UK NGO for the Dow Live Earth Run for Water in April 2010.

Check out this video discussion with Becky and Ian if you want to learn more. We talk about why their respective organisations seem to stand out and how they’re working together.

Filmed at the charity:water office. Varick Street, SoHo, New York. 15 October 2009.

Mark Charmer is co-founder of Akvo.