Every day, women and children in developing countries must walk miles just to obtain enough water to live from day to day. These hours-long journeys reduce economic productivity, make it difficult for children to go to school, and since water points are not necessarily sanitary, increase the risk of waterbourne illness.

Where I live in the United States, a ‘long walk’ for water is the two minutes it takes to get from my desk to the water machine which dispenses clean, fresh water at no cost to me.

So this week we’re challenging AWF supporters to become more aware of their water usage by hosting ‘A Walk in Her Shoes Penny Fundraiser’. It takes 84,480 pennies lined up to make a mile, so why not collect a mile’s worth of pennies in honor of those who make this journey every day?

Further, what if we focus on just how much water we use every day by committing to donate a token amount for that usage. A penny for a cup of coffee, a dime for a flush of a toilet, a quarter for the dishwasher or a shower? The average American uses 100-176 gallons of water every day. The average African family? Five.

Are you in?

If so, here’s a quick guide to starting your own penny fundraiser at home, at work, or wherever your travels may take you.

1) Check out AWF’s ‘Mile in Her Shoes’ kit, which is packed with water facts, fundraising ideas, lesson plans, and much more. This will give you all the info you need to move ahead with your own fundraiser!

2) Find some containers. You don’t need anything special – a glass, pitcher, or vase will do. Print out African Well Fund labels so everyone knows exactly what the collection is for, and tape or otherwise affix them on to your containers.

glasses.JPG3) Put your containers somewhere visible. If you’re at work, this might mean a kitchen or break-room. At home, perhaps next to your coffee maker is a good bet.

glasses2.JPGAre you committed to going fully virtual? AWF has started a Crowdrise for ‘Walk in Her Shoes’. Start a team, drum up support on your blog, family e-mail newsletter, or Facebook, and go to town!

4) PROFIT! Or, well, not quite. Spread the word – let your co-workers know what you’re raising money for and why it’s important. Tell your kids why you’re scrounging for loose change whenever you go to get a glass of water.

5) Then, profit. Count up those pennies (and maybe nickels and dimes!) and make a donation to African Well Fund. There are a number of options available on our website.

Just make sure to note you’re participating in the ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ fundraiser.

Ready, set… go!