23/03/2015 08:33 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:59 BST

Worthy Successor to Ice Bucket Challenge

Matt Damon famously used toilet water. Many other celebrities from Victoria Beckham to Justin Timberlake just used iced water. Like or loathe it last years ice bucket challenge has been one of the most successful global fundraising events ever, generating over £78million for charity. But what should be the successor to the challenge? World Water Day this Sunday provides an ideal time to find one. So here's a simple idea. Instead of pouring good drinking water over our heads could we instead donate the cost of a still bottle of water to help the 750million people in the world who don't have access to clean water?


The idea was so simple - take a bucket of water, fill it with ice cubes and then dump it over your head. Then nominate friends and family to undertake the same challenge. And millions of people did exactly that. To date there have been over 2.4million ice bucket-related videos posted on Facebook and 28million people have uploaded, commented on or liked ice bucket-related posts. (1)

The stunt was originally intended to raise money and awareness for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association in the United States. Its British equivalent, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, has also benefited hugely. In the UK the ice bucket challenge reached a peak in August last year after David Beckham took part and now the hunt is on for what would be a worthy successor.

The current favourite in the US is the Twizzler challenge. You're meant to start eating from each end and them meet in the middle with a 'smooch'. Maybe in the UK we could use a twiglet instead and, being British, peck each other quickly. But without wishing to pour cold water on the idea I can't see that catching on here. (2)

So instead why don't we find a successor to the Ice Bucket Challenge which uses water wisely instead of simply throwing it away? In most developed countries we take access to safe drinking water for granted. Yet in many poor countries around the world one in nine people don't have that luxury and each year more than 840,000 people die from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes (3).

At Emerge Poverty Free, we're trying to improving the lives of people in countries like Uganda and South Sudan by providing them with access to water services. By investing just £1 in water we can see a massive economic return in terms of healthier lives.

For example we funded the building of a borehole at the Amokogee Primary School in Uganda.

After the borehole was operational, the school saw an increase in attendance from 490 to 607 - with the attendance rate for girls going up the most. Previously as the girls got older they dropped out of their studies, one of the main reasons being the lack of sanitation facilities, particularly essential during their periods. Now the school is full again.

That's why this World Water Day we're asking everyone who has the luxury to pour clean water over their head to instead consider donating the cost of a still bottle of water to someone who really needs it. Unlike kissing a twiglet it could help to save millions of lives. (4)