Annual “Build a Well for Bono’s Birthday” Campaign Among Efforts
WASHINGTON, DC, May 10, 2007 — When the founders of the African Well Fund, inspired by the rock musician and activist, Bono, began their search for a charity to carry out their vision to bring clean water to Africa, they looked no farther than Africare.
“It was a perfect match,” noted African Well Fund founder Julie Cook. “We decided to work with Africare because it was well established and highly reputable. They also have their own offices in many African countries and can provide us feedback on wells and water projects built from our donations.”
“This is a fine example of a mutually beneficial partnership,” agrees Africare President Julius E. Coles. Water resource development is considered one of Africare’s core program areas, along with food security and agriculture, health and HIV/AIDS, environmental conservation, microenterprise, civil society development, governance and emergency humanitarian aid. Through water projects, Africare helps to increase water supplies, enhance water distribution systems and improve water-related sanitation throughout Africa. That work includes the construction of large-scale irrigation systems, village-level sanitation infrastructure and… wells.
Since 2003, the African Well Fund has partnered with Africare to bring clean water to remote communities in Africa. The combined efforts have brought wells and sanitation systems to villages every region of Sub-Saharan Africa — stretching as far southeast as Zimbabwe and as far northwest as Sierra Leone. To date, including 2007 gifts, the African Well Fund has donated close to $302,000 to Africare to fulfill its aims.
“Every year, I am overwhelmed by the generosity and contributions of African Well Fund donors,” noted Coles. “They are a vibrant group of people: humanitarians inspired by Bono and driven by their dream to see basic necessities like water available for people in Africa. Those dreams are becoming a reality — in part, because of the African Well Fund’s efforts.”
Among those efforts is the Fund’s annual drive to “Build a Well for Bono’s Birthday.” From March 22 through May 6, the African Well Fund invites U2 fans and others who are inspired by Bono’s tireless activism on behalf of Africa to make a donation in honor of his May 10 birthday. Donations from the 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 birthday campaigns totaled over $80,000. Donations honoring Bono’s 2007 birthday are still coming in (for more information or to donate, visit http://www.africanwellfund.org/Bono-Well-2007.html). This past September, two African Well Fund members traveled to Africa to see wells built by those previous birthday fundraisers: there is video from the trip at youtube.com or the trip blog from AWF’s visit to Africa for more information.
Africare has launched water projects in Angola, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe with support from the African Well Fund since 2003. The most recent was a $22,000 project, which launched in February 2007 in Ntungamo, Uganda. That project will construct or re-install 15 water wells, serving 6,000 community members.
“We are so grateful for the contributions from donors over the past five years,” noted the African Well Fund’s Cook. “We hope that this is just the beginning of many more to come.”
The African Well Fund (AWF) is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising funds for building and maintaining wells in Africa. It was formed in October 2002 by a group of U2 fans, inspired by the media coverage of Bono’s May 2002 trip to Africa with then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill. “Struck by the relatively low cost of building a well and the enormous difference that a well can make in the life of a village,” states AWF literature, “we were convinced that raising the money to build a well was an easily achievable goal.” It was from this conviction that the African Well Fund was born. For more information, visit www.africanwellfund.org.