Saturday, February 20, 2010

One Village at a Time

Changing the World

One Village at a Time

Alex Keegan:

My wife works for BT but has been working on secondment with Global-Ethics and One Difference. Global Ethics works by selling products and using all the profits to fund good work in sub-Saharan Africa. Recently Debbie went to see how just £7,000 can transform the life of a community by giving a village access to clean, safe water.

I became interested, not solely because I care, but because I can see a way to raise money, and directly understand the result. Supporting huge charitable organisations is, for me, soulless. They are all, no doubt “worthy” but I have no emotional sense of my money or my effort doing something specific.

I love the simple beliefs of Global Ethics and “One” and I want to raise as many of those £7,000 units as I can. To be able to start with nothing and end with a specific village, real people, and know we have changed lives and saved lives, that is just fantastic.

That’s where the “I” stops. Now about US.

March 22nd is World Water Day, and quite naturally Global Ethics will be holding various events. Here is OUR event, on behalf of G-E and ONE, us, Joe and Jane Soap, getting together to aim to build one pump, two pumps, four pumps, ten.


The idea is simple. It is aimed at both READERS and WRITERS. We want a thousand people to commit to just one 24-Hour effort on March 22nd.

Think, if 1,000 people pledge £7 (the joining fee) we have a Play-Pump. If we get 2,000 people and they raise sponsorship, of, say, £70 each, that would be 22 Play-Pumps, twenty-two villages, thousands, THOUSANDS of people whose lives we change for the better, forever.

HERE’s the DEAL.

Starting at midnight March 21st (00:01 on March 22nd) a group of writers start writing stories. They write one an hour, and they try to stay awake, writing, for as much of the twenty-four hours as they can. Sure many will need to take a break and sleep, but some hardy souls will last the 24 Hours (only the first six hours are tough) helped on their way by the knowledge of what they are achieving, and that they are being read (more on this later) and that at the end of it there will be an anthology of the best work, and their name, their achievement posted in perpetuity.

We have run such “crazy” marathons before raising money for various causes. In one we had a THIRTY hour marathon. Half a dozen hardy souls managed the whole thing and we raised more than ten-thousand pounds.

But that was an impromptu, shoe-string, just-tell-friends congregation. Think how different this could be with Global-Ethics and ONE behind us, and with some truly spectacular prizes for readers and writers.

I am visiting Global-Ethics on Wednesday 24th February to tie-up the prize-structure and some truly wonderful opportunities for supporters of “One Village at a Time” the marathon itself.

What Would You Have to Do?


1 Sign up as soon as possible, pay just £7 to join, direct to G-E or ONE.

2 Tell your friends what you are doing.

3 Beg steal and borrow sponsorship

4 Start at 00:01 and write a story.

5 Continue writing or take breaks, trying to write as much as you can.

6 Post on the Facebook and other forums and be enthusiastic.


1 Sign up as soon as possible, pay just £7 to join, direct to G-E or ONE.

2 Tell your friends what you are doing.

3 Beg steal and borrow sponsorship.

4 Read stories and comment (they will be anonymous)

5 Continue reading or take breaks, trying to read as much as you can.

6 Post on the Facebook and other forums and be enthusiastic.

We are in discussion on the specifics but G-E/ONE will be offering superb prizes in a number of categories, and one will be spectacular, involving shiny airplanes, and crossing the equator.

Visiting one of the villages and seeing the children, seeing them having fun on a play-pump, seeing all that beautiful, clean, safe water… that is a life-changing experience. It could be yours.

The Suggested Categories might be…

Best Story or Stories (General)

Best “African” Story or Stories

Best Poems

Best Motivator, Best Helper

Top Sponsorees

What Do I Say to My Prospective Sponsors?

WRITERS could ask for a fixed amount, or a payment per story, or so much a word, or could ask for so much “per hour I stayed awake.”

READERS could ask for a fixed amount, or a payment per story read, or could ask for so much “per hour I stayed awake.”

Prizes will be funded from Story Fees. I believe prizes are necessary as they give the writers a genuine challenge, a competitive field, and help raise energy levels.

But we want to raise money for the charity, AND have fun.

You raise money for the charity by

(1) Paying the joining fee and
(2) Asking Friends and Family to sponsor you.

If you then are entering a story or stories in the short-story writing competition “in the normal way” you would pay a fee for that, but note ALL entry fees will go to prizes. That is, if we collect £10,000 in entry fees, we will pay out £10,000 in cash or goods.

Payments will go direct to Global-Ethics/ONE

Please note you might write 2, 5, 10 or 24 stories. We hope you would send them all in, but you would NOT be required to enter every story in the competition!

As the maximum theoretically possible would be 24 stories at £5, I would suggest that any writer raising £120 or more in sponsorship would be allowed to enter his/her stories free.

Thus some contestants could raise money in £5 amounts, others raise money by persuading friends to sponsor them.

Prizes and Prize-Giving

This will be arranged, probably in London, by Global-Ethics

Look on Facebook for:

GROUP: One Village at a Time

EVENT: One Village at a Time

Please, only join the group and/or the event if you are prepared to actively participate. Firstly, pay that £7.

Don’t “just join” the group or the event. Putting your name on the list tells us that you are serious and want to build these Water Pumps.

There will be a lot of news forthcoming in the next week. Prizes will be firmed up, the Prize Day will be announced, and details of the anthology will be confirmed.

Please SIGN UP. When you sign up, post your targets as a reader or a writer. Please post and say, “I have signed. I pledge my £7. I will raise sponsorship and I am aiming for £X,XXX
We can build a Play-Pump

We can build another.

We can change the world ONE VILLAGE AT A TIME

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