In 2013, Chris Long, defensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles, went to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and afterward, he ran into Joe Buck and Doug Pitt in a hotel bar. Pitt, Brad Pitt’s brother and the Goodwill Ambassador to Tanzania, along with Buck had gone to Tanzania to build a sustainable water well as part of the initiatives of WorldServe International, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to East African countries. According to the Waterboys.org website, their discussion focused on the issue of water scarcity and by the time Long returned home, he had made the decision to create an organization to support the efforts of WorldServe International. Established in 2015, the organization aimed to build 32 sustainable deep borehole wells in Tanzania, each well representing a team in the NFL. At a cost of $45,000, the wells serve up to 7,500 people. In February of 2018, that goal was realized, helping “more than 204,000 people gain access to a healthier, more productive way of life.”
Waterboys.org emphasizes the effects of limited access to water, something most of us in the United States take for granted. When water is not readily accessible, families must make water collection a priority, often forcing children, especially girls, to forego school. Water, once accessed, is often bacteria-laden and causes diseases that, according to the website, are responsible for 1 out of 5 deaths of children under the age of 5 and for 50% of people hospitalized. Waterboys.org hopes to provide long-term access to water which results in improved agriculture, increased time for families to dedicate to other activities, such as selling goods or learning new skills, decreased mortality rates and expanded access to education for all children.
Now that the original goal has been achieved, the organization has reached out to the NBA to join the effort, and the new goal is to “provide access to clean drinking water for 1 million people worldwide.”
 “Our Mission.” Waterboys, waterboys.org/mission/.
Photo Credit: Mitchpa1984, Flickr