The Water4 Foundation, a charity based out of Oklahoma City, has announced the launch of its campaign for World Water Day, the United Nations-designated international day held annually on March 22.

Celebrities such as actress Jennie Garth (90210), former Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy have joined in to raise awareness for the campaign, which kicked off with the opening of the World Water Day Photo Contest, held in partnership with World Vision.

People across the country will have a chance to learn more about the global clean water crisis and Water4’s role in combatting it through a series of initiatives the organization is supporting on and leading up to World Water Day, when co-founder Richard Greenly will be a featured panelist at the UN Headquarters in New York during The Infopoverty World Conference 2012 on March 22nd. In addition to the photo contest, Water4 will also hold a World Water Day Open House and support the Anabel Reid Run for Water.

“World Water Day is a moment for all of us in the water and sanitation sector to join forces and highlight the progress being made, as well as reaffirm our commitment to the work that remains to be done,” said Greenly. “By bringing innovative techniques and a business-based approach to our projects and partners in places like Togo, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Haiti, we’ve made significant strides toward helping to address the world’s water crisis.”

Starting in 1993, World Water Day has focused attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. One in eight people across the globe lack access to clean water and 4,100 children die each day from problems related to unclean drinking water, making the issue one of the world’s leading humanitarian crises. Furthermore, drought still ranks as the single most common cause of severe food shortages in developing countries.

As part of its efforts to bring attention to this crisis, Water4 has launched its World Water Day Photo Contest, which encourages people to submit a creative photo showing how much water it takes to produce an everyday food item. Water4 and World Vision, which will partner with Water4 on the contest, will accept submissions through March 23, 2012, after which Water4 ambassador Jennie Garth (90210) will judge the winning photo. More information on the contest can be found on Water4’s Facebook page.

“I am so proud to be able to support World Water Day and the work that the Water4 Foundation is doing around the world, helping to bring clean water to children and families in need,” said Garth. “Often we forget how important clean water is for so many things— such as health, education, empowerment of women, food security— and this World Water Day we hope to raise awareness of its impact and encourage people to help in any way they can.”

The global clean water crisis has drawn many to support World Water Day and the work of Water4 and other organizations. “Having been to Africa and experienced firsthand how clean drinking water can change lives, I’m continually reminded of what a gift clean water is,” said Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. “It’s important to spread the message of World Water Day and the great strides that organizations like Water4 are making towards ensuring that everyone has access to something so simple yet so necessary.”

“My mom instilled in me as a young kid the importance of giving back,” said Roy Williams, former Dallas Cowboys safety and current sideline reporter for University of Oklahoma football games. “I’ve been honored to travel to countries in need and personally lend a hand, but even supporting Water4 and World Water Day from right here in America can go a long way towards saving children around the world.”

The Water4 Foundation will also support the Anabel Reid Run for Water, a fundraising event taking place at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas on March 23-24, 2012 that will honor the memory of Anabel Reid, an ACU student passionate about charity and mission work who was involved with the Water4 Foundation before she passed away on November 4, 2011. Proceeds from the run will benefit the Water4 Anabel Reid Memorial Fund.

Finally, those local to the Oklahoma City area will have a chance to see for themselves the unique Water4 approach that has helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world gain access to clean water when Water4 holds its World Water Day Open House at its facilities. Visitors are invited to tour the facility and watch a drilling demonstration.

Find out more here.

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