“VR is an empathy machine” – Scott Harrison of charity:water on release of new film

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So, VR is transforming charity?

This morning Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water took Centre Stage in jeans and a t-shirt- far from the typical charity founder stereotype. charity:water have helped 5,500,000 people get clean water so far.

Scott Harrison on Centre Stage

charity:water is changing the rules of nonprofits and reinventing how charity works.

It has attracted support from the tech world’s leading founders, like Jack Dorsey. It has tapped into a younger donor base using viral video and partnering with YouTube celebrities, used GPS mapping and real-time donor updates.

Scott admitted that so far he has only been able to bring a couple of hundred people on his trips to Ethiopia.

He plans to change this through the incredibly powerful tool of virtual reality. By people putting on a headset and stepping into someone else’s story.


charity:water shot its first VR documentary a couple of months ago. Scott announced that he will release a film in the next month here.

“VR is an empathy machine, when used in the right way,” he said.

Scott urges us to use this tech for good.

September Campaign 2014 – The Sahel Region from charity: water on Vimeo.

This particular piece of work follows the story of 13 year old Selam.

“On Monday you’re standing with Selam at a dirty watering hole. You share that water with cattle.

“On Tuesday you walk for hours from Selam’s house for water.

“On Wednesday you hear the sound of heavy machinery. Trucks drive past you towards Selam’s village.

“On Thursday you see the locals putting pipes into the ground. You don’t know what’s happening.

“It’s Friday. Nothing is coming out of the rig. But in one moment, clean water begins to shoot and spew out of the ground.

Scott divulged that in the coming months charity:water will tell more stories. He will show more and more people what it might be like walking 8 hours to get water on Tuesday.

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