Monday, March 22 is World Water Day. If you’re reading this on a laptop, tablet or phone, that’s probably news to you. You might not even know World Water Day is a thing. That is because you are one turn of the spigot away from all the fresh, clean water you could ever need or want. You might even have a cool fixture or two, one of those modern-art sinks that look like mini-waterfalls or a shower with multiple heads that soak you from every angle. In that environment, it’s hard to imagine hundreds of millions of people around the world who not only don’t have running water, but who don’t even have access to a freshwater well.
Throughout Africa and other parts of the world, young people – mostly women and school-aged girls – walk miles carrying clay jars on their shoulders and heads to retrieve enough water for their families for a day. Those women don’t go to school, don’t learn to read, and never dream of a better life. They fetch water, as their neighbors do, as their ancestors have always done.
World Water Day is about bringing those people into your fully plumbed, temperature-regulated home. And the person who is doing that is LPGA Hall of Fame member Betsy King, the founder of Golf Fore Africa.
As part of World Water Day, Golf Fore Africa is hosting a virtual event on Zoom at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday with LPGA Tour players Amy Olson, Mo Martin and Kendall Dye. You can sign up to participate here:
“As part of that call, we’re announcing that Golf Fore Africa is pledging $5 million to World Vision in the next three years as part of finishing the job in Zambia,” King said. “By 2030 the goal is to have clean water everywhere (World Vision) works all around the world. So, they started doing it country by country. Rwanda is the first. They’ll be finished there sometime next year. They have all the funding in place. And Zambia is the next country they’ll be completing.
“In addition to bringing water to individuals, they are bringing water to 350 schools and 125 health clinics (in Zambia). The clinics themselves serve over a million people. For our part, we’re funding about 12% of the work going on there.
“I’m pretty excited. It’s neat to be part of something where there is a finish line,” King said. “So many times, you feel like you’re supporting causes forever. Not that we won’t continue to support clean water causes, but it’s nice to say that we will eventually finish the job in Zambia.”
In the past, King would host several pro-ams and clinics around the country to support her cause. But, as happened with everyone, COVID-19 changed the model. Still, the continued help and support of players like Olson, Martin and Dye have kept the water flowing.
“Amy, Mo and Kendall have been great supporters,” King said. “Mo has funded five wells through her family and friends and social media. And she’s going to continue to do that. She hasn’t been to Africa with us so it’s neat that she has continued to support us in such a big way.
“Amy has been to Africa with us. Last year at the U.S. Women’s Open when she wore the toboggan hat with the Golf Fore Africa logo (in the final round), we sold a lot of those after that. She has also brought a lot of awareness to Golf Fore Africa and is partnering with Austad, a sporting goods store in the Midwest based in Sioux Falls. Their goal is to raise $100,000. They’ve already funded one mechanized (well) system (for a Zambian village) and they hope to fund two more this year. They’re doing that with golf events and some in-store events.
“Kendall’s goal is to raise $150,000 for a baby-wash project to provide clean water to a healthcare center and also build a maternity ward and provide training for the mothers.”
It is a magnificent cause, one in which King is fully devoted. Events like the Zoom call and in the future, her pro-ams, are what energize her. But seeing the faces of villagers in Africa as the first stream of water pours from a well reinforces that this is now her calling.
“(World Vision) has already impacted one and a half million people (in Zambia) and will eventually be impacting two and half million,” King said. “The goal is to impact over 50 million people by 2030. But we still have a lot of work. About 40% of Zambia still lacks access to clean water. That’s why we’re doing things like the Zoom meetup. We need to keep our name out there. We need to continue to let people know.”For more information, visit: www.GolfForeAfrica.org