Putting Down Your Smartphone for Ten Minutes Can Help Get Clean Water to a Child in Need

2009_03_tap_projectSome creative campaigns have been popping up around the idea of breaking our all-encompassing smartphone habit; brands from Coca-Cola to Ikea have touted the importance of being present in our non-virtual lives. Now, UNICEF is giving us a tangible reason to step away from our phones for a few minutes (in case reconnecting with loved ones, nature, and the real world in general weren’t compelling enough prospects).

As part of its annual “Tap Project” effort to bring clean drinking water to those most in need, UNICEF, in partnership with Droga5 and MediaVest, has launched a new campaign via its website UnicefTapProject.org. When you visit the site on your mobile phone, you’ll be able to follow a few simple instructions on how to proceed. Once you begin, for every minute that you don’t touch your phone, the project’s sponsors will fund clean water for needy kids worldwide. Just ten minutes of inactivity is enough to provide one day’s worth of water.

If you are tempted to quit, a peek at your screen will help keep you motivated; statistics about everything from the number of people in the world without clean water to the phone-ignoring record currently held by someone in your state will flash across your screen. For instance, I was just informed that I have four minutes left until I’ve helped fund a day’s worth of water, and that I am in 243rd place in the state of MA.

A mobile app with the same purpose is in beta testing and will be available on March 1.