Climb to raise money for Canadian charity WaterCan
Martina Gannon | Fulcrum Contributor
Illustration by Kelsey Shore
RECENT UNIVERSITY OF Ottawa graduate Brittany Moorcroft is about to embark on the experience of a lifetime. To mark the 25th anniversary of WaterCan, a charity that aims to provide developing nations with clean drinking water, Moorcroft will climb the highest peak in Africa, along with a team of 22 other Canadians, including Ben Mulroney; Tyler and Alex Mifflin, hosts of TVO’s The Water Brothers; and Paul G. Smith, president of VIA Rail. The Fulcrum talked to Moorcroft over email before she left for Africa.
The Fulcrum: What gave you this particular idea for raising money?
Brittany Moorcroft: The project basically fell into my lap—I’d wanted to experience the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for a little while, but wanted to do it for charity as I’d had some experience fundraising in the past and found it really rewarding. WaterCan, an Ottawa clean-water charity who have various clean-water projects in East Africa, are celebrating their 25th anniversary with this “Climb for Life” campaign. Their original goal was $75,000 but has been upped to a quarter of a million as we’ve had so much support. A team of 23 people from across the country are fundraising and travelling to Tanzania to visit WaterCan’s projects and climb Kilimanjaro. For fundraising, I’ve hosted games nights, Pampered Chef parties, and a “Warriors for Water” charity yoga in the park event in Orleans. Support has been great—especially from my family and work. It’s very endearing to see how generous people can be.
Can you talk a bit about why you got involved with WaterCan and why it means so much to you?
It was a fourth-year public relations [PR]course at the U of O that first educated me on the importance of clean water. I’d always known how important it is to conserve, but living in Canada where we are lucky to have access to one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world, clean water is taken for granted. In PR we had to prepare for a mock news conference posing as a clean-water organization—I became an expert on well-digging, Ethiopian coffee farming, and the various risks dirty water poses for people who have to make use of it. Access to clean water has a deeply profound ripple effect—it promotes health, economic growth, gender equality—all good things. In the 25 years WaterCan has been working in East Africa, they have helped more than 1.2 million people with their programs. But 780 million people worldwide still lack access to clean water and basic sanitation. It’s a solvable problem.
What will completing this climb mean to you and your cause?
It will mean I completed a huge personal challenge I’ve set up for myself. When I graduated from the U of O, I felt a little stunted, like I had no one challenging me anymore, so my friend and I began giving each other weird little challenges like not complaining for a week or finally learning to cartwheel. That morphed into real goals we’d set for ourselves, like learning to rock climb. One day I said, “I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity.” A year and a bit later, I’m actually doing it. To have this experience, I consider myself really, really lucky. I can’t wait to see the immediate and long-term effects clean water will have on communities in need.
Moorcroft will depart for Tanzania on Oct. 11. Follow her climb at kiliclimbforlife.tumblr.com, and donate to her at give.watercan.com/goto/brittany