Fitness & Health

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Kanon Clifford hopes to raise $5,000 for WaterCan

Photo courtesy of Kanon Clifford

On a regular day, Kanon Clifford is a fourth-year political science and economics student at the University of Ottawa. But this March, he plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and funds for WaterCan, a local charity that helps the world’s poorest people gain access to clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education. Clifford is halfway to his fundraising goal of $5,000 and is excited to travel to Tanzania in a month and half.

The Fulcrum: What inspired you to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Kanon Clifford: I’ve been volunteering for the past year, eight months to be exact, with a charity called WaterCan. They are actually just based out of Sandy Hill and I live right around the corner, so it’s easy to walk to and from. I wanted to volunteer my time.

Why did WaterCan choose Mount Kilimanjaro?  

It’s their second year doing this. They climb Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for clean water initiatives in eastern Africa. They picked this mountain for the second year because they were so successful raising funds last year. I think next year they will do a different mountain, maybe Everest. They pick the mountain, I pick to climb.

What do you hope to accomplish?

To finish my degree after this year and I just hope to achieve greater awareness for the cause, for WaterCan, help raise funds, and to continue on volunteering afterwards.

What sacrifices did you give up to train, and how is training going?

Training is going good. I wake up every morning — I was on the rowing team last year so I am used to early mornings — waking up at four. I can ease it off this year; I wake up at six and do cardio. I gave up a lot of study time and potential time with my family.

How will the money be used? 

The money doesn’t go to me or the charity itself. It goes directly towards the initiative-taking place. They go to local communities, they set up the clean water sanitization units — wells and draining systems for sewage — and they train people to deal with the pumps so they can maintain them. So we don’t have to go back when everything is set in place.

What is your personal goal to raise for the charity?

My personal goal is $5,000. At this point, I am waiting for a few more cheques from businesses but I am halfway there.

How much money will you be putting into this charity? 

At this point in time, I’ve put in $100 to get myself going but I’ve been taking collections and donations from family and friends.

How is this event relevant to you? 

I consider myself a fairly active person and I want to help raise awareness for the charity. I thought it would be a great way to use my activeness to climb a mountain.

How do you think this event is relevant to other students who want to give to this charity?

I think it can help raise awareness at local charities that are trying to achieve these things. You always hear about Greenpeace being from Canada as well, or a bunch of other organizations. I think it’s a great local chance to get students involved. It’s just a walk away from campus if you are looking to help.