WaterAid’s Untapped wins major global fundraising award

Posted by
Sam Taylor
11 September 2018
Image: WaterAid/Nana Kofi Acquah

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WaterAid and GOOD Agency have won the best global fundraising and advocacy campaign at the 2018 Campaigns for Good Awards for their outstanding, innovative Untapped appeal. The campaign, launched last November, raised a staggering £4.2 million that was matched by the UK Government to take the total above £8 million. 

Untapped told the story of one Sierra Leonean community’s journey to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. Pioneering interactive technology connected the people of Tombohuaun with the UK public. Supporters were able to experience everyday life in Tombohuaun through a Facebook Messenger chatbot, while a designated website provided a 360-degree view of the village. Some residents even made YouTube tutorials to share recipes and dance moves.  
Adverts - on television, taxis, escalator panels and cinema screens - supported the campaign. WaterAid teamed up with PR agency Tin Man to stage a striking memorial by the River Thames, with 800 multi-coloured buckets providing a stark reminder that 800 children’s lives are lost every day because of dirty water. WaterAid Ambassadors, including Nadiya Hussain and Rachel Stevens urged the public to 'buy a bucket' and donate to #Untapped.”

The charity also worked with KRPT to bring the faces and voices of Tombohuaun to life via 3D tree-projections on London’s Southbank while grime artists and spoken word poets performed freestyles on the spot.

The campaign’s activities and sector-leading digital experience attracted 430 million views combined. Judges praised Untapped for its “brilliant use of personal storytelling and new technology to provide experience and outstanding results”. 

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

“With the support of UK aid, Water Aid’s Untapped appeal will reach communities in Sierra Leone and Mozambique, giving them safe access to water and sanitation facilities in their homes and schools. 

“This vital work has only been possible through the generosity of the great British public, every donation they have made has been matched, pound for pound by the UK Government, meaning we have doubled the difference the public have made to those most in need.”

Marcus Missen, WaterAid’s Director of Communications & Fundraising, said: 

“We’re so proud of Untapped. This was a real team effort, with staff from across our organisation working together, along with GOOD Agency, to create one of our most ambitious and innovative campaigns yet. Through new technology and the power of storytelling, Untapped has connected communities thousands of miles apart, raising awareness of our work as well as an astonishing sum of money.  
We have a responsibility to reflect the severity of the global water crisis: globally 1 in 9 people still lack clean water, while 1 in 3 do not have access to a decent toilet. However, it is vital that we focus on the possibility for progress and change. The campaign’s greatest achievement has been providing clean water and fresh hope to Tombohuaun. We want to continue unleashing untapped potential.” 

Hanisha Kotecha, Deputy Managing Director at GOOD Agency, said:  

“Working with WaterAid to create Untapped was hugely rewarding. The clients were brave and ambitious, and we pushed each other to deliver a campaign that challenged the status quo in International Development fundraising.” 


Watch what happened when clean water arrived in Tombohuaun, in Sierra Leone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYdOOJm0fuc  
For more information, please contact: 
Sam Taylor, Media Team Assistant, at [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 5068; or Laura Crowley, PR Manager, [email protected] or +44 (0)207 793 4965. Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552 or email [email protected] 


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 34 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org/uk, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • 844 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have clean water close to home.[1]

  • 2.3 billion people in the world – almost one in three – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]

  • Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]

  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]

  • Just £24 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

  • To find out if countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, see the online database www.WASHwatch.org


[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] washwatch.org

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] www.wateraid.org/uk