If You Can Stay Off Your Phone For 10 Freaking Minutes, Kids In Need Will Get Clean Water

This new Tap Project app challenges you to raise money for World Water Month by staying away from your smartphone.

Last year, UNICEF’s Tap Project and agency Droga5 challenged you to turn your Facebook network into a fundraising network to help provide clean water to people in need. Now, for the eighth annual Tap Project in support of World Water Month, they’re challenging you to see how long you can go without checking your social network status or anything else on your smartphone.


Just access the app, created with Modern Assembly, and put your phone down. For every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone, sponsor Giorgio Armani will help provide one day of clean water for a child in need. Go for a short run and that’s three days right there. It’s a campaign purpose-built for a time when clicking a Like button is considered an act of activism, and illustrates the gulf between those of us who spend time Instagramming our lunch and the 768 million people elsewhere in the world without access to clean drinking water.

Living in North America, it’s almost impossible to feel what it’s like to be without clean water. For Droga5 creatives Brian Moore and Johan Gerdin the challenge was to find a way to provide perspective on the issue. Seeing as we have all the clean water we need, the app cuts access off from something else we deem vital to daily life. “We couldn’t obviously make it one-to-one and disconnect people from their water supply,” says Moore. “[But] we’re more addicted to our smartphones than ever before and definitely take them for granted.”

The goal is to inspire users to reflect on the issue and our own all-you-can-drink reality. “Putting yourself in the shoes of someone else is hard, especially when they’re a child halfway across the globe,” says Gerdin. “Taking something away from yourself at the very least allows you to reflect. One of the reasons why the UNICEF Tap Project continues to resonate with people is because we keep tying the campaign back to everyday situations that help people relate to the cause better.”

The agency created the Tap Project campaign in 2007, asking New Yorkers to pay $1 for tap water when dining at participating restaurants. In the ensuing years, the campaign expanded to markets around the country and around the world.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.