In January 2016, Meghan Markle visited Rwanda with World Vision, for which she is a global ambassador. In March 2016, Meghan wrote an article for The Tig, which has since closed, about her experience there for World Water Day.
Meghan’s World Water Day article was published on March 22, 2016.
“I used to take the longest showers, to take a phone call when I was washing dishes, or even let the faucet run while I was brushing my teeth. It was wasting water, yes, but I wasnt focused on the water at hand; I was focused on the task at hand. On the dishes, or the dentist visit I knew was coming up, or all the minutiae that allow me to let my faucet run so freely. And I share that with you because I know its something that happens. Because sometimes we just arent thinking. Were human it happens because we arent always focused on the big picture.
“But we should be. We should at least try to be.
“During my most recent trip to Rwanda this past January, I was able to see what life is like in villages without access to clean water not in slivers of time, but all the time.
“In many developing countries, a young girl has to walk hours each day to fetch water for her family; it makes her vulnerable to violence, it endangers her to trafficking, and at its simplest level, it takes her out of school. I can say this as fact, because I met a 13 year old girl in a village outside of Kigali named Florence, who shared her experience with me. I walked with her to her only viable water source (which was riddled with germs and pesticides) and I met her family at her home. She cant go to class because she spends close to four hours a day walking to get water from the nearest river. That lack of education hinders her from maximizing her full potential. It takes her out of school, it robs her of an education and it stifles her future. The lack of access to clean water does that. Water! Thats the proverbial and literal trickle down effect.
“For the past few years, my focus in humanitarian work has been specifically on womens issues. On uplifting and empowering young girls and women to mobilize from a grassroots level, and to embrace leadership roles within their communities and globally. I have worked hard to advocate on this issue and to empower women to see their potential, but in doing that I have also sought out the root of the problem. From where does it stem and how can it be solved? And the answer is multifaceted.
“But when I was able to connect the dots to see that access (or lack thereof) to clean water had a direct correlation to womens ability to have an education or see their fullest potential, it was as though a light went off. I could then see water so fluidly as not just a natural resource, but as a life source. As a source of inspiration and a gateway to education an open door to a better future.
“Its not just a glass of water. Its a glass of hope. Its the most obvious basic necessity for health and wellness. Just like air, we need water. We simply cant live without it.
“But the value of clean water and the debilitating effects of its absence doesnt just exist in developing countries. It happens here at home, as with Flint, Michigan where children are plagued with illness and families are moving to other towns in order to find some semblance of normalcy as we know it. Now, there was nothing we could have done to prevent that (not you and I personally at least), but the ripple effect of that is palpable. And devastating. Thats here at home. Thats not supposed to happen anywhere, but its even more staggering when it happens here when we have the means to ensure that it doesnt.
“As global ambassador for World Vision, I know its important to raise awareness for causes such as these. As a global citizen, I know its imperative to not just look at the crises effecting us at home but to advocate for the voices abroad that need to be heard as well. As a woman, I know its vital to ensure that all young girls have access to education and if access to clean water is one of the pieces of that puzzle, then its my job to help bring attention to that very thing.
“And, lets be honest, boys and men need clean water too. We all do.
“During my visit to the Gashoro region of Rwanda, I embarked on The Watercolor Project taking cups of water from a well recently built by World Vision, and teaching the children of the community how to paint with watercolors. To paint their dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. Art welled from water, and inspiration welled from a well. The experience was as inspiring and affirming as you can imagine. And it only served to solidify the power of water not just as a life source but as a source for creative imagination.
“So on March 22nd, World Water Day, I invite you to take a stand with me in whatever way makes sense for you. If its making a donation for others to have access to clean water, go for it. If its being conscious of the water you use more mindfully, thats awesome too. On this day, and every day, just know that what you have easy access to is a luxury for so many people. Lets make a pact to not take that for the granted. For more information go to www.worldvision.org.”
[The Tig via the Wayback Machine]
I like that she talked about how lack of access to clean water affects so many other areas of people’s lives, and I like that she talked about how even people in first world countries like the US are affected by lack of access to clean water. I also liked that she included a call to action at the end to get people looking in to ways to help create change.
The lack of proper punctuation annoyed me. I copied this from the Wayback Machine, so I don’t know if Meghan actually left out those punctuation marks, or if the Wayback Machine’s scrapers didn’t scrape the page properly, or if The Tig used a photo for certain punctuation that the Wayback Machine’s scrapers didn’t scrape.
40 thoughts on “Tig Archives: Meghan’s World Water Day article”
The message is great, but she really needs an editor. To me, it reads like a promising rough draft. But, with her UN speech, the articles on charity you have highlighted, and the Time magazine article I saw, I like how Meghan consistently explains why the issue is important, how it affects people, and how we are all connected to it in some way.
Meghan’s writing it quite flowery. She could use a good edit. But yes, I do like that she connects the cause to more than just the one experience she is highlighting.
Yes, yes, an editor. Although another post I read made me think she had a ghost writer. It was far better and a bit, as KMR/MMR pointed out flowery and smaked of PEOPLE style writing.
Whenever I see pictures of Harry in Africa with children, I see how much he loves them and wants to make things go smoothly for them . I think Meghan shares that desire. I think they could make a fantastic team. My one concern is one I share with mary elizabeth. Both she and I feel that they are both “stars” and in relationships, that does not always bode well long term. One partner usually has to step back a bit. Will it be Meghan or Harry? Initially, they can both be embraced as newlyweds the world is ready to appreciate, but all the popularity they will be having will be tough for them because when the real world creeps in, that’s when relationships become hard. And, will jealousy creep in, too? I hope not, but am not sure.
Having been to a refugee camp in Uganda recently where the government is struggling to provide water and food for almost 900,000 refugees, I’m just not impressed with her kind of vague encouragement to donate or “think” about water consumption. Almost one billion people live without clean water. Wells are critical and are difficult to build. I know that in the refugee camps I was in, it could take days to finally get access to the water through a new well and they still don’t have enough of them. It’s hard, messy work to build the well and gather the water. Uganda also continues to truck water in every day to try and keep up with demand. I like that she brought attention to the cause of clean water, but I felt no urgency from this piece. The writing also wasn’t great.
I would guess that World Vision decided to have her teach watercoloring, but for children in this type of situation it’s really not a useful exercise. It may give them a brief reprieve from their struggles, but it is not sustainable. Providing a solid education is critical to bringing children out of poverty. At least based on my experience, the children are more interested in school than more superfluous things like watercoloring.
As a refugee who lives in Canada, I’m just grateful to any one particular person who does whatever they do to make a difference in this world. Born and raised in Uganda, I will say that I, from personal experience, can relate to what Meghan is talking about. And may I dare say, that the orphanage or refugee camp that you went does NOT give a realistic picture of what exactly is going on in Uganda. What you say was an organized community that the government knows gets exposed to the western world and therefore gets a lot of privileges (like trucked water) that are not available to the lay village person. When Meghan depicts is a more realistic picture because she went to a regular community where people struggle to even get a glass of clean water to give to their sick dehydrated child, that is the reality of MOST Ugandans. When I was growing up, we used to walk miles to go fetch water for our family. Because I grew up in the suburbs, fetching water was after school so we did manage to do both, go to school and also fetch water etc. However, I can’t say how exhausted all of us would be at the end of the day because we walked 3 miles back and forth to go to school (6 miles total) and when you got home at about 6pm, you’d need to walk another 3 miles to go get water. I don’t even remember a day supper was eaten before 11pm in our home!! When I came to this country where supper is at 6pm, it was such a shock to me!! Here in Canada, what saddens me the most is the waste of resources that happen here, but again people here don’t know any better. Personally, I make sure to never brush my teeth while the tap is running because in my mind, not wasting water allows me to pay a much lesser monthly bill and donate something to Word Vision to build a well for some rural community in my motherland etc. I don’t waste food, that way I spend less on groceries and donate a little something to UN etc. I know that somewhere in Uganda, there is a girl who was pulled out of school and married off because she started menstruating and therefore she is considered “adult”, and also because her parents reserve the available funds to educate their male children who are expected to “save” the family etc. So, I turn off all the unused lights in my house so that my bill is not too big, which enables to to donate to Project Hope, a charity that is involved in educating girls and orphans in Uganda.
What I’m trying to say is that Meghan and other celebrities encouragement would be very beneficial if only people curbed down on wastage and donated to some of these causes. Its doable.
Wow. Thank you for sharing this. It’s great to get perspective from someone with a personal connection to this issue.
Everyone knows the govt keeps those camps to keep the money rolling in.
Uganda is one of the most fertile places on earth and the govt exports food to most of the countries around it.
I went into one of the IDP camps near Kitgum and the set up was really interesting if you knew what to look for, and spoke the language because it’s not as black and white as you’ve written.
I do agree that the kids are more worried about education than arts, but that’s because education is revered above everything in Uganda. Rich and poor alike. The arts are not really valued so MM wanting to paint with the kids is nice, but it’s not their educational focus.
I accept your issues with her writing style, but I like the way she has explained things and made them relevant to lucky people living in a country where running water, hot and cold, is just the accepted norm. I particularly like the idea of the water colour painting – I would love to have seen some of the artwork. I also like the idea that even if this charity is not one a reader wants to donate to, they can nevertheless do their bit – easily.
I found the message so compelling and thoughtful that I did not feel it needed an edit. Especially considering it was an article on her own blog. I see far more errors in the average online “newspaper” article – even in very high profile press these days.
I’m 99.99% sure those punctuation errors are not from the original article. I just can’t believe she wouldn’t have had ANY apostrophes in the entire article! I read a bunch of stuff on The Tig after this relationship came out and never noticed any errors like tons of missing punctuation…and I would definitely have noticed.
Her writing style is a bit flowery – slightly purple prosy – for me…but I like that she is bringing attention to different important areas/causes and using (used) her blog for good and not just fashion, so I’m willing to overlook her writing style.
I like MM’s style and I think wedding bells are ringing. However, I can’t with the Tig’s writings. They seem so rehearsed and PR and I know that’s not the intention but oh, boy, I’m so happy that website is gone. I think she did that website to further her image as an actress and therefore that website do not scream 100% the truth. I think the Tig was good intentions/further career/a little PR/a little good/ a little superficial, etc. I am happy that we can get to know MM in another capacity that is not the Tig, which I repeat I didn’t like because it felt like a performance instead of getting the real person. Love this blog already!
Interesting to re-read this piece. I did see it originally on The Tig.
Meghan tells her story and then, most important of all, reminds the reader about World Water Day, and the charity World Vision and finishes with
“Lets make a pact to not take that for the granted. For more information go to http://www.worldvision.org”
Nice to see some do reference the charity and where you can go to get more information 🙂
Thanks MMR! I live in an area where water issues are a huge concern, so I appreciate Meghan’s reminder to us all to be mindful of our water usage.
I don’t yet have a problem with her prose, I think it’s an indicator of her personality, excited and perhaps a bit “girly”.
I’m still on the fence about her. While I think it’s great she’s bringing attention to this cause, I still struggle to see the line between self-promotion and real philantropy. So far, what I have seen from her charity work is volontourism: she travels to a place, takes photos and writes an article about it. What was her actual contribution to this project? Did she follow up, or was it a one-visit thing? As I said on another post, I’d love for her to share any ongoing charity work she does/did locally. Until then I’m side-eyeing her humanitarism.
I don’t get this idea that good work only counts if you meet x-y-z criteria. She was an actress with a platform and she used it to get the word out. That is more than some people ever do. What level of involvement would be good enough to satisfy you? I am not being snarky, just curious. Do you quantify it by the number of hours clocked? Is it the impact of her efforts? Is it how many years she’s been involved? What’s the standard?
I am a busy professional with very limited down time from work. I would LOVE to do more hands on work in the community to show how much I value giving back. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time right now and probably won’t until I retire. But I write checks to lots of local and national organizations. Some could argue that I am not doing enough, that it is only for a tax write off.
Meghan has been interested in this type of work since she was a student. I am sure she’s done charity we don’t know about during the years when she was struggling to find her way. It makes sense that she has taken on more visible projects once her profile was raised. I don’t see what’s suspicious about that.
++100 MissGeorgia. Better that I could have put it.
Like you, I too try to do what I can (in my case, for those within the transplant community) but with my own health issues and life (work, dog, personal mental health, physical health, personal hobbies/pursuits/interests), transplant-related issues/causes sometimes gets pushed to the wayside though I **do** talk to others via FB or e-mail or whatever, especially if they’ve received my kind of transplant since it’s so rare.
What we do may be small but in the end of the day, they **do** add up, make a difference and matter. 🙂
My problem is with the narrative she’s trying to sell: that philantropy has always been a part of her life and who she is. So when I question how much time she put in charity work or if she has any long-standing causes, it’s because I think those would be good indicatives that it is indeed something she has always been invested on and not a prop she’s using to build a brand.
You say she has always been interested in charity work and surely has done a lot we don’t know. Honest question: has she ever shared anything about it? I’m asking because I don’t follow her and I never read the Tig. I did find very weird that she wrote a whole article about charity and had little to account prior to two/three years ago. She also seems to be very prolific about her trips to Africa, so I fail to see a reason why she wouldn’t comment on anything related to previous or out of the spotlight charity work.
Nothing wrong in starting charity later in life, what I object is that she seems to be spinning things to build an image of herself. And as I said this makes the line between PR and philantropy very blurry to me.
Your line of logic @Paula was exactly what I was trying to get at in a previous posting and people jumped on me as well. I did extensive research and besides on USO tour her philanthropy appears to have begun in the beginning of 2016. I have continued with my research and haven’t found anything further.
I believe she may have been interested in international relations, as she has a dual major, but it also could be a fall back in case the acting thing didn’t go through.
I’m a working professional who raised four children w/a military husband (before he was killed) and I managed to do much more philanthropy work than she has done. That is a valid point and everyone has what they feel they can give, but to say that she can’t give anymore because no one would be satisfied is a misnomer.
Her HeForShe attendance was in 2014 and the UN speech was in 2015.
@Springsmom – It certainly wasn’t my intention to “jump” on you. I thought we were having a very civil conversation.
To add to KMRs list – ONE Young World attendance was on 2014 as well.
I guess I would ask why you are spending time doing “extensive research” into Meghan’s philanthropic work. What would you be trying to prove and to whom are you trying to prove it? Are you looking for quantity or length of service? Why does it even matter?
The witch hunt to try to find something incriminating about Meghan is so crazy. If she does charity work to raise her profile, why is that a problem? No one said she can’t do more. I think it’s up to the individual to decide what amount of giving is suitable to them so I wouldn’t compare what she’s done to whatever it is you’ve purportedly done. Doesn’t make you better or worse than her; just different.
My argument is why does it matter how much she’s done as long as she’s done something. This just seems like a straw man argument for something else frankly.
Speaking for myself: I think it’s interesting to have a background knowledge of Meghan and her charity efforts and points of view on certain causes in order to learn more about her. I don’t think it’s a witch hunt to want to know more about Meghan.
To me it’s important to distinguish PR from what’s real because in the end she’s still a celebrity with a brand to sell. She has a clothing line she wants us to buy, a TV show she wants us to watch, a blog from which she probably earned something. So I find it problematic if she’s trying to profit on an image that isn’t genuine, specially when she’s bringing charity to the mix.
@ Paula: I totally agree with you.
The financial objective and profile building are clear when anyone promotes a show, a blog, a line of clothing. The waters muddy when charity and self-promotion are entwined because an ethical dimension comes into play. If PR is the driver of the philanthropy work as part of a career strategy, then call it for what it is. Note: One Young World is an arm of MM’s PR company. Personally, I’m not inclined to believe the label of philanthropist or humanitarian should be applied to anyone after a few outings. We should be vigilant when accessing people’s claims.
@ Paula: you’ve laid out a perfectly valid position. For the sake of clarity, are we able to separate MM’s philanthropy for its own sake and spinning philanthropy for personal purposes? Factor in her PR agency’s strategy and advice too.
Not sure if this is complete or correct:
• 2014 – HeforShe (UN) – not sure what involvement comprised .
• 2014 – USO tour.
• 2015 – UN speech – several inconsistencies in speech eg Clinton not FL then, ad cited was years old and not running during her childhood.
• 2016 – Rwanda trip (Water colour classes for children).
• 2016 – UN trip re. water conditions in Africa.
• 2017 – Trip to India.
• 2017 – Article on menstruation products.
I spent half my childhood either in a hut in the bush or in a hut half way up a mountain, both places had tank water only and if it didn’t rain the tank didn’t get filled. So we all learnt to conserve water no matter where we were. Reading something like this is a good reminder not to waste.
I do think of you Lauri when I see on the news that California has water restrictions in summer. And when there are fires in summer too! (I can’t imagine how it would be trying to fight a fire without enough water, my nephew is a fireman so fire fighting is a regular topic of conversation in my family)
Meghan’s prose may be flowery at times but I think her heart is in the right place?
Oops, this was a response to Lauri’s comment, I pushed the wrong Reply button! Sorry!
Hi Cathy, thanks for your kind words. The area that I live was once (about 90+ years ago) very green and lovely but due to the fact that most of our water gets sent elsewhere our area has become much more desert like and very dry. This of course has also affected the wildlife that lives here and that is tough to see.
IMVHO, its unrealistic to set such high standards for any one particular celebrity. They have lives to live and they have to work to earn their living, so expecting them to continuously follow up on these charity endeavours to OUR satisfaction is not realistic. The way I understand “volunteerism” is a person offers to do a certain project. Now, my assumption is WV or UN would have liked to have a bigger celebrity like say Brad Pitt or any of those big names volunteer to go to Africa, India or Afghanistan etc and promote this clean water project. When no one else other than Meghan offers to do it, then all they have is Meghan and I’m sure they are very grateful for her to take 2 weeks out of her busy schedule to go and do this project. I also think that however way you slice it, EVERYTHING (Caps are for emphasis not yelling) these celebrities do is interconnected to their self promotion, whether it be Angelina Jolie, or anyone else they all started out as a PR self-serving projects and once they got their good resumes the rest is history. So, Meghan is starting somewhere, where she has VOLUNTEERED herself for a good cause, I commend her for whatever contribution. Humanitarian work has numerous facets, there’s fundraising, awareness, construction, involvement in healthcare endeavours etc, in whichever way a celebrity volunteers to do humanitarian work, much as they might be self promoting, there is no doubt in my mind that somehow, there is someone somewhere in some remote part of the world that is benefitting from this. So, kudos to Meghan and all other celebrities that give their time to do whatever they can to make a difference in this world.
She followed up with a fundraising drive. Her contribution was money – which was used to build wells in Rwanda.
Well, it moved me, that’s for sure. I find this the least self promoting of any of her philanthropic articles/ speeches (always rolled my eyes at her coy Instagram posts from the last year). I barely noticed the lack of punctuation because the message was quite powerful. This is also an issue dear to Victoria’s heart- the world’s many water supplies. They should team up! Wouldn’t that be something. She’s clearly not afraid to say her piece in public, well informed and intelligent, this is a great banner for her to take up and really throw herself into. Especially once she becomes part of….😉
@Ray – I would LOVE to see her and Victoria team up for this issue. I love Vic and Dan (and their cute kiddies) and would love H&M (once they are married…because, yes, in my mind it’s a done deal 😉 ) to associate more with some of the European royals close to their age. My secondary motivation for this is that then H&M will be invited to represent the BRF for all of the many, many tiara events that the European royals seem to have much more frequently than BRF and we’ll get to see Megs in lots of tiaras. (Although, I guess now, the go-to couple for those trips are the Wessexes so I’d hate to see them sidelined…maybe H&M can go along with S&E once Vic and Princess Sparkles become besties!)
I want to applaud her efforts in Rwanda, but i’m sick to the back teeth of celeb aidworkers using Africa as the backdrop to their philanthropy.
Most of the time it’s just photo ops. Most of the time they bring chaos.
And finally i would recommend the following books to everyone about the charity celeb game:
It’s like that spoof ad Trevor Noah makes about aid to America in which he uses the exact same language as these trips, but the background is the worst parts of America and asks the public to donate. Complete with a stunt fly buzzing about a person.
When i see these pictures of celebs in Africa, i think of that instagram account, slum barbie.
And the links are excellent; thanks. Celebrities have been mining the philanthropy/humanitarian route for ages; Christopher Hitchens said some 20 years ago that it was mandatory path for celebrities for profile-building.
Like Paula, above, I struggle to see the line between self-promotion and philanthropy. It should be known that MM’s PR agency established One World and regularly funnel their clients through its initiatives. If work is genuinely ongoing over years, has measurable goals and outputs, and attention is primarily on it rather than celebrity, there’s a case to be made. Being called a humanitarian is way off the mark after just a few outings.
The scarcity of clean water is one of the world’s ongoing problems; it has been on the public radar for years.
I like Meghan does charity work.
I do not like that it seems all aimed at raising her profile and PR, which is what my suspicions were with Harry considering the woman’s a household name now.
All of it raises her celeb profile considerably.
Charities and PR are the name of the game for celebs. They have to appear they care and are down to earth. Kind of like the royals!
There’s an irony here, though. Meghan could marry into the BRF – whose philanthropic activity is almost entirely aimed at self promotion.
@HERAZEUS, celebrities do voluntary work in Africa, in Asia, in Syria, Afghanistan, in the USA, in Canada etc. It just depends on what some news outlets choose to highlight. Ihave read about celebrities that don’t donate to any other charities other than their home charities, but most of these go unreported because they don’t generate ratings, people don’t like reading about them etc. Its like those documentaries where the only thing shown about Africa is orphans, starving children, garbage ridden communities and wild animals. I’m yet to see one documentary about Kampala and all the fat cats in my country that are bleeding that little nation to death at the expense of everybody else. I’d like to see a documentary about Kampala or Masaka or any other big city in Uganda with all the pomp and posh expensive cars that people drive there, hah!! There are families in Uganda that have 10 cars, mom has one, dad has about 4, their 16 year old son has one etc, of course there are filthy wealthy people in that country. However, the wealthy are the smallest percentage (10%?) and any documentaries that focus on this 10% is not a true depiction of our poverty ridden nation.
I guess what Im trynna say is there are highlights of celebrities using not just Africa but other third world continents/countries as backdrops for their work. You just have to google and you’ll find them.
Her writing is a bit florid for my tastes – an editor could help her tone things down. But she is a pretty good writer and her message well-intentioned. It’s worth noting that she did, in fact host a fundraising event for the Rwandan well project – talk was followed up with action.
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