Actor Matt Damon is busy making films, but is making time to spread the wealth and use his fame to help war-torn countries and standing with women for equality. Damon found out first hand in 2006 when visiting Africa the need for medical aid, HIV/Aids, extreme poverty and the need for clean drinking water. There is more to life than fame.“Eventually stardom is going to go away from me. It goes away from everybody and all you have in the end is to be able to look back and like the choices you made.”
One choice was joinging U2’s lead singer Bonoin the non-profit organization DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), which was looking into aiding those inflicted in Africa. Damon was interested in the mission. He was shocked the role water played in such poverty, according to an interview with Philanthropy Voyage in 2014.
He would co-find H2O Africa with Gary White, now known as Water.org. The many reasons he was moved was one in 10 people lack clean water and one in three people lack proper sanitation, Water.org reported.
“Having water available at the start of every day has allowed Anita to work at the family business and plant crops, avoiding the long journey to the centre of Nagpur to shop at market for vegetables. Her children no longer miss school because of the need to line up at a local water source waiting for water that never comes,” Damon shared with the UK’s Daily Mail.
An estimated 750 million people don’t have access to clean water. Many women have to walk hours just to find water in other countries. “As a guy who has four daughters, this is a huge issue for women and girls: girls are often left to leave school and go find water, and that obviously has a huge impact on the quality of life they can expect to have.”
The father of four hasn’t stopped there, calling out sexism. Damon was involved in the HeForShe (joining President Obama, and other stars) campaign to advocate a world where women and girls can be free from discrimination and abuse. If you want to tackle the problems of extreme poverty you need to engage women, he told Huffington Post. It starts with them.
“They’re the ones to get it done.”
He also cares about climate change. Hosting and narrating the PBS episode Journey to Planet Earth, Damon investigated the link between extreme wealth, climate, change, and the threats to national security. He also worked on Showtimes' Years of Living Dangerously.
Damon said “We have a hand in shaping what the world will look like- the world that our children will inherit.”