National Geographic Launches Mission Blue Initiative to Combat Water Scarcity in India
As millions of Indian citizens continue to struggle with poor access to clean drinking water, 21st Century Fox’s National Geographic has teamed with Water Aid India and top talent from Bollywood to launch Mission Blue, a new initiative to raise awareness of water scarcity and drive conservation. The company will air documentaries and television specials about the crisis across its channels in India, and the campaign’s website will provide digital tools allowing viewers to calculate their own water footprints and provide ways to save water in their daily lives. National Geographic’s Swati Mohan announced the initiative in Mumbai in honor of Earth Day.
“National Geographic has always been a brand that has stood for driving purposeful change, something we have been doing for over a century now,” said Mohan, Business Head at National Geographic and Fox Networks Group, India. “Today, the water crisis around the world calls for much attention. In India alone, 76 million people lack access to safe water, a problem that is only going to get worse if no immediate action is taken. We are hopeful that this initiative will help enlighten people on what can be achieved by collective action.”
To help tell the story of how water scarcity impacts daily life people in India, National Geographic India will air four short films from award-winning Bollywood directors Imtiaz Ali, Hansal Mehta, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, and Madhur Bhandarkar, all of whom have made their films available on the campaign’s website. The channel will also air Parched, the three-part documentary series from Academy Award winner Alex Gibney that explores the environmental and political causes of water scarcity around the world. The series initially premiered in the US in March.
“I am proud to be associated with an inconic brand that has the legacy of working for the cause of preserving the planet,” said Bollywood star Farhan Akhtar, who serves as the public face of the campaign. “National Geographic Mission Blue is a very special initiative that is very close to my heart. It has the power to enlighten, inspire and empower people who are unaware of what they can do towards the cause of water scarcity and drive real change. I hope people will realise the responsibility of conserving water for their own future is in their own hands.”
National Geographic has also partnered with Water Aid India for MissionBlueMySchool, an effort to provide clean drinking water to a school in southwest Delhi that serves more than 2,500 children. Currently, the school relies on tanker trunks to bring an often-insufficient water supply to its students. MissionBlueMySchool aims to install a piped supply system for the school, as well as filters, coolers, and a rainwater harvesting system.
In the last five years alone, the National Geographic Society has funded more than 50 grants relating to water conservation, both in the United States and around the world. In the words of National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary Knell, “While National Geographic’s legendary storytelling and iconic images have helped raise awareness of critical water issues, the fact is we go far beyond creating content. We help people stop and think about what’s going on in the world today, but also — more importantly — what could happen to make it better.”