Q: I was given a jug and challenged to take the walk, but don’t want to do it. What now?

A: No problem. If possible, just give the jug back to whoever challenged you, and let them know you’re not interested. If that’s not possible (for example, the person just dropped the jug off on your doorstep with a note attached), would you consider finding someone else to challenge and help us keep the jug going? Even if you can’t donate, the important thing to do is to keep the jug moving, rather than sitting in a garage or basement for a week. If you’d rather not challenge anyone else, feel free to contact us and we’ll arrange to get the jug sent back to us.


Q: I have a jug but I don’t want to pass it on, what do I do with it?

A: No problem! Contact us and we’ll arrange for you to ship it back, or hand it off to someone in your area. Don’t even want to email us? Again, no problem! Please mail the jug back to this address:  Water for Good, 795 West 400 North, Warsaw, IN 46582-7792. We really appreciate the return of unused jugs so we can send them back out quickly! If you have questions, just contact us!


Q: How long do I have to complete the challenge?

A: Try to do your walk within 72hrs, and challenge someone else within 24hrs of you taking the challenge. If it takes you a little longer to get around to it, no problem. Don’t have time to do the challenge? We’d appreciate it if you’d just go ahead and challenge someone else if it doesn’t look like you’re going to be able to take the challenge for a few weeks.


Q: Do I have to carry the whole 5 gallons?

A: Nope. The idea is to experience what life is like in Central Africa, not to cause back injuries—only carry what you feel like you can handle… but use your experience to appreciate the fact that even young teenage girls in Central Africa carry 44lbs (5 gallons) of water every day.


Q: What’s the best way to carry the jug?

A: Rather awkward to carry these dang things isn’t it? We don’t have any really good tips for you. Central Africans often carry it on their head, with a piece of cloth rolled up into a puck to pad their head. You’re welcome to give it a shot. Or maybe rig-up a backpack setup. Be creative!


Q: Do I have to carry the jug a whole mile?

A: Nope! We picked that distance because it roughly correlates with the average distance a Central African would walk to fetch water in a day. But a trip around the block might be enough for you to get the idea. Or you might want to walk more than a mile… when you register your walk on the site just round to the nearest mile.


Q: Wait, are you tracking this jug with a GPS-think-a-ma-jig or a drone or something? Will you know if I did the walk?

A: Nope. This is just on the honor system (a GPS tracking device would be WAY too expensive, and defeat the purpose of the whole thing). Just do the walk (or don’t) and register your walk (or don’t). The more important thing is to keep the challenge going, passing it on to someone else, and making a donation to provide clean water in Central Africa! When you record your walk you’ll have the option of recording the location where you completed the challenge (street address, or just a ZIP code if you’d rather not tell us exactly where). We’ll use that info for future upgrades to the 5 Gallon Challenge site (like a cool interactive map where you can see where your jug has traveled).



Q: When do I donate?

A: Whenever you want! The default method for participating in the 5 Gallon Challenge is for you to challenge a friend, and commit to donate $5 for every gallon they carry… but if you’re welcome to ignore that, and donate after your own walk…or before, etc.


Q: Do I have to donate?

A: Of course not! The challenge is setup to allow you to experience life without running water in Central Africa, and hopefully you’ll feel motivated to help change the life of someone in Central Africa by ending their walk for dirty water (after all, it’s only $5 to do so). But you’re by no means obligated to donate!


Q: Why should I take the challenge?

A: The 5 Gallon Challenge is a fun, social, and tangible way to get a whole community of friends to engage in solving the global water crisis! There are SO many things we cannot change about the poverty we see around the world; the 5 Gallon Challenge is a WAY that you can! You get challenged, you carry water, you challenge someone else…and that results in more people in the Central African Republic getting access to clean and sustainable water. It’s THAT easy! It is a chance to feel empathy and a connection with the REAL impact of your donation.


Q: I want to take the challenge, how can I do it?

A: The challenge starts when your friend passes you one of the official jugs and gives you 3 days to carry up to 5 gallons for 1 mile (which is a similar distance to what someone in the Central African Republic would need to walk before their village has a well). If you accept, for each gallon you carry, your friend (the challenger) will donate $5 to Water for Good for every gallon you carry.


Q: I requested a jug, and now that I’ve got it I realized no one challenged me. So who will sponsor my walk?

A:  Consider that your donation to get the jug sent to you is your sponsorship (so you don’t need to find another sponsor). That being said, if you WANT to find someone, just share your brand spanking new jug page on social media, and let people know that you’re taking the challenge, but need someone to commit to donating $5 for every gallon you carry. We’re sure someone will respond (that’s what mother’s are for, right?)


Q: What are “badges”?

A:  Badges are a COOL way to promote the 5 Gallon Challenge through all types of events, places and people.  Make your jug proud by collecting as many badges as possible! So go get that “Old Geezer”, “Night Owl”, or “Frequent Flyer” badge for your jug! Check out the current (and ever-growing) list of badges.


Q: I have a badge idea, how do I submit it?

A:  Great! We love new ideas. Let us know your idea, and it just might make it into our next badge releases.


Q: What do I do with the water when I’m finished with the challenge?

A:  Be creative! Just don’t waste it! Wash your car, water your shrubs, or mop your floors with it. We’ll give you virtual bonus points for experiencing not only the walk, but also what it’s like to use the water from the jug, just like someone in Central Africa would.


Q: Can I drink the water that’s in the jug?

A: We don’t recommend drinking the water in the jug as we do not control the sterilization of the jug between handlers.


Ways to use the 5 Gallon Challenge

Q: What are some ways I can use the 5 Gallon Challenge?

A: We’ve tried to make the 5 Gallon Challenge as flexible as possible. Here are a few ways you could use it, but feel free to be creative!

1. Challenge a friend to carry the jug, and commit to donate $5 for every gallon they carry. Make sure they pass the challenge on when they’re done!

2. Take the challenge yourself, donate to the jug yourself, but do it as a fundraiser, sharing the jug page with your friends, family, and co-workers and asking them to sponsor your challenge by donating towards the jug you’re carrying. This is a chance for you to go above and beyond the usual 1 mile. Maybe try for one of the badges (bike 5 miles, carry the jug on a hike above 10,000 ft, etc).

3. Try the challenge relay-race style with a group of friends. Pick a hike through nature or a route through your city and divide the route up into sections. Take the walk together, and pass the jug to a new person for each section. 


Q: Can I make the 5 Gallon Challenge into a competition?

A: Absolutely! Competing water jug teams can “race” to raise the most money within a set time frame (2 months, 2 weeks, whatever!). You can either just secure a few jugs and use the “compare jugs” feature available on every jug page, or use the Host an Event link to get in contact with us and we’ll setup a custom event page just for you! We’ve got ideas and materials to help make your competition a success!


Q: I’m a teacher/counselor/volunteer, can I use the 5 Gallon Challenge to help teach about the water crisis?

A: Yes! We have a curriculum for you to use in educating about the water crisis in Africa and how that affects people’s health and quality of life. Contact us and we’ll make sure you have what you need!


About the cause

Q: What does my donation support?

A:  100% of the proceeds from the 5 Gallon Challenge go to Water for Good, a non-profit dedicated to solving the water crisis in one of the world’s most neglected and unstable countries, the Central African Republic (CAR). Water is the first step out of extreme poverty, saving families time fetching water and saving the lives of young children, who are most vulnerable to waterborne illness. Learn more here. Water for Good has already provided (and is maintaining!) clean water access for 500,000 people in the CAR (10% of the population), so they’re not newbies at this!


Q: What is the water crisis?
A:  The water crisis is a worldwide problem, not just in the Central African Republic.

  • The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), and the #8 global risk based on likelihood (likelihood of occurring within 10 years) as announced by the World Economic Forum, January 2015.*
  • 663 million people (down from 1.1 billion back in 2004) around the world lack access to safe water; approximately one in nine people
  • about twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water.***
  • Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.**
  • 82% of those who lack access to improved water live in rural areas, while just 18% live in urban areas.**

*World Economic Forum (2015).Global Risks 2015 Report.

**Tropical Medicine and International Health. 19, no. 8 (2014): 894 – 905.Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries.

***United States Census Bureau Estimates. (2014). U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base.

Q: How does my $5 donation provide clean water for 1 person for a year?

A: Water for Good provides clean water through three main mechanisms.

  1. We drill new wells
  2. We rehabilitate broken and forgotten wells
  3. We provide regular service visits for wells

To determine our cost of water per person, we have to make several assumptions. First we assume that the average new well will last for ten years and a rehabilitated one will last for five. We also assume that each well serves on average 500 people (this varies quite a bit, but it’s a good average of the 900+ wells currently in our program).

Averaging out all our expenses (including administrative and fundraising) across our three implementation mechanisms, (taking into considering the length of time the project is expected to last) give us just under $5 for a year of water per person in the Central African Republic.

Your $5 is not only providing clean, healthy water, but it’s saving hundreds of hours that would have been spent hauling heavy loads of water from the old water source back to the village!