In January 2010, we embarked up Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro to bring awareness to the world's clean water crisis, a plague that kills 1.8 million people each year worldwide. Masterminded by Grammy-nominated musician Kenna, ''Summit on the Summit, which also included Lupe Fiasco, Jessica Biel, Emile Hirsch, Isabel Lucas, Alexandra Cousteau and others, the climb was designed to highlight the plight of the world's one billion people who lack access to clean water. The whole six days up the mountain and in visits to villages on both ends of our climb one of us (Elizabeth) educated the climbers about this urgent issue and the other (Michael) shot as many photographs as possible to illustrate our journey.
The photos below -- all taken on this trip -- are part of a Summit on the Summit photography exhibit currently on dispay in the State Department.
Mimi (right) attends the Mswakini Chini Primary School in Tanzania, home of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In rural Africa, girls can spend one to six hours each day gathering water. Without reliable access to clean water, girls can spend more time collecting water than in school, and approximately 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illness.
Grammy-nominated artist Lupe Fiasco follows Elizabeth in the front. In this photo (left) we are preparing to tackle the Barranco Wall, notoriously the toughest part of the climb. Why did we even try? Because every 15 seconds, a child dies from a preventable water-related disease.
Here we set out again after a brief rest. In this photograph (right) you can see the extreme weather conditions. We hiked through the worst weather on the mountain in a decade. These extreme climate conditions are affecting the water crisis as well. While we did hike through snow and hail, 85% of the ice cover that was present on M. Kilimanjaro IN 1912 has vanished.
This picture (left) is of a water facility at the UNHCR site in Jijiga, Ethiopia. Refugees at this site have access to 13 liters of water per day, compared to the 300 liters people use daily in the developed world. Humans need 20 liters per day to thrive.
For more information on the climb go to SUMMITONTHESUMMIT.com or watch the documentary SUMMIT ON THE SUMMIT on MTV on Sunday, March 14th at 9pm ET.