An outpouring through Facebook

An African village in Sierra Leone will have access to clean drinking water thanks to the efforts of Simon Fraser University business students. MBA students from SFU’s Beedie School of Business hit their fundraising target and generated $5,000 through a social media campaign.

Angie Rai, Karen Robson, Tina Sun and Pankaj Saini came up with the idea to create a Facebook page to launch a campaign called 1 Dollar Per Like. Each time a Facebook user “liked” the page, sponsors promised to donate a loonie towards the non-profit organization Free the Children to build a water well.

“The campaign has been a huge success … to say we are excited would be an understatement,” says Rai. “We did not expect such a huge response and we are extremely pleased with the results.”

The fundraising effort originally got off the ground as a result of a classroom assignment. Students in the MBA class, Managing Information Systems, taught by SFU Beedie associate professor Michael Parent, were challenged to garner as many social media likes and comments as possible in order to increase organizational engagement with consumers.

On the night previous to receiving the MBA challenge, students had viewed the documentary, A World Without Water, which cast new light on the commodification of water globally and the tragedies stemming from lack of access to safe drinking water. Moved by the central premise of the program, Rai vowed to address it in her team project.

Rai and her fellow students aren’t resting despite reaching their initial fundraising goal.

“Our original goal was to raise the $5,000 needed to build the well. However, through the Facebook page, as well as with our other fundraising efforts, we have raised just over $8,000,” Rai says.

“We are still, however, looking for the public’s support if they would like to make a donation towards raising $25,000 to build the entire village. This would include the building of the school, the well, as well as alternative income and health care programs.”

Anyone interested in making a donation can do it online, by sending an email to aar3@sfu.ca or by calling 604-808-7200.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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