Matt Damon's Mission on Water

The actor and co-founder of water.org on improving access to clean water.
8:32 | 11/27/11

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Transcript for Matt Damon's Mission on Water
-- Too often taken for granted but in many countries the world's most valuable commodity is -- drying up. And now one of Hollywood's biggest -- he's on a campaign to change that. Some background water covers 70% of the Earth's surface but less than 3% is drinkable. With seeing drought and overuse from Asia to North Africa to right here in the United States. One in eight people lack access to safe teen drinking -- in large portions of Africa and South Asia. A child dies every twenty seconds because of it. These kinds of stopping statistics moved out to Matt Damon to team up with the environmentalist Gary white to start war -- -- And I spoke to them recently about -- mission. Water. What was -- it. Epiphany. You'll moment we knew that this was something he had to do I was in -- -- I was. I went on -- water collection with a young girl she was fourteen years old and and it was about a mile walk and we were chatting the whole time I started asking what her what her hopes were what her plans were considered you can live in this village. When when your grown up she population lives she said. She kind of shook her hand and and and this is -- we're you know why being shot -- And she said -- go to the big city. I'm gonna go to Lusaka and -- going to be in Paris the capital Zenyatta capital -- -- -- -- -- -- going to the big -- and it's just I remembered that feeling. Ben Affleck -- -- saying we're gonna go to the big city we're going in New York we're going to be actors and and we were that -- and and it. And I remembered how wonderful that was when the world felt like. You know there's this world possibility laid -- -- find view and as I drove away. I realized. It just hit me that that. Had someone not had the foresight to Singapore well a mile from. Where she lived. She wouldn't be in school because her entire life revolve around -- for water. And -- she wouldn't have any hope she wouldn't have any dream she be stuck in this kind of death spiral of of poverty in what is the depth of the crisis when it comes to war to -- -- -- that the people problem. Well it's a staggering actually because there -- a numbers a billion people was that says nearly -- million don't have access to water about two and a half billion without sanitation. So you can't get -- is a community you can't get more secure and it just. It's it's sort of like a sinkhole literally. Whether you're in the rule areas and walking hours or whether -- in the urban slums. Forced to pay the you know seven to fifteen times more. Per liter of water to the water mafia because you can't afford to get a house connection. And whose -- into one of us is second nature -- -- we we have that we -- that we we get it wherever we want. That's that's one of the hurdles actually we have to clear in terms of talking about that -- its beauty hard. For people. Like us to relate to. Because it's just never been something we have to think about him clean water is only as far away as the nearest happened there taps everywhere there's a faucet everywhere. But the reality is the water in our toilets is cleaner than the water that most people -- It was with -- we are in. -- India. Damon's wars and -- old co-founder Gary white came out with the novel idea of the war -- credit. A micro financing loan system -- to -- -- an impoverished woman. In India he was paying a loan shark 125%. Interest so she can -- enough money to it to build toward it. So we thought why can't we bring. More affordable credit to people like her there are these market based solutions that that will really help lift people out and it's that -- that -- if you give Memphis he's for -- -- and he's a man officially for a lifetime. And that's what. You know what water credit certainly is that they can get a connection in their home because the pipes are running right by -- -- but they can't afford that hundred dollars to connect. Once they get that water connection they have water security. And then they're out like the -- I just met in India they're now working as as they help in other people's homes -- they taken on paying jobs people. Have this -- found time that they can then turn to their economic benefit and then repay their -- and that's kind of the building blocks to the global economic success. -- -- -- Education and that the young girls and freeing up the time of the women to work if if he's paying jobs absolutely it in only gives them -- gives him more dignity. It gives them that ownership of their own lives and making their own way. These loans that there is talking about they are paying off paying back at 97%. To these people bought their time back but it's freedom opted to have these just -- now not only that pay off that. That's a hundred dollar loan. But now they have extra money coming into the house. Find out more about water right here in targeted the -- and all around. Please visit watered down -- You're not just a pretty face -- -- just the face some very -- ahead. You've got in deep into the issue of poverty and development and of course -- -- -- what I read your mother had a huge influence on you. I started going on trips with -- -- You know Guatemala and and and -- -- traveling around the country -- seeing stuff. Seeing extreme poverty. You know when I was a teenager -- that had a big big impact but then you know obvious -- got focused on. My life my career and and you know and have been focused on that for. 125 years but -- -- a few years ago I started to think. I want to go back and and learn more about this my sphere of influence is increased I know there's something that I can be doing. We obviously given a time of dramatic economic crisis within -- here in the United States who around the world how. -- you sell U I difference is well I mean so much. -- is about how do you have a greater impact with a dollar you invest people respond -- that I think that there's an emotional. That element to this of course in terms of the suffering with that the people also -- -- though. That the dollar -- -- investing is going further so. That's what -- we're trying to do -- be with young people giving 25 dollars. Or for instance you know the PepsiCo foundation just gave us eight million dollar grant. They couldn't keep -- up but it didn't matter life. The war said dog old co -- say it's about -- to giving and Damon hopes that he can leverage his celebrity capital into more donations. He's even been known to mix his two world to raise awareness and dollars. This means you get the stuff that it's over ovaries foundation and working with the one by one foundation the Kids Foundation. Events this is Matt Damon I'm in Haiti at the moment I understand your check has not come. I can't believe I have a. Academy Award -- calling. Is it -- heavy lift trying. Convince me your friends -- the people who you need to and so what your day job if you can prove that -- a solution that works people are into that and and people and people wanna help with that. When you help and local community. We is they award show what kind of to coin a phrase trickle down effect is -- -- on the community. Everything today. Everything changes and and suddenly you know the girls who -- collecting water all of a sudden there schools. Particularly -- -- Who goes and women. It's a huge. Huge huge issue for girls and women and as the father of four girls I'm obviously very. You know -- that resonates with me. But but yet you see it's that. That should the joy is kind of it's it's it's the other side to these trips -- see some some some really hard things but to see that. The that the life the life changing joy way this is really really quite something we -- encourage. Your children to going to do they know what you do -- -- all well and now will start coming with me to these places because you know like the gift of my mother gave -- I think it's a really wonderful thing. 22 to share with your children and and and give them some context about the world -- living and they understand. Just how lucky. They are and we are to be in this country. And -- all the work you do both Philanthropic work and your movie work which gives him most satisfaction which is most rewarding. -- when you see. The difference that we are Jamaican community. That feeling of pure joy there's nothing really that can competes with that in my page. Thank you so much for inviting -- -- today and -- -- serious issue with us. It made it made a huge impact on us. And for more information visit abcnews.com. Slash this week.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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