Matt Damon goes to Davos to talk of support for clean water charity

Davos, SwitzerlandUpdated: Jan 23, 2019, 08:56 PM IST

File photo of Matt Damon. Photograph:(Others)

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Damon, star of movies including the 'Bourne Identity' and 'Good Will Hunting' said he didn't know if his fame helped open doors but he hoped to put it to good use.

American actor Matt Damon said on Tuesday (January 22) he hoped the financial clout of Davos and his movie star glamour would help bring clean water to millions more via his micro-financing charity.

Damon is a regular at the World Economic Forum (WEF) since co-founding -- a charity that organises micro-loans so the world's poor can pay for their own infrastructure to bring water to their homes.

Many cannot afford the upfront costs of connecting to the water grid but they can afford small loan repayments if someone else puts up the money, he explained.

This year he has meetings lined up with Stella Artois and the Hilton Foundation, both sponsors of the organisation, and he says he has a good news story to sell -- that more than 16 million people now have clean water.

"People want to solve their problems you just have to nudge the market towards them a little bit and they can do the rest," he told Reuters in an interview shortly after arriving in the Swiss ski resort.

He said, "We've got a really happy story to tell because the work's going a lot better than we ever could have hoped. We reached our first million people with clean water and sanitation in 2012 and now we're reaching over a million a quarter so we're already past 16 million people so it's scaling really quickly."

Co-founder Gary White said that a lot of the summit's major themes including women's empowerment and climate change could be helped through the water problem: if girls didn't spend time looking for clean water they could be in school and if less water was wasted less energy would be spent moving it around.

He said, "I think Matt won't brag on himself for sure but there's no doubt, Matt actually, has been in this for well over a decade now. And Matt can do this kind of interview but he can also go and sit down at the World Bank with the president there and articulate these issues and work with them. So I think he has become one of the world's water experts and I think that's what shows through, that yes the celebrity aspect that Matt brings to it is undeniable. But there's few celebrities that have drilled down into an issue so deeply, and said 'This is what I'm really going to focus on', and you can see the momentum we've gained since we joined forces. 16 million people now have access to water that didn't before we joined up so I think Matt explains a lot of that."

Damon, star of movies including the Bourne Identity and Good Will Hunting said he didn't know if his fame helped open doors but he hoped to put it to good use.

"Hopefully I'm bringing something to the table. He's (White) bringing his three engineering degrees, I've got to do something!" he said.