VANCOUVER, Dec. 10 /CNW/ - Hollywood may claim the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, and both George Clooney and Matt Damon, founders of the 'Not on our Watch' NGO. But Vancouver has its own celebrity philanthropic duo: Nickelback guitarist Ryan Peake and Fashion Designer Treana Peake, who together created The Obakki Foundation early this year.
While the Foundation has already been involved in projects in Cameroon, Africa, its latest priority is to drill desperately needed water wells in Sudan -- while civil war percolates around them.
Next week the Peakes head to southern Sudan to inspect seven water wells the Obakki Foundation has drilled in the past two weeks, providing reliable water to half a dozen remote desert communities. They plan to cement a commitment to drill as many as 250 more wells in 2011.
In a rare convergence, The Obakki Foundation has partnered with the United Nations to get aid for the remote area off the agency's wish list and onto the 'done' list. The UN is supplying intelligence and logistics, with its UNICEF wing committing to follow-up and clean water education.
What does The Obakki Foundation bring to the table? The missing link: private money.
"Without UN intelligence," explains Treana Peake, foundation director, "we wouldn't know where to drill and could end up sparking more conflict by choosing the wrong place. Without UNICEF, the villagers won't understand how to keep their water supply clean and disease-free. Without us, there would be no funds to pay for immediate drilling. It's a total partnership."
Citizens in the south vote next month on whether to seek independence from the north, taking with them 80% of the country's oil. The vote could spark a civil war outstripping Sudan's last, in which 2 million died and 4 million were displaced. As George Clooney states, it's the "Endgame in Sudan".
The Peakes are traveling to Sudan with a film crew December 15 - 23 and will be returning with stories, photos and video. Founded by Treana Peake in 2009, the Obakki Foundation (www.obakkifoundation.org) donates 100% of all proceeds to the projects.
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