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Meet Jennifer Iacovelli:

Writer, storyteller, fitness enthusiast and philanthropist
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Mar 8, 2016

What does water mean to you?

To me, water is life. It’s one of the most basic needs for any living thing. The fact that so many people still live without access to clean water is mind-boggling to me.

How will you be celebrating World Water Day this year?

I’ll be celebrating in a few ways. I’ll be writing about the day and its importance on World Moms Blog (and my own, of course!). I’ll also be talking a lot about World Water Day on social media. But I’m most excited about the World Water Day-themed Primal Fitness we have planned at my outdoor gym, WolfPack Fitness in Auburn, Maine.

We’ll be wearing blue and all of our workout movements will be water-themed, mimicking things like pumping wells and carrying water in buckets. When we have themed workouts, everyone gets into it even more. I love how we can create awareness of a global problem through basic human movement, a beautiful visual that I hope will get people’s attention. At WolfPack, we say we are strong to be helpful. Those women and girls that have to walk miles with 40lb jerrycans of water are strong for survival.

All of the proceeds from the workout will be donated to WaterAid, so we get a great workout, create awareness around the lack of clean water around the world and give back at the same time.

What was the inspiration for your event and what do you hope people will take from it?

I started learning and writing about WaterAid’s work as a member of the Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health a few years ago. I was dumbfounded when I learned just how many people still do not have access to safe water. It is amazing to me that something so simple and basic for life isn’t readily available. I wanted to learn more and do more.

Thanks to my trainer Luke Robinson, we did a similar event at WolfPack Fitness last year, which was inspired by my trip to Nicaragua in 2014 with WaterAid. I got to see how WaterAid was helping people in the most remote areas of the country build and maintain wells so that they could not only have access to clean water, but also earn money by doing the work themselves. It was a big hit at my gym, so we are doing another water-themed workout. My hope is that we can help raise awareness of how many people around the world still lack access to clean water and sanitation.

It’s been two years since you visited WaterAid’s work in Nicaragua. Is there a particular moment, story or experience from that trip that still sticks in your mind today?

I will always remember crossing the river in a dugout canoe to visit Linda’s crops. Linda opened up her humble home to us for a night, cooked for us and showed us what it was like to live in the indigenous communities of Nicaragua. It was a hot day with a gentle breeze. Linda’s granddaughter picked vegetables, beans and flowers, holding them in her dress, sharing some of her bounty with me every now and then. We didn’t speak the same language, but we didn’t need to. It showed me that kindness had no language barrier.

What’s one piece of advice that you would give to others who are looking to make a difference this World Water Day?

Don’t overlook the communities you already belong to. Most of the people I work out with had never heard of World Water Day or WaterAid before I proposed a themed workout. Several people shared that they were proud to be a part of it. We can spread awareness starting with the people and places we interact with on a regular basis. Be creative and have fun!