Former Legal Eagle Focuses on World Water Issues

You may recognize the name or the face from his 32 years as a career prosecutor, most notably as the Los Angeles District Attorney and the face in front of the microphones to millions of Americans during the O.J. Simpson trial. But as Gil Garcetti knows, a second career can be the chance to combine your life skills in unusual and impactful ways.

Gil Garcetti has been taking pictures for years, including making time for night and weekend courses to polish his skills, but it wasn’t until the end of his legal career in 2001 that he considered full-time work as a photographer. Now his passion is to use his art and the stories the photos can tell to push for an urgent cause: focusing world attention on the issue of safe water.

Water is Key 1Gil has gone to West Africa five times since 2001 and 2006, and the photo book project that resulted from those visits, WATER IS KEY: A Better Future for Africa (October 2007, Balcony Press) is about water, health and empowerment of women in that area. Millions of Africans lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Yet when safe water is available, entire village economies change and the lives of the inhabitants are transformed from disease and malnutrition to hope and success.

Originally partnering with the Pacific Institute, the Carter Center, Conrad Hilton Foundation and WorldVision, Gil began to see his vision come to fruition by drilling several wells, putting in strip irrigation technology, and local micro-credit loan programs. Now with Wells Bring Hope, they are taking that initial success to new levels. Most of the work of gathering water from miles away each day falls to the women and children, so once their days are freed up from that all-consuming task, they can go to school or begin self-sustaining businesses that help their communities thrive well into the future.

By reaching back into his skill set: advocacy, communication and fundraising know-how, along with the ability to work the back rooms of government and politics, Gil brings a unique ability to gather forces for a good cause. His grass roots efforts are part of many local and global initiatives that are geared towards safe and accessible water for all on our fragile planet. Every one of us has a part to play in the protection of our most precious resource. After all, Water Is Key: water is LIFE.

Watch these short videos to learn more about the situation in Africa and how you can help. Or go to Gil’s Water is Key page to donate now and be a part of the effort to bring clean water and a new beginning to a village in need.

Partnering With Wells Bring Hope

In 2008, Gil Garcetti spoke to the women of Salon Forum in Los Angeles about the dire need for safe water in West Africa. What they heard about the plight of women and girls who toil endlessly to get water touched their hearts, and inspired by Gil’s work, they decided to take up this cause. Wells Bring Hope was born. In 2009, Gil joined forces with Wells Bring Hope and continues to be a strong community advocate to raise funds to transform lives for generations to come.