Students at Soehl Middle School in Linden, New Jersey participated in a class project as part of a special lesson to encourage student activism. Social studies teacher Michael D’Amato created the One Gallon Challenge after showing his sixth and eighth-graders a documentary about the global water crisis and its impact on women. 

For one day, the students were challenged to carry around an entire gallon of water from class to class to bring awareness of the fact that women around the world spend a collective 200 million hours collecting clean water for themselves and their families. The One Gallon Challenge is only a small fraction compared to the amount of water that people in developing countries are used to carrying around every single day, often filling up 5-gallon jugs with up to 40 pounds of water.

At the end of the challenge, D'Amato asked his students to brainstorm a couple of ways that they can help make a small difference, even from thousands of miles away. He hopes the activity will give his students an opportunity to reflect and spark a bigger movement and conversation during Women’s History Month and World Water Day in March.