WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — In a world of seemingly inescapable smartphone use, the U.S. branch of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is offering to donate a day’s worth of safe water to children in need — in exchange, you must put your phone down for 10 minutes.

Italian Fashion designer Giorgio Armani, the current sponsor of the Tap Project, is offering the challenge, vowing to donate “enough money to pay for a day’s worth of safe water for a child in need” should a person be able to set their smartphone down for just 10 minutes. By giving the site temporary access to your phone’s navigational sensors, the technology can determine whether or not people are truly leaving their phone alone.

“Millions of children lack clean water. How long can you go without something far less vital…like your phone?” the Tap Project asks through its website.

The Tap Project description reads: “UNICEF Tap Project is working to help the 768 million people around the world without access to clean water. This year you can help by taking a challenge to give up access to something far less vital than water–your cell phone. For every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone, our sponsor can provide one day of clean water for a child in need.”

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports the organization’s work through fundraising and advocacy that works “toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood,” according to the group’s website. Armani is a five-year national sponsor of the project, and has additionally vowed to donate $5 for each purchase of its Acqua di Giò and Acqua di Gioia made in the U.S. during the month of March.

People interested in the project are asked to use their phone to access the UNICEF Tap Project website. After following the prompts to log the phone in, the site accesses the accelerometer in the specified phone to determine if the person has actually left it alone for the ten minutes.

An accelerometer is a compass app on a smartphone that reads direction and axis-based motion sensing that can sense movement or vibrations. Should the person touch their phone, the site will ask the person to put it down and restart. A timer displays on the website along with data measuring the day’s record time for leaving a phone alone, how many people are “going without their phones” in the respective state the phone is being used.

“Right now, there are 30 people going without their phones in ‘New York,’” the website example shows.

According to the organization’s website, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF secures crucial financial support and government funding for UNICEF and is dedicated to increasing the engagement of all Americans who care about the well-being of children.


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