World Vision 40 Hour Challenge accepted: A visit to Malawi drives rugby star and social media personality to change everything with clean water

04 Apr 2023 by World Vision
World Vision 40 Hour Challenge accepted: A visit to Malawi drives rugby star and social media personality to change everything with clean water

Rugby star Caleb Clarke and social media powerhouse Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck have kicked off 2023 as World Vision 40 Hour Challenge ambassadors, following a life-changing visit to Malawi.

This year the World Vision 40 Hour Challenge will take place over the weekend of June 16-18, and Caleb and Jonny are calling on young people to join them and raise funds for children who urgently need clean water.

After an emotional week in Malawi, where they saw first-hand the impact World Vision’s clean water programmes can make, Caleb and Johnny want to make a difference with this year’s World Vision 40 Hour Challenge.

“It was really upsetting to see the hardship in Malawi, but it was also incredible to see how funds raised through the World Vision 40 Hour Challenge can help so many people. It literally changes lives,” says Caleb, who steps into his role as a World Vision 40 Hour Challenge ambassador for the third year in a row.

While in Malawi, Caleb and Johnny visited a remote village which had no clean water source close by. There, they met Madalitso, a nine-year-old girl who walks long distances in the hot sun to get water from a hand-dug well for her family, but it means she is often late to school.

Caleb and Johnny joined Madalitso on her daily walk to gather water.

“I was drenched in sweat and these small young kids are doing this four times a day,” says Caleb. “It was honestly so heartbreaking to see kids walk so far to collect dirty brown water from a hole in the ground to drink.”

Johnny, a former rugby league player turned social media content creator, was also moved by Madalitso’s daily routine, which drummed home to him the importance of clean water.

“We found out that that every day in Malawi, 11 children under the age of five die from preventable diseases related to dirty water. It makes you realise that it’s such a privilege to turn on the tap and have clean water,” he says.

During their week-long trip, the ambassadors also met 10-year-old Prisca, who no longer has to face a tiring walk every day to collect water now that World Vision has built a new bore hole in her village.

“It was beautiful to see how money raised by Kiwis back home is bringing clean water to kids in Malawi,” says Johnny.

“Even just a little bit can make a massive difference. It means the girls we met can go to school and fulfil their dreams. I’m sure when we come back and visit them again, they’ll be running the show!”

Globally, millions of children are affected because they don’t have safe water to drink. Each day, 800 children around the world die from dirty water. One in five children worldwide do not have enough clean water to get through the day and many have no option but to walk for hours each day to find clean water sources.

Last year, funds raised by the World Vision 40 Hour Challenge helped World Vision New Zealand to provide clean water to more than 100,000 people.

The organisation’s International Partnerships Director, TJ Grant, says this year’s World Vision 40 Hour Challenge will mean the organisation can reach even more people with clean water.

“Now is the time for young New Zealanders to come up with fun and creative challenges that they can do for the World Vision 40 Hour Challenge. It’s great to have Caleb and Johnny bring their energy to the event this year, encouraging youth to sign up and have fun!” he says.

The challenges can be as simple as going 40 hours using just 40 litres of water, doing 40 acts of kindness, or running or swimming 40km in 40 hours.

Fundraising efforts will help World Vision continue to:
  • Build new water systems so entire villages will have clean water close to home
  • Bring emergency water to refugee camps
  • Provide schools hand-washing stations to protect students from diseases
  • Train community members to maintain water pumps so that clean water continues to flow for years to come

World Vision aims to bring clean water to everyone, everywhere it works by 2030.

“Having clean water may seem like a small thing, and something many of us take for granted, but the impact is huge. We all have the power to make a difference and bring clean water to these kids who need it most. We can’t wait to see Kiwis join us and take part in the World Vision 40 Hour Challenge this year,” Caleb says.

Sign-up at to be part of the World Vision 40 Hour Challenge today. Follow @40hourNZ

For more information or images please contact:
Kirsty Jones
09 580 7753 or


The World Vision 40 Hour Challenge (formerly called the World Vision 40 Hour Famine) is New Zealand’s largest youth fundraising campaign.

Every year, tens of thousands of young Kiwis take a stand by taking on a 40 Hour Challenge to raise money and bring hope to thousands of children living in poverty in more than 40 countries.

So far, more than three million New Zealanders have participated and over $80 million has been raised – helping to transform thousands of lives both here in New Zealand, and around the world.

This year the name is changing to The World Vision 40 Hour Challenge to reflect both the way young people choose to take part through a wide variety of challenges, and the broad scope of causes the campaign supports.