Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Walking 3 Hours to Fetch Water
Georgie was born in the Ivory Coast. She is the 5th child out of 10 brothers and sisters. Georgie spent a lot of her childhood in the village of Koffikro, where she used to wake up every morning at 6 AM to fetch water with her grandmother and female cousins. Fetching water wasn’t Georgie’s favorite thing to do, and Georgie wasn’t a morning person. She often went to the back of the house and cried for some time, kicking the dust before grabbing her bucket to go fetch the water.
Georgie and her family walked 3 hours back and forth to fill their barrel of water, fetching 59 gallons of water per barrel. In Georgie’s culture, fetching water was considered to be the mission of young girls or women. Her brothers and male cousins were allowed to sleep while her and the other girls in the house had to go fetch the water.
Georgie had a hard time accepting this gender inequality. At night, before going to bed, Georgie would ask her grandmother “why is the water so far? Why do we have to boil the water before we drink it?” Her grandmother replied that Georgie asked too many questions. However, her grandmother secretly had faith that one day Georgie would grow up and do something about them.
From walking to fetch water to Miss Burkina Faso, Miss Africa and the International Runway
Georgie became Miss Burkina Faso in 2003 and then Miss Africa in 2004. Shortly after being crowned Miss Africa, Georgie began her modeling career in Paris, France. Her client list includes Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Lanvin, Zan Toi, and Diane von Furstenberg. She has been featured in both Russian and Italian Vogue, Marie Claire, GQ, Essence, and many other publications.
Her modeling career eventually brought her to New York, where Georgie began using her platform to tackle the issue of the lack of potable drinking water in her West African homeland. Georgie’s grandmother’s faith had come to life!
Raising Awareness with her Story
In 2016, Georgie co-created the children’s book The Water Princess with legendary illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and author Susan Verde. The Water Princess is a picture book that tells the story of Georgie’s life as a young girl who dreams of bringing clean water to her people. The story is set in Georgie’s original village of Goundi and was published by Penguin Random House.
After the success of The Water Princess, Georgie went on to publish a new children’s book Water Is Here in 2019 under her own imprint -- Princess GieGie Publishing. She also runs the Georgie Badiel Foundation, which is dedicated to building and restoring clean water wells in Burkina Faso.
Bringing Water Home
To date, the Georgie Badiel Foundation has provided over 270,000 people with access to clean water, all of whom had previously suffered from water scarcity. Georgie received her nation’s highest civilian honor, Chevalier de Merit Burkinabe, on February 28, 2018 at the Burkina Faso United Nations Mission in New York for her work bringing clean water to Burkina Faso.
She is married to Chid Liberty, a Liberian-American social entrepreneur.