First Cup

Water Aid and Don't Panic

Unusual in its approach, ‘First Cup’ begins at the end. It tells the story of a village where the local community is celebrating the newly completed borehole installed in partnership with WaterAid. Instead of showcasing the need like many third sector campaigns, we chose to highlight the impact.

The campaign was co-created with a community in Zomba, Malawi that had received clean water as a result of WaterAid. Don’t Panic spent time immersed in the community, where insights from this trip fed into the creative ideas and proved invaluable in shaping the campaign's creative direction. A few months later, the team returned to shoot “First Cup” without a final script, casting locally.

The story follows young Lucia, who, as the village celebrates having reliable access to clean water for the first time, runs to the water pump and grabs the first cup of clean water as she passes. We see her carefully make her way through the countryside, handing the first cup to her grandmother, a woman who spent her life without clean water, so that she can be the first to drink it.

The film was screened across UK cinemas, TV (including Channel 4 and ITV), and across socials.