Matt Damon may have become one of the most marketable stars in the Film industry in recent years but the affable action hero also cares about his fellow man and (especially) woman. Known to millions of fans as the leading character on screen in the Bourne franchise, the level-headed 45-year-old has a new mission to ensure that the developing world has improved access to drinking water.

Clean running water for the population

Being aware that his status affords him the opportunity to make people sit up and listen, Damon is attempting to give something back to the planet.

Through the auspices of his charity ‘’ – now into its second year of existence – he is aiming big, targeting the lofty ambition of clean running water for the entire planet’s population “within a generation.”

Acting successes

His current popularity seems to be at its height. On the acting front he has accepted the plaudits for his role in the sci-fi movie “The Martian, receiving an Oscar nomination in the process.

Damon also resumes his part as Jason Bourne this year in the fifth film in the successful series, after Jeremy Renner took over last time around. Only James Bond exceeds Bourne when it comes to marketable global spy film franchises. Much of that success is down to the returning star, who last took on the leading role almost a decade ago in “The Bourne Ultimatum” and will once again hook up with director Paul Greengrass.

As self-deprecating as ever, Damon is all too aware of the sensitivity within the industry created by the ‘all-white’ list of actors put forward for this year’s Academy Awards top honours. Recognising the honour of making the shortlist, he also acknowledges that “the lack of diversity is embarrassing.”

Moved by meeting in Zambia

The background to his charity interest makes an intriguing narrative in itself.

Whilst on a project for another charity in Zambia a few years back, he had the opportunity to chat with a small girl who was typically (for girls of her age) fetching and carrying water. She shared her career aspirations with the actor, hopes and dreams that seemed a distant possibility given her current predicament.

That meeting struck a chord with Damon and he resolved to make a positive step towards making more dreams come true in the developing world countries.

His campaign ‘#buyaladyadrink’ is seeking to raise funds to ultimately put an end to women and young children being prevented from improving their education, by having to find water for their very survival.

Female-dominated home life

His determination is no doubt fuelled by the female-dominated but happy home life he has personally. Married to his Argentinian wife, Luciana Barroso for the past ten years, he has four daughters to think of. Damon’s intention to eventually take his children to see for themselves what life is really like in the developing world is his way of keeping them grounded, despite the trappings associated with their privileged existence.

Other stars utilising their status

Damon is not the only Hollywood star to branch out into other areas that interest them and which they feel they can make a difference.

His good friend Leonardo DiCaprio – also in the running for Oscar success with “The Revenant” – is a firm advocate of making people more aware of the global perils from climate change.

British star Emma Watson, who rose to prominence through the Harry Potter films, has also sought to utilise her status through her work as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. As such she has been able to help to launch the UN Women campaign ‘HeForShe’, which urges men to support gender equality.