GivePower: Turning Salt Water into Safe Drinking Water in Kenya


SEATTLE, Washington — A nonprofit organization is making waves literally and figuratively through its new invention that could potentially solve the global water crisis. The NGO GivePower installed its first solar farm in Kenya in August 2018, which turns salt water into safe drinking water, effectively allowing more than 35,000 people access to clean water.

Clean Water Shortages Worldwide

Widespread use of GivePower’s technology could end water shortages across developing countries. The NGO is already expanding its efforts in countries like Haiti and Guatemala in 2020 due to the pressing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 36,000 gallons of saltwater converted into drinking water thus far.

In Kenya, one-third of the population does not have access to clean drinking water, and two billion people around the world suffer from water shortages. Kenyans usually have to travel long distances to get clean water. Since fresh drinking water is scarce, people also bathe and wash clothes using saltwater, which can be damaging to the skin. Water scarcity is a serious issue in many developing countries and is a significant contributing factor to global poverty.

Why Solar Energy?

Due to GivePower’s technology, getting clean water might no longer be an issue in developing countries. Founded in 2013, this NGO provides sustainable energy to disadvantaged regions of the world that need the most assistance. Alongside its solar farms that provide access to clean water, GivePower also uses solar energy to power schools in developing regions.

Through the use of solar energy, the NGO is able to provide a long-term solution for the inhabitants of Kiunga, Kenya, where it first deployed the solar water farm. Kenya’s dry climate is not suitable for wells or water collection, especially after years of droughts. Thus, GivePower’s technologies present a unique solution that provides clean drinking water at no cost to the environment and without reliance on rain or groundwater. The process of turning ocean water into safe drinking water requires many resources. Hence, the organization uses solar panels to create 50 kilowatts of energy that powers water pumps, providing 24-hour access to clean drinking water.

Having this new technology means that waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery will no longer be an issue, and residents will have more water at their disposal that they can use for sanitary and medical purposes.

GivePower’s Notable Achievements

CEO Hayes Barnard accepted an award for his innovation and noted that the water crisis “keeps growing at an alarming rate.” GivePower is the first U.S.-based nonprofit to receive an award for the solar water farm invention.

Through his innovative efforts, Barnard and GivePower are combatting global poverty by addressing water scarcity in impoverished parts of the world like Africa and South America that have high rates of poverty and are more susceptible to diseases due to poor water quality. The widespread impact of GivePower’s solar water farms could potentially solve the global water crisis because of its many capabilities and benefits.


Despite water being a necessity for everybody, it is a rare commodity in developing countries as it is challenging to obtain. Many factors play into global water insecurity, including poverty and proximity to clean water. As such, this severe issue needs innovative solutions to provide life-saving water in remote areas where access to safe drinking water is not easily obtained. GivePower is filling in the gaps in technology by developing unique solutions that address water inequity on a larger scale and in varying environments. Recently, the UAE Water Aid Foundation began supporting GivePower’s efforts, allowing it to create more solar water farms for countries suffering from water shortages.

—Xenia Gonikberg
Photo: Flickr


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