CONCORD, New Hampshire – One in eight people do not have clean water to drink; 884 million individuals worldwide do not have access to a fresh water supply.
According to Water.org, each year more than 3.4 million people die from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Roughly 99% of these deaths occur in the developing world.
These are precisely the types of problems The Water Project is trying to tackle with their innovative methods. The Water Project “works to unlock human potential by providing sustainable water projects to communities in sub-Saharan Africa.”
This non-profit organization strives to bring relief to communities around the world that endure life without clean water and adequate sanitation. On their website, they promote serving others as their goal, as well as listening first and acting carefully.
Water is an essential aspect of life, vital to the survival of any organism on the planet. Without water, an individual cannot survive for more than six days. After one hour, 171 children die from a water related disease, the majority of which are caused by fecal-contaminated water sources.
The Water Project works to ensure that individuals have clean water not only by building wells, but projects themselves. Each particular village that they provide water for requires a specific plan. Rather than using “default” technology that does not work for that demographic or area, The Water Project caters to the precise facets of what each region lacks.
By working with the communities involved, rather than just leading the way, The Water Project is able to truly assist and create a system that functions best for the people. They are able to develop water programs alongside those who will be actually using the system.
For seven years, their methods have proven to be the core of how they have grown as an organization. The Water Project grows and learns by going and doing, taking risks, making mistakes, and always listening.
They take action through being deeply involved in the projects and immersing themselves in the hard physical work of providing water. Their risks consist of investing in new and innovative contributors; a vital aspect in acquiring the funds towards solving the water crisis.
Making mistakes involves the risks, two of which go hand in hand. The experiences that they endure allow for them to learn for future tasks, making other water projects go more smoothly.
By always listening, The Water Project is constantly learning and developing ways to better fight the water crisis that currently plagues millions.
As humble as their efforts are, the work that is done is far from futile. Equipping non-governmental organizations and missionaries with an established in-country presence provides multiplied assistance.
Currently, The Water Project has programs running in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Uganda. In Burkina Faso, they are working to repair many broken well pumps that hinder the access of clean water.
In Kenya, clean water is essential for the children to have an education. By creating wells at schools, churches, and community centers, they provide the students with a hopeful future. Over 443 million school days are lost every year due to water-related illnesses.
The differences that The Water Project are helping to make affect not only the water sources, but also the economies of those nations. A lack of stable water sources hinders any other progressive actions necessary for stimulating an economy.
If there is anything that The Water Project organization has learned thus far, what might it be?
“We’ve learned that water doesn’t change anything. People do.”
– Samaria Garrett
Sources: Water, The Water Project
Photo: My World Vision