Water Charity Spotlight: Water.org

by wfnblog on December 20, 2011

As another expression of our core commitment to Improve Water and the World, WaterFilters.NET is lifting up the work of major water charities. Here is one of ten non-profits to which we recently contributed.

Water.org is challenging the conventional approach to assisting people in developing nations. Their main goals are: 1) raising awareness of the world’s number one health problem, which is unsafe and inadequate water supplies; 2) raising funds to help overcome this major water crisis, “one community at a time.” The organization exists to generate a worldwide awareness of the water supply crisis, so that people can respond.

Water.org has as its mission “to inspire people to act.” They do so through the development of quality, sustainable water projects. They are experts at fostering these kinds of projects at a local community level. In fact, they promote innovative solutions to enable local residents to take a leading role in solving their own water supply issues. Water.org sees multiple benefits to working locally. Locally-based partners have a better understanding of how to navigate social, political and economic issues in their area that may impact projects. Local partners have greater savvy at leveraging local financial resources for cost-sharing in projects. They also have expertise that can help implement projects. Utilizing their gifts is far more cost effective than bringing in outside experts and workers.

Matt Damon co-founded Water.org, and launched a reusable water bottle campaign to help fund their work.

In essence, Water.org is convinced that “people in developing countries know best how to solve their own problems.” For this reason, they carefully screen and then form partnerships with organizations in the target countries, because they are part of the local culture. Water.org is not affiliated with any single partner organization. This flexibility enables them to seek out and fund organizations committed to the highest quality projects. Water.org works alongside these organizations in conversation to plan the type of project, what local materials to use, where it will be located and how much it will cost. By engaging the community, Water.org ensures that the technology selected for the project is appropriate to the local community and their particular situation. Because Water.org projects use locally available, relatively simple technology, materials are readily available. Thus, projects are easily implemented and quickly repaired when needed. The end result is “a solution tailored to the need of each community, instead of a technological fix the community has no way of maintaining.”

Every water system needs regular maintenance and occasional repair. Community members are trained with skills and strategies to deal with this. If it happens that communities encounter a problem they are unable to solve on their own, the community is able to contact the local partner organization for help. The routine maintenance fees collected by the communities’ water committees offset these costs. Assisting communities in addressing such issues is essential to the Water.org philosophy of providing lasting solutions to water supply needs.

Water.org envisions a future when everyone everywhere can take a safe drink of clean water. We can easily take for granted our immediate access to a safe drinking water supply. Yet nearly one billion people lack this most basic human need. A safe, clean water supply in developing nations frees people to live healthier, fuller, more productive lives.

Check out the charity’s website here.

Learn more about our Water Filters for Charity program here.

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