It’s World Water Day!

Today is all about community…

World Water Day is a chance for us to cheer about our community (you!) and most importantly the communities we serve in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and most recently Burkina Faso.

Water is something we all share. It’s a community resource. Making sure we all have access to the 1% of the earth’s water we can actually drink will always require that we work together.

So, this World Water Day, we want to take a moment to celebrate how community makes that happen.


Thank you. Your Voice Matters.

Over the past few years, thousands of you rallied your own local community to help provide clean, safe water to villages in Africa.

From car washes (like this one at Cashmere High in New Zealand), to bake sales, water walks, talent shows, and even teeter-tottering, you helped build a first step – access to clean, safe water.

And right now, tens of thousands of people are building on that foundation. Developing communities are using their new resource everyday – not just to survive, but to thrive and work toward an even better tomorrow – just like you do.

Without your voice, in your community, this wouldn’t be possible.  So to better celebrate World Water Day, why not take a moment to invite someone new to the story?

Head over to Facebook or Twitter and post an update about what we’re doing together.  Encourage your friends to “Like” or “Follow Us“.

Together we can make an even bigger impact.  (For fun, for every 100 new likes we get we’ll give away a water bottle to a random follower.)


People Change Everything.

We know that the greatest accomplishments and the most exciting new ideas made possible by our work won’t simply pour out from the tap of a new well. They’ll come from the hands and minds of the people who use it.

People change everything. Clean, safe water helps make that possible.

That’s why today is most importantly a chance to celebrate the amazing communities we are privileged to partner with in countries like Kenya.

One of the most recent success stories is unfolding in Mtito Andei, a small town on the road between Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya

Here, TWP’s partner, The Africa Sand Dam Foundation, is working with the Kakai Self Help Group. The people of Kakai have organized themselves into a team comprised of 22 men and 18 women.  This leadership team plays an integral role in mobilizing the rest of the community as they work to construct a sand dam and shallow well.

Sand dams are an amazing type of water project.  And it’s why we’re really excited about our new partnership with ASDF.

A sand dam traps seasonal rain behind a small dam.  Over time it fills with sediment (sand) which traps water.  That water can be collected for drinking, but it also raises the surrounding water table making agriculture much more sustainable.

These projects help provide what is called “food security” – an assurance that what you plant you’ll be reasonably certain you can harvest.   Access to water and food security can go hand and hand, and the U.N. just happens to be focused on it this World Water Day.

Sand dam full of water, just after it was completed

What we love most about these projects though, is that it’s the communities who build them.  From gathering stone, to mixing concrete, building forms and putting it all together – there’s work for everyone.  Your support helps pay for supplies, engineers, well pumps and training.  But it’s the community that makes it happen.  In the end, the size of the dam and the incredible amount of water it stores is only eclipsed by the pride of ownership the community will have.

We hope you’ll watch as we work to fund another ten of these large scale sand dam projects this year.

Maybe you’ll even want to join in too.  Happy World Water Day!

Time to Celebrate?

Today, the World Health Organization and Unicef Joint Monitoring Program released a report that the world has met the drinking water target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

There’s no question that the latest report from the folks tracking progress of this MDG contains a lot of good news.  Millions of people throughout the world have received “improved” (not necessarily clean or safe) access to water over the last decade.

Many good people have been working hard during that time to focus the world’s attention on what we know to be a foundational building block in improving people’s lives – access to clean, safe water.  We’re keenly aware that without goals like these and the attention they generate, the progress we see today would likely have been far less.

So, first let’s celebrate that.  A rising tide indeed floats a lot of boats.

At the same time though, let’s not get carried away in claiming “success” in meeting any goal just yet. There is far too much work left to do.


Boy, Do We Have a Great Date for You!

Been thinking about doing something for the first time, or even a second or third time, to help bring clean water to those in need?  Boy, do we have a great date for you!  Grab a pen, your iPhone, your family calendar, or your church bulletin; and mark down Thursday, March 22nd.  This day is set aside each year as World Water Day (WWD), where people all over the world talk about water, and its vital importance.

WWD is no small thing!  The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.  Each year since 1993 people have been getting out there and making a splash in their world for clean water.

This year’s focus is Water and Food Security.  Did you know that 70% of the water used in the world is used for agriculture?  Growing food takes tons of water, literally!  In fact, it takes about 3963 gallons of water to produce just 2 pounds of beef!  So without adequate water, people can’t grow adequate food.  Having access to clean, reliable water sources is important not just for drinking, bathing, and other hygiene practices, but for growing food.

Join us this year, and do something to commemorate WWD this March 22nd.  Host a fundraising event like a walk for water, take the Water Challenge, run in a road-race and get sponsors, and give the gift of clean water to those who do not have it.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and re-post the news and project updates we post.  Check out our Get Involved page for more ideas about how you can make this year’s World Water day a wave of success!

And invite a friend!  May as well ‘make it a date’!


Chats with Jack – Monthly Calls with Colleges and Universities

Tess with children in Rwanda; see the woman carrying water in the background?

In the late autumn of 2011 we started meeting via Webex each month with students from colleges and universities all over the country.  Our goal?  To connect them to other like-minded peers and leaders who are interested in being a part of the solution to the economic water crisis that keeps millions without access to clean, reliable water sources.

In December we began recording the calls; I tell you, this is so fun!   So why bother doing the recording?  So we can share news from the field, and begin to catalog conversations that others (like you) can listen to and learn from, at your leisure!

Jack, the voice from the field

For our December call we had an interview with Jack Owen, our Program Manager, where we heard about a pilot project we are beginning in Kenya with a Field Partner, Pamoja Trust.   Working in informal urban settlements around Mombasa, the pilot project will establish two water kiosks, provide hygiene and sanitation training, and is expected to serve between 2500-3000 people.  Listen to our chat with Jack by clicking this link, and hear more details about this project, and stories of changed lives.

What’s next in our line up of recorded topics?  Keep your eyes open for topics such as ‘Time is Money Water!’ (to be recorded during our Jan. 25th call),  ‘Technology Spotlight’, and others.  Have ideas for discussion topics?  Write to us!  We’d like to hear from you.

“Catch you on the radio”, as they say!