Water Matters

The latest on our work and those supporting it

Well by Well – We Can Do That

We all know how much our military men and women give in service to our country, but LT Jared N. Smith, Command Chaplain in the Naval Air Facility El Centro, also encourages his congregation to give generously to important causes like The Water Project.


The Navy must donate the congregation’s weekly collection to non- profit organizations, and Jared makes sure that they give to local, national, and global causes.  After hearing about The Water Project from a donation his brother made and learning more about water scarcity, Jared decided to give some of the congregation’s funds to fight water scarcity.

Jared says that the water crisis is something that some Navy men and women have experienced firsthand. Before entering the military, he had such an experience. Jared spent three weeks in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he saw people walk miles for dirty water with no clean water available. “The most motivating factor for me to give is that I have seen the people who are impacted by this work, and I encourage those who have had these experiences to tell our stories of the people affected.”

LT Jared N. Smith, Command Chaplain in the Naval Air Facility El Centro

The money that Jared’s congregation donates is given to be used wherever it is needed.  He says it’s important to support the effort however necessary because addressing water scarcity is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty.

His humility and the generosity of his congregation just add to the admiration we hold for our service men and women who give so selflessly in so many ways. Jared believes that we can all work to end the water crisis.

Knowing how tirelessly our men and women of the military work can inspire us all to do our part in ending this crisis. As Jared says, it will happen if we continue our hard work. “There’s no reason we cannot provide clean water to everyone in the world who needs it. . . well by well, town by town, village by village, country by country, we can do that.”

A school in Uganda is receiving clean water in part from the donations from Jared’s congregation. Check it out here. And give a salute in honor of Jared and our friends at the Chapel in El Centro.

 

“Do a good job, and work hard.”

Children can inspire us in so many ways; they have energy, enthusiasm, and an optimism for life that seems unquenchable.  At just five years old, Tayler is setting himself as an example for all of us. Read how this boy raised $500 but knew that he wanted to do more, showing  all of us how big dreams can grow from small beginnings, and how far hard work can take us.

Tayler collected donations for his Water Project.

Tayler has always loved Africa. He is fascinated with the animals and wants to visit one day. While he was eating a watermelon one day, he told his mother he wanted to send the seeds to Africa so they could have watermelon for food. When his mother, Kerry, explained that Africa does not have a lot of water and watermelon might not be able to grow, Tayler  wasn’t satisfied. “They couldn’t grow watermelons without water, so I wanted to send them water,” he said. Together, he and his mother looked online to see how they might be able to do that, and they found The Water Project.

Tayler’s first $500 for his water project came from asking family and friends to contribute to his water jug when they came to the house. He then put jugs in public places — a local store, the gym his mother goes to, and the secondary school where she teaches.

Still wanting to do more, Tayler and his Mom approached the school, LaSalle Secondary School, to make a presentation. He did a slide show for approximately 200 students, and even  put a jug on his head to demonstrate how they carry water in Africa. The students were so motivated they did a Walk for Water, walking the streets with jugs on their heads to raise money for the project. Tayler’s influence multiplied as he and the students collected money for the well, going to houses and telling about the project. Together, they added another $3,400 to the project!

LaSalle Secondary School students join Tayler on his Walk for Water.

Determined to earn enough to complete a project, Tayler is still working to reach his goal and as of this writing has raised almost $4,000!  Check it out! Tayler says he was surprised at how much money he raised and to learn about how so many people do not have clean water in Africa.

His advice to other people who might want to help with their own water project?  “Do a good job, and work hard.”

Do a good job, and work hard. Simple advice, but so very wise. Tayler’s project can remind us of the infinite possibilities created when we do just that.

Want to help Taylor reach his goal? Donate to his fundraising page. Together, it can happen.

 

TWP demonstrates commitment to Turkana as Public Health Campaign gets under way

 

Back in January I wrote a blog piece detailing the beginnings of our Public Health Campaign in Turkana, Northern Kenya. You can read that piece here. A couple of months later, and things are really starting to move. James Lobokan is coordinating the campaign from Lodwar Town, and his latest report really gives an insight into the potential impact of the initiative. TWP is committed to this part of Kenya for the long term, and the 18 month programme is broad based and varied in it’s content. Here’s a summary of what’s happening on the ground:

The three main areas that we are focusing on are Kakiring Village, Lolupe Village, and House of Hope Orphanage. James is responsible for running hygiene promotion programmes with the people at these three centres, as well as ensuring that the water management committees are functioning well and that maintenance issues are being dealt with properly and efficiently.

One of the main things he’s been helping community members do is register their committees as self help groups with the government and, thereafter, open bank accounts. Households are required to contribute a small monthly fee for maintenance of the facility, which ensures against future breakdown. This is often a weakness of water and sanitation systems, as communities fail to maintain their contributions over time. We’re hopeful that with official registration and the regular visits James is undertaking, contributions will be consistent.

At this early stage in the campaign, James is also working to establish the main areas of concern regarding community health. For both Lolupe and Kakiring heath facilities are as far as 20km away. James is a trained physician, and is able to treat minor ailments in the field, but moreover he is working hard to educate the people about personal health issues, and is focused on helping people access facilities where ever possible. We see collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health as vital in these efforts, and again James is working to ensure the community are aware of how best to access services.

Clearly a key aspect of health is nutrition. Therefore, alongside the hygiene and public health focus, James is also training local people on agricultural practices. At House of Hope there are already two greenhouses in operation, as our partner SERV International works hard on food security. Using the orphanage as a model, James is currently identifying individuals to be trained in greenhouse management at the village level. In the future we dream that these recently settled communities will be able to improve their access to nutritious food though growing their own tomatoes, kale and  other vegetables.

So it’s a great start. Hygiene, community management of water supply, public health education and agricultural training wrapped up in a complete package. We’re delighted at how well things have started, and look forward to sharing future aspects of this innovative programme.

Thanks for reading!

 

Overture: An Evening at Classen HS Wish Week

Last Monday, around 8pm I walked into a small coffee shop in Oklahoma City. Most nights “The Bean and Leaf” is a sleepy restaurant tucked between a liquor store and a closed down burger joint, but that night it was positively humming with activity.

The place was packed from wall to wall for Classen High School’s “Wish Week” Open Mic Night. “Wish Week” is five beautiful days where the students of Classen come together and put on a variety of amazing events and crazy fundraisers to raise money for clean water.

Throughout the night there were songs, poems, and some really impressive art work all created by the students at Classen. To be honest, not all of it was “American Idol” perfect. It didn’t have to be. There were plenty of wrong notes, miffed lyrics, and shaky hands delivering poems in public that were written in private. But the night was so much bigger than that, the things that brought us together more grand. Out of tune guitars were soon fixed and there was never an awkward silence that didn’t receive a reassuring laugh and cheer from the crowd.

Last Monday, for about 3 hours, we were a family. What mattered was a cause that brought us together. Every piece of art, every stanza, every song (good and bad) was our way of dreaming up a new world together. A world where every one has access to something as simple, beautiful, and powerful as clean water. Our open mic night had become the overture for a symphony about to play out across the world.

Students of Classen SAS Wish Week Fundraising Crew

By this Friday, the students of this small inner city high school are going to have raised their goal of $10,000. I won’t be surprised if they beat it. Their power comes from a community who are beginning to realize their creative potential to do good in the world around them.

My hope is that you would join us in doing the same.

You can start your own Wish Week or other campaign too…


Ryan Groves
Wishing Well