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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.

To support the students of Classen SAS Wish Week donate here » 

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

Learn about Wishing Well


Ryan Groves
Wishing Well

 

From Brownie Points to Well Wishes — Rylie’s Story

Rylie’s Girl Scout troop worked together to learn about the water crisis and contribute to a well project.

Have you ever felt like you can’t possibly make a difference? Oftentimes we feel powerless to make any lasting impact in the world we live in, but 4th grader Rylie refused to believe that.  She educated others and brought people together with the common goal of raising money to build a well.  Rylie proves that together we can do great things and shows that the power of determination can be stronger than any perceived obstacle.

Rylie first became involved with the Water Project in 2011 while her Brownie troop was working on a badge.  The girls learned about the scarcity of clean water in much of the world, and they contributed funds from their cookies sales to the project.  Their contribution in and of itself is wonderful, but what is most impressive is the knowledge that Rylie carried forward from that experience.

Last year her 4th grade class studied the global impact of clean water, and the children were overwhelmed by the problem.  They wanted to do something to help, but they felt there was no way they could make an impact.  That is, until Rylie stepped forward and told her story.

Continue Reading »

 

A Look Ahead to 2013

The TWP Team

Our team, serving locally this Christmas at a food bank here in Concord.

We have big plans for 2013 and we need your help to make them happen.

Would you take a moment to read this important letter from our founder and consider how you’ll join us?

Read: Growing Deeper in 2013
A Letter from our Founder »