Update: This project was completed and fully funded. A water treatment system was deployed to the Croix-des-Bouquets region of Haiti and is serving a community of about 1,500 people.
Today I’m excited to announce our first philanthropy project in partnership with Water Missions International. The goal? To raise $30,000 for a complete safe water project for a specific community in a developing or disaster ridden country.
My friends George and Molly Greene founded Water Missions International after hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras in 1998. At the time, George and Molly operated their own environmental engineering firm. They received a request for six water treatment systems, but they were unable to find any reliable existing solutions. So George said, “Water treatment isn’t rocket science. Let’s figure it out.” Forty-eight hours later, they had built their own fully functional water treatment system using off-the-shelf parts from a local hardware store. Engineering their own water purification system was only the first step, however, as George and Molly flew to Honduras to personally deliver and install the systems.
In the first village, the contaminated river water was choked with brown runoff from the hurricane. The villagers called it the “River of Death.” But when crystal clear, decontaminated water flowed from the treatment system, the villagers refused to drink it. George and Molly symbolically drank the first sips, and the villagers rushed forward to drink the water. Clearly, the human elements of change are just as important as the engineering elements. After that experience, George and Molly sold their engineering firm and founded Water Missions International.
Like us at two forty four a.m., the team at Water Missions International (WMI) are engineers and problem solvers; they engineer their own treatment systems and are involved in every step of the process. They identify communities, build and deliver water treatment systems, educate communities about clean water and hygiene, and follow up to ensure that the treatment systems continue to deliver sustainable safe water to the people. The Journal of Practicing Anthropology published that, in the 34 months after a WMI system has become operational, communities experience a 52% reduction of clinic visits for diarrheal diseases. Charity Navigator, which independently evaluates charities, has given Water Missions International the highest rating of 4-stars.
Inspired by the hard work, idealism, and goals at Water Missions, I volunteered in March 2010 at the non-profit’s headquarters in Charleston, SC. I packed chlorinators headed for Honduras with a group of volunteers, and I also began brainstorming with Molly about my future involvement. Being goal-oriented, I wanted to directly impact a community in a positive way. I learned that a typical Water Missions project costs $30,000, so I committed to a special “Project Locale” fundraiser in order to implement a complete safe water project.
For many months, I have been making donations to Water Missions International from the sales of Locale, and we are making great headway towards completing this project. We plan to implement and fully fund water treatment technology and education for a specific community. This community may be an impoverished village in South America or for refugees in disaster-stricken Pakistan, but as we come closer to our goal of $30,000 we will receive more details about which project we will take on. I encourage you, my users and friends, to help in reaching this goal by making donations under the name “Project Locale.” All donations made to Water Missions under “Project Locale” will be earmarked specifically for this project and won’t be used for any other purpose. Water Missions International is a Christian nonprofit organization, although all “Project Locale” donations will only be used for purchasing and implementing water purification technology. You can make your own donations to Water Missions International under “Project Locale” in one of the following ways:
Online: Donate on the Water Missions International online form. Be sure to choose a designation of “Other” and type in “Project Locale.”
Mail: Send checks to Water Missions International, P.O. Box 31258, Charleston, SC 29417. Be sure to put “Project Locale” in the “for” line.
Phone: Call Water Missions International at (843) 769-7395. Be sure to mention that your donation is through “Project Locale.”