If you prayed, volunteered your time, gave a gift, or supported Water Mission in other ways throughout the past year, then you helped us serve more than 600,000 people with safe water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions in 2019.
Together, we were the hands and feet of Christ. We…
- completed safe water projects in 182 communities and 20 countries,
- provided desperately needed safe water to survivors of natural disasters,
- traveled to rural areas around the world to install sustainable safe water and sanitation systems,
- and helped refugees fleeing violence and persecution.
We are so grateful for God’s blessings and your support this year. Before we turn the page on 2019, let’s look back at our work the past 12 months to help end the global water crisis.
January 2019 marked nine years since Haiti suffered a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the country. Water Mission staff, volunteers, and partners came together to support Haitian communities affected by the earthquake and ensuing cholera outbreak. Since the earthquake, our team has installed more than 150 water treatment systems in Haiti and provided safe water to 250,000 people.
Cyclone Idai swept through southeastern Africa in March, leaving behind a wake of destruction. In order to provide safe water and prevent cholera outbreaks, Water Mission moved quickly to install safe water systems for displaced people and relief workers in both Malawi and Mozambique. Water Mission set up tap stands at a camp in Malawi, making safe water reliable and accessible for families displaced by the cyclone.
On April 7, World Health Day, we reflected on the global health crises that affect our neighbors around the world. Today, waterborne illnesses remain a leading cause of death around the world, according to the World Health Organization. At any given time, research suggests that 50 percent of hospital beds in the developing world are filled with people suffering from water-related diseases. We talked about the devastating impact of dirty water on the health of billions of people globally, including the community of Nina Rumi, Peru.
While regional walks take place across the country at various times of the year, our annual flagship walk is held close to Water Mission’s headquarters. On March 30, over 4,700 people participated in our Walk for Water at North Charleston’s Riverfront Park. They walked the three-mile route to raise awareness about the global water crisis and to support the 2.1 billion people who still lack access to safe water. Along the way, they heard or read stories on the global water crisis, learning about the enormous and urgent need for safe water around the world.
Water Mission partnered with ASELSI, a nonprofit organization based in Guatemala, to provide basic theology training to new churchgoers in Mexico. Water Mission’s country program director in Mexico, Johnny Bermudez, said, “The people who receive these trainings can become pastors or leaders that will impact their local communities.” This development is a large part of Water Mission’s overall vision that everyone have safe water and an opportunity to experience God’s love, particularly through our partnerships with local churches.
For Mother’s Day, we talked about the disproportionate effects of the global water crisis on women and girls. We also shared Alice Kabula’s story. Alice is a farmer and seamstress in Uganda who cares for 13 children. As women and girls around the world bear the primary responsibility of collecting water, Alice and her daughters used to spend hours away from their work or studies to collect dirty water. Now, thanks to our generous partners and supporters, it takes Alice only minutes to fetch water from a nearby tap stand. With more time, Alice can care for her children and volunteer with Water Mission to promote healthy WASH behaviors in her community.
In this post, we gave you nine facts about the global refugee crisis – including the unprecedented number of people who’ve been displaced by war, violence, and poverty around the world. Today, more than 70 million people are living in refugee camps and settlements. We also share how clean, safe water is both an urgent and long-term need for refugees.
We shared the story of Conswello Chavez, a mother in Mexico who purchased supposedly purified bottled water until it began making her children sick. Water Mission began working near Conswello’s home, providing residents with safe water and teaching them healthy water, sanitation, and hygiene behaviors. Conswello attended these educational programs and learned how water can be clear but still contaminated. She now runs a small store and sells bottled water tested and treated by Water Mission – water that is safe for consumption.
Jacob Adoram Hendrickson completed a 7,145-mile rowing journey across the Pacific Ocean in support of Water Mission. He was the first person to row the entire Pacific solo, without any aid. His route began in Washington state and ended in Queensland, Australia. In our interview, he discussed his boat’s design, his special equipment, and the reasons why he set off on the journey – including raising awareness about the global water crisis.
Water Mission has partnered with the Poul Due Jensen Foundation (PDJF) on several projects and recently joined them again for the Kenya 23 Next Level initiative. Water Mission and PDJF have been working together in Kenya to improve existing safe water systems, install new systems, and incorporate new technologies. Together, our aim is to serve more than 55,000 people across several communities. Our conversation with Nils Thorup, Program Manager for Water at PDJF, expands upon our partnership and the importance of community development in these safe water projects.
On August 19th, World Humanitarian Day, we celebrated our women humanitarians serving in more than 10 countries. These female staff make our work possible. They are strong women who serve and lead on all our teams across the world, and their expertise and presence encourage female community members, including young girls, to engage in our safe water projects and WASH training.
In August, Water Mission staff members attended World Water Week, hosted by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in Stockholm, Sweden. More than 4,000 participants from 1,200 organizations and 127 countries gathered at the conference. Our representatives emphasized the need for collaboration within the water sector and for meaningful engagement with the rural communities we serve.
We responded to the destruction left by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas at the beginning of September. Stored water supplies and freshwater sources were destroyed and contaminated, leaving locals without safe water. We have been using reverse osmosis, a process that filters and treats saltwater, to produce over 450,000 gallons of safe water to date. As we did in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, we plan to assist local leaders and communities in long-term reconstruction.
Your commitment to fighting the global water crisis builds hope and transforms lives every day. Because of your prayers and generosity, Water Mission can respond swiftly when disasters strike, expand ongoing work in our nine country programs, and continuously improve our approach through research and development. Thank you for partnering with us this past year.
May the Lord bless you and yours in 2020! And may we continue to work together as the hands and feet of Christ – sharing safe water and God’s love with all.
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