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Scaling Up for Greater Impact

Water Mission's booth at SIWI World Water Week.

Water Mission is poised to be a catalyst for change in the water sector.

We are now recognized globally for our expertise in solar-powered water pumping, remote monitoring, water treatment standards, pricing models, and community development. We’ve come a long way from our grassroots beginnings – what began with Dr. George and Molly Greene following the Lord’s call to start an engineering ministry has now served more than 3.6 million people worldwide with safe water solutions.

Water Mission Uganda

“[As we] continue raising standards, increasing the sustainability and quality of our project construction and design, we can’t operate in a vacuum in Charleston,” Executive Vice President of Programs Seth Womble shared. “It’s important for us to be a part of the global discussion, learning and seeing where the WASH sector is moving.”

“We want to bring 2.1 billion people safe water. Water Mission can’t do that alone.”

– Seth Womble, Executive VP of Programs

It is on this foundation that George Greene IV (President and COO), Seth Womble (Executive VP of Programs), Michael Bazira (Uganda Director), Andrew Armstrong (Director of Community Development), and Craig Williams (Disaster Response Coordinator) recently attended Stockholm International Water Institute’s (SIWI) World Water Week Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, for the second year.

George Greene IV and Seth Womble with partner organization ADRA.

During World Water Week, we connected with more than 380 water-focused organizations and corporations from 135 countries around the world. We are all working to accomplish the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

To accomplish this monumental goal – and the 16 other SDGs – by 2030 as intended, significantly more funding is required than what the attending organizations collectively possess. Meeting SDG #6 would require an estimated $114 billion per year for construction and 1.5 times that amount for maintenance. Securing this level of investment from donors, private organizations, and governments is an overwhelming challenge and a theme that permeated countless discussions over the course of World Water Week. As Seth summarized it, “The focus is on finding the extra funding to leave no one behind in accomplishing the SDGs by 2030.”

Water Mission's booth at SIWI World Water Week.

The return on investment of achieving the SDGs is immense in the developing world, but it is not always as tangible and clear-cut to investors in the Western world. One promising idea presented was to rely on impact investing, a model that emphasizes individuals’ willingness to invest in organizations that prove their ongoing, successful achievement of transformative goals like the SDGs, even when the financial return on investment for the individual is minimal.

Michael Bazira at Water Mission's booth.

At this year’s event, the focus on “[leaving] no one behind” was also evident in the many recent innovations presented in the realm of “sustainable, market-based models for delivering safe water to people at the bottom of the pyramid,” according to Water Mission Uganda Director Michael Bazira.

Seth Womble and Michael Bazira.

Since its inception, Water Mission has maintained a unique focus on reaching these rural, remote communities – a focus that has, in the past, prompted questions about the long-term financial sustainability of our water projects. It was powerful to have a global platform to continue advocating for the viability and importance of delivering water to communities that are so often left behind, using data from projects we’ve implemented around the world.

Water quality testing

After an impactful week in Stockholm, Michael Bazira shared that we are “looking forward to [continuing] the process of reviewing our own safe water project management models and scaling up for greater impact.” With 2.1 billion people still lacking access to safe water, there is much to be done, but we know that it is possible to end the global water crisis. We’re thankful today for the more than 380 organizations we met in Stockholm that believe the same thing.

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