Lifewater A Non-Profit Christian Water Development Organization Fri, 26 May 2017 19:24:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lifewater 32 32 Kids Helping Others: How Two Classrooms Made a Difference Fri, 19 May 2017 18:03:34 +0000 There are kids helping others all over the world. Learn how kindergarteners in Brazil and 5th graders in California found creative ways to give safe water.

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It’s inspiring to see kids helping others. We were inspired by a couple stories recently of young students who used their energy, intelligence, imagination, and love to serve those who do not have safe water.

Globally, nearly half of those living in extreme poverty are under age 15, and hundreds of millions of children lack access to safe water. Lack of safe water and sanitation is a leading cause of death for children under 5. Preventable water-borne diseases keep kids out of school and limit their opportunities to live dignified, healthy lives.

You Can Make a Difference: Give Clean Water >

Making a Difference Day in São Paulo

Kids helping others in Brazil

In São Paulo, Brazil, Kindergarten children at St. Nicholas School learned about the importance of water in their lives. When they learned that it is a finite resource and not available to everyone, they decided to do something about it.

To promote awareness among their classmates at the school, these five-years-olds shared their learning with the other groups. They created posters to put up around school and went to other classrooms to make presentations about different ways of saving water. Teacher Jennifer Fletcher reported that her students “decided to raise money to help in some way,” and promoted a MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY, encouraging other pupils to donate to Lifewater.

Thank you kindergartners at St. Nicholas! Thank you for your courage. You are an amazing example of kids helping others!

6,500 miles away…

A “Wax Museum” Fundraiser in California

In Dublin, California, 5th graders at Valley Christian School organized a fundraiser for safe water by using the past. Students completed projects each highlighting one important figure from American history. Then they organized a wax museum event where they all dressed as the figures they studied and collected donations for their characters.

Kids helping others with creative ideas

Kristine Littauer at Valley Christian shared, “The wax museum was a big hit! The fifth graders were amazing, and each one of them worked so hard to raise money for Lifewater! We raised $1840.30!”

Thank you 5th graders at Valley Christian School, for being the kind of kids who sincerely want to help others get safe water. Thank you for your hard work. We are so excited to see God using your talents and passion to help others around the world!

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Drilling Water Wells In Africa With A Deep Well Drill Rig Tue, 16 May 2017 21:32:34 +0000 Lifewater has been drilling water wells in Africa for nearly 40 years. Help us reach rural parts of Ethiopia and drill deeper wells than we've ever drilled.

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Lifewater has been drilling water wells in Africa for nearly 40 years, beginning with our first trip to Kenya in 1981. This year, we’re starting something new–the first-ever Lifewater operated deep well drill rig. Without it, bringing water to the rural hill country of southern Ethiopia won’t be possible.

Help drill deep wells in southern Ethiopia >

We’re committed to bringing an end to the world’s water crisis, helping the 663 million people still living without safe water. As we get closer to this goal, the work becomes more difficult. Lifewater has always served the poor in the remote, rural areas of the world, and now most of those still without water live in ever more remote places.

For people like Ifnesa, a grandmother in Bensa, Ethiopia, access to safe water is a daily struggle. Ilfnesa walks about four miles round trip to gather two 40-pound jerry cans of water for her grandchildren. She makes this two-hour journey multiple times throughout her day.

When Hand-Dug Wells Aren’t Enough

In the rocky, dry areas of southern Ethiopia, hand-dug wells and protected springs are often not sufficient. A deep well is the only way to provide safe, clean water for Ifnesa and her family. In some areas where we are drilling water wells in Africa (such as Uganda), local drilling companies are available for hire. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Bensa: the terrain is difficult and the villages are hard to reach, so drilling companies in Ethiopia won’t work in the region.

Drilling water wells in Africa helps people like Ilfnesa.

That’s why Lifewater is designing and shipping a deep well drill rig custom built to serve the more than 100,000 people in and around the hills of southern Ethiopia. The rig will have two primary components: a compressor and a trailer mounted Simco 2800 mud and air rotary drill rig, towed to remote communities by a 4×4 vehicle. Our founder, Bill Ashe, was a pioneer, and this attribute is in our DNA. To honor his fearless and selfless legacy, we’ve named it “Bill the Drill.”

Bringing Every Child Safe Water

Recently, Lifewater celebrated 40 years of serving the poorest of the poor in remote, rural areas. What was once a dream is now our goal: every child has safe water. This rig will help us in drilling water wells in Africa and is a necessary next step in achieving that future. Will you dig deep with us?

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Clean Water Fundraiser: Kalamazoo Mud Run Tue, 16 May 2017 20:45:37 +0000 A clean water fundraiser can make a big impact in your community. Since 2012, the Kalamazoo Mud Run has served nearly 3,000 in Uganda with safe water.

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Hosting a clean water fundraiser is an excellent way to both raise money for safe water and also raise awareness for the global water crisis. We’re blessed here at Lifewater with creative partners who have found ways to turn their passion into a way to bring safe water and sanitation to people around the world. One of those partnerships is with the Kalamazoo Mud Run.

Do you have an idea for a clean water fundraiser? Let us know how we can help >

Getting Dirty for Clean Water

For the past few years, the Kalamazoo Mud Run has inspired and entertained thousands of people with its challenging course full of mud-licious obstacles. More importantly, those dirty athletes, along with race organizers, volunteers, and sponsors, have helped thousands more people get safe, clean drinking water.

The Mud Run requires athletes (and aspiring athletes) to make their way through 44 acres of woods, including 20 obstacles to climb, crawl, roll, and swing through along with copious amounts of mud. Participants often run in teams and raise money from friends and family for the cause, adopting the Mud Run’s mission to “Get Dirty for Clean Water.”

A clean water fundraiser sometimes means getting a little muddy.

How a Clean Water Fundraiser Makes an Impact

“We wanted to create a fun, unique experience that would not just provide funds for clean water, but would help empower people worldwide to make lasting health changes for their community,” says event coordinator Donn Raseman. “Lifewater shared our vision, and partnering together just made sense.”

Raseman visited Uganda this year as a well was being completed in Kaliro.

“It was the end of the day and we were not expecting the reception we received, singing and dancing near the new well,” says Donn. “They were so happy and grateful to the Lifewater team and Mud Run for the work being done.”

Many thanks to the Kalamazoo Mud Run’s organizers, sponsors, volunteers, participants, and cheerleaders for doing the dirty work for clean water!

Families can participate in many types of clean water fundraisers.

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Charity Effectiveness Report: Our Most Successful Quarter Ever Thu, 11 May 2017 16:14:25 +0000 Charity effectiveness is a key measure when choosing where to give. Our recent Impact Report demonstrates success in reaching the world's most vulnerable.

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Charity effectiveness is an important measure when choosing where to give. Is your donation making a lasting impact? Does the non-profit organization provide a scalable model to reach more people more effectively? These are questions you should consider before you donate.

Our Most Effective Quarter in 40 Years

The first quarter of 2017 has been an historic one at Lifewater. With 72 new water points and more than 20,000 people served, it is the biggest impact we have ever had in our 40 years of service.

Every quarter, publicly-traded companies share their earnings reports with key investors and stakeholders. We believe Lifewater should be held to this same standard of transparency. Below, you’ll see some of our accomplishments and challenges from the first quarter of 2017 that influence the measure of our charity effectiveness.

Make Your Donation Count >

Charity Effectiveness

Charity Effectiveness Measured by Lives Changed

Right now, we have 82,000 vulnerable children and families that are actively participating in our Vision of a Healthy Village program. House by house, we walk alongside families as they start to make small health changes. Small changes result in large health improvements.

Water Project Expansion

Lifewater completed 72 village water projects in the first quarter of 2017. Each project includes a functioning local community water committee that shares in the cost and maintenance of these water sources. You can see before/after photos of our most recent village water projects on our current water projects page.

Spiritual Impact

As a Christian non-profit, we don’t just measure our charity effectiveness in terms of people served with safe water, sanitation and hygiene. We also look at the spiritual impact in the communities we serve. Through our partnership with CityTeam International, we trained and deployed 24 local disciple makers to conduct discovery Bible studies in our targeted program region.


Along with our successes, there have been a number of challenges in the first quarter of 2017. Lifewater is committed to serving in hard-to-reach places where the most vulnerable live; it is a commitment that comes with hurdles.

Ethiopia Groundwater: The groundwater situation in Bensa, Ethiopia is more complex and challenging than originally anticipated. We are putting together a plan to provide safe and sustainable water but it will be much more expensive than we first thought.

Cambodia Staffing: We have had a difficult time recruiting qualified and committed staff to serve in remote regions of Cambodia. Most qualified candidates do not feel called to serve in hardship posts among the most vulnerable.

These statistics are more than just figures. Each number represents someone who is loved, cherished, and made in the image of our God. We simply have the privilege to walk alongside each person in their journey toward life in its fullness (John 10:10). We have big plans for the years ahead. Together, we will work faithfully to serve more people, more effectively.


Charity Effectiveness


Lifewater belongs to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which sets the standards for how we handle our money. Learn more about our commitment to transparency and effectiveness on our Financials page.

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Lifewater Spring Newsletter 2017 Thu, 04 May 2017 23:23:52 +0000 In this issue of Lifewater Newsletter "The Source," see how community hygiene opened new doors for one family, plus drilling wells deeper than ever before.

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Boldly Go

What you’ll find in this issue:

  • How Community Hygiene Opened New Doors
  • Drilling Wells Deeper Than Ever Before
  • Getting Dirty For Clean Water

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Safe Water Gave Baby Robira a Future Wed, 03 May 2017 17:18:47 +0000 Like all mothers, Ayantu wanted her baby to be healthy and happy. But lack of access to safe water made life difficult for Ayantu and her baby boy, Robira.

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When Ayantu had her first child, her heart overflowed with thankfulness. So she named her baby boy Robira, which means “from God.”

Like all mothers, Ayantu wants her baby to be healthy and happy. But diseases from unsafe water made life difficult for Ayantu and little Robira. Because they didn’t have reliable access to safe water, many children in her village suffered from diarrhea, which leads to dehydration and malnourishment.

On top of that, mothers like Ayantu in the rural hills of southern Ethiopia have to walk long distances to collect water each day–some as far as five miles. That time away from home and work leads to a cycle of poverty that traps families for generations.

Creating a Healthy Village

But something changed for Ayantu. Her village worked alongside Lifewater to learn healthy habits. They committed as a community to make changes. Today, all 30 households in her village are Healthy Homes, which means 30 families are now using safe water, washing their hands, using a latrine and keeping things clean.

Ayantu says she’s most excited about the latrine because it offers privacy, has no smell or flies, and it is safe. Now, Robira and his family are healthy. “There is no sickness anymore,” exclaims Ayantu.

Building a Safe Water Well Together

The final step of a Lifewater project is installing a new water source. We’re committed to creating lasting change, and that means building something WITH the community rather than just FOR the community. The UN estimates that between 30%-60% of wells fail in Sub-Saharan Africa–but a recent survey in Uganda showed 94% of Lifewater wells built in the past decade are still operational. A significant reason for that success is the local water committee. Villages create water committees to manage the water source, collect fees and plan for repairs. Ayantu serves as the cashier for her village’s water well.

“Being part of the committee is being part of the solution to our problems,” she says. “And that makes me happy.”

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Matt Damon Water Project: Using Market Tools To Fund Safe Water Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:33:35 +0000 The Matt Damon water project has received a good amount of publicity recently. In addition to his partnership with Stella Artois, he recently appeared on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition with…

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The Matt Damon water project has received a good amount of publicity recently. In addition to his partnership with Stella Artois, he recently appeared on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition with fellow founder Gary White. During the interview, Damon and White shared the numbers that keep them up at night – that 663 million people still don’t have safe water and 2.4 billion don’t have a toilet. Disproportionately, the burden of collecting water falls on women and girls; about 70% of the responsibility in Sub-Saharan Africa is theirs. Globally, women spend 86 billion hours each year looking for a safe place to go to the bathroom.

Give Women & Girls in Africa Safe Water >

Damon also shared the people he’s met behind the numbers. He talked with a young girl in Zambia whose life was changed by putting a water point closer to her home. Now she can attend school and plan for her future (she wants to be a nurse). Damon talked about a young girl in Haiti, roughly the age of his own daughter, who was already succeeding in school but relished the opportunity to play and be a kid instead of the never-ending task of retrieving safe water and caring for sick family members.

Haiti Matt Damon Water

Matt Damon Water Credit Strategy

The Morning Edition interview also featured a “WaterCredit” strategy used by the Matt Damon water organization to help households get a source of safe water. In many areas in the Global South, especially urban and peri-urban communities, water is purchased from private vendors. White reported that water can take 25% of a household’s income each month, and the water might not be safe. Water credit programs lend money to families to cover the cost of connecting to a piped, municipal water system or a toilet. Often this capital is unavailable to households, even though they have the ability to repay the loan in installments. White reported that 99% of households were able to repay the loan, and these households now have access to a closer, more reliable source of clean drinking water.

The water credit programs are a good example of using market tools, such as microcredit, to help families get water. It is useful where people live in proximity to piped water systems. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for millions of families who live in rural areas where there is no water source with which to connect. Globally, 79% of those without safe drinking water live in rural areas. Lifewater is different from the Matt Damon water efforts, as we work solely in remote, underserved regions, serving these families.

How Lifewater uses Market Tools to Help Families

Motivate behavior changes through personal savings.

When Lifewater begins working in a community, the focus is on behavioral changes and small, affordable investments that have huge impacts on families’ health – building a latrine, crafting a tippy-tap handwashing device, erecting a dish drying rack, to name a few–collectively, what we call a “healthy home.” These changes are made by the household members themselves because of what they will save by not missing days of work and not paying medical fees to treat preventable illnesses.

Organize Village Savings and Loan Associations.

With each water point is a VSLA that collects money from each user (special terms are afforded to widows/orphans) to pay for the future cost of maintenance and repair. These are formal community-based organizations.

WASH related entrepreneurship.

Every household in a Lifewater program is encouraged to build a latrine, a tippy-tap handwashing device, and drying racks. We see local craftspeople like Robert the doormaker in Uganda serving their neighbors by making these items and selling them.

The demand is created by the knowledge that investments in these items lead to big savings in missed work and medical care for sick family members. The materials are locally sourced, and the knowledge of how to build and repair them spreads, making it a sustainable supply chain.

The money is reinvested in things that will help families and communities escape poverty permanently.

Read about Gideon, the boy who buys his school books by making tippy-taps.

Get more facts about the world’s water crisis

Listen to the NPR interview


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40 Years of Safe Water: A Christian Non Profit Organization Success Story Mon, 24 Apr 2017 16:55:14 +0000 2017 is a significant milestone for Lifewater; we’re celebrating four decades as an active Christian non profit organization. Forty years propelled by the love of Christ to reach more than 2.5 million…

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2017 is a significant milestone for Lifewater; we’re celebrating four decades as an active Christian non profit organization. Forty years propelled by the love of Christ to reach more than 2.5 million people across 40 countries with safe water, hygiene and sanitation. And we couldn’t have done it without you. We believe the success of Lifewater is rooted in generous people like yourself linking arms with brothers and sisters around the world to make significant change happen.

The roots of Lifewater begin in the early 1960s in Southern California, when one man responded to God’s call.

A Vision Is Born (1962)

Bill Ashe, a California native and third generation water pump professional, responds to the call to serve the Mexican Fellowship Orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico. Despite a newly-dug well, residents and workers at the orphanage were carrying water long distances in buckets. On the first of many trips to come serve vulnerable people, Bill and his team install a windmill pump desperately needed by the community.

“I made several trips back to the orphanage after being exposed to the great need there,” explains Bill. “It’s what launched my passion for ‘word and deed’ projects.”

The Ministry Develops (1966-1976)

While still working for his father at Shaw Pump and Supply, Bill continues to minister throughout Baja California, Mexico with his family and friends.

Christian non profit organization

“When the word got out in the Christian missionary community that I was willing to help with anything related to pumps and water supplies, people and organizations with needs would track me down at Shaw Pump,” says Bill. “It was the Holy Spirit’s way of giving me opportunities to assist poor people for kingdom purposes.”

Give now and be a part of changing the world in the next 40 years >

A Christian Non Profit Organization is Formed (1977)

In 1977, nearly half the world (2.5 billion people) live without safe water. That same year, Bill Ashe forms Lifewater as a Christian non profit organization composed of water resource management specialists ready to address the water needs of missionary agencies.

“That year, God awoke me to ‘make the most of the time’ by finding others with a desire to bring safe drinking water to the rural poor.” ~Bill Ashe

A Global Need (1983-1988)

Lifewater is one of fifteen ministries and the only Christian non profit organization to exhibit at the Billy Graham conference in Amsterdam. Over the course of the event, Bill Ashe receives more than 2,000 requests from pastors and evangelists for safe water from over 100 countries.

From the thousands of requests received at the Billy Graham conference, Lifewater selects 37 as the most likely places in the world to begin projects. Already established as a Christian non profit organization, Bill and his associates formally register Lifewater, Inc (DBA Lifewater International) as a California Non-Profit Corporation. In 1988, Lifewater holds its first conference inviting volunteer professionals to become a part of the team. Lifewater continues to build an exceptional team of field trainers.

A Long View (1990)

One of Lifewater’s core values today is “Taking a Long View.” The seeds of that value are planted in 1990, as Lifewater develops a long-range purpose of helping US-based teams learn how to train and equip in-country instructors to train crews in their own countries.

Expansion in Haiti (1994)

Haiti was one of the first countries beyond North America where Lifewater began serving in 1980. By 1994, there are at least six different ongoing projects throughout Haiti.

“The Babies Don’t Die Anymore”

Early in the 1990’s, Bill Ashe and Randy Fain build a well in Tambotine, a poor community of seven thousand people packed into two-story plywood shacks on five acres in the Philippines. A young mother stops Bill and said, “The babies often die because of bad water. We are pleased and thankful you have come to help us with this problem.”

Years later on a return trip, the same woman finds Bill and exclaims, “The babies don’t die anymore.”

First Full-Time Staff Join Lifewater (1999)

The small Lifewater team is overloaded with requests for projects in the 1990s, and Bill recognizes the need to hire some extra help. Patricia Hettinger (now Klever), a surface water hydrologist, and geologist Fred Proby are the first to join the Christian non profit organization.

“The Lord had given (Fred) a vision to take a drill rig under one arm and a Bible under the other” ~Bill Ashe

Adding Essential Services (1999)

Field trainers teach hygiene and hand pump repair programs. These new areas of expertise helped Lifewater train indigenous partners and increase impact and sustainability in communities.

Bill’s Last Trip (2001)

Bill Ashe returns to Haiti in 2001, more than 20 years after his first trip in 1980. Walking through villages where he had labored two decades earlier, he sees firsthand the powerful “word and deed” results of their efforts and God’s faithfulness to those whom they’d served.

“The fruit we witnessed had been woven into a fabric of God’s unseen footprints.” ~Bill Ashe

Adapting Strategy (2002-2006)

Lifewater adopts water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) strategy focusing on community development and building the capacity of indigenous partners. In 2003, Lifewater helps found the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) to share knowledge and work with other WASH organizations to advocate for the poor. By 2006, WASH curriculum developed by Lifewater sets the standard for Christian WASH practitioners in the field.

Training Center Opens (2007)

In a continuing commitment as a Christian non profit organization to train volunteer staff from churches to work in the field and “train the trainers,” Lifewater establishes a training center near the office headquarters in San Luis Obispo, CA. The first pump repair class is hosted at the training center later that year.Christian Non Profit Organization Training

Maximizing Impact Regionally (2009)

Using momentum and local knowledge to maximize impact, Lifewater adopts a regional program strategy aimed to serve tens of thousands of people with safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. Throughout the decade, Lifewater rolled out a WASH-centric approach to thousands of vulnerable people in 46 countries.

Completion of Project Restoring Hope in Uganda (2012)

Started in 2009, Project Restoring Hope provides safe water to 110,000 people in the Lira District in northern Uganda, a region rebuilding from decades of war. Along with water, LIfewater teams provide bathrooms, WASH training, and integrated water management education for communities Ogur and Abako sub-counties.

New Brand Launches (2013)

Lifewater launches a modern, updated brand and logo, as well as a brand-new website.

Vision of a Healthy Village (2015)

Lifewater introduces an engagement model that is the culmination of 38 years experience as a Christian non profit organization focusing on water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and exhaustive research of best practices in Christian community development.

Vision of A Healthy Village centers around sustained relationships; local community health mobilizers walk alongside vulnerable children and families to overcome all forms of water poverty until a community is certified as a Healthy Village.

“What is truly transformational is when the families we serve experience the love of Christ shown them, and then they turn around and do likewise to their neighbors.” ~Justin Narducci

First Field Offices & Real-Time Tracking (2015)

Lifewater rolls out the Vision of a Healthy Village strategy, launching its first field offices in Ethiopia and Uganda staffed by Christian nationals. At the same time, local staff are equipped with Android devices to monitor, evaluate and upload field data in real time to help implement the Vision of a Healthy Village strategy.

Trainings, water well installation, construction projects, school WASH clubs, and Healthy Homes are all tracked in our database and visualized to help monitor and evaluate program quality. All information is reviewed by headquarters for quality control and consistency, then shared online at

Healthy Village Success in Ethiopia (2017)

After rolling out the first Vision of a Healthy Village program in Ethiopia two years prior, the proof of concept come to life as dozens of communities are certified healthy in Ethiopia and Uganda. As the Vision of a Healthy Village model gains traction, Lifewater continues to expand in hard-to-reach places in Africa and Southeast Asia. To date, the program has served more than 32,890 people and resulted in 2,741 healthy homes.

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Improving Sanitation In Ethiopia: How Five Communities Became Healthy Villages Mon, 03 Apr 2017 19:02:12 +0000 Sanitation in Ethiopia has a big impact on health. Five communities where Lifewater works have improved sanitation and been certified as Healthy Villages.

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Hygiene and sanitation in Ethiopia are big issues, and five communities have celebrated significant milestones this month.

Lifewater health promoters certified each of these small villages, or gares, as a Healthy Village. Dubula, Hora, Lencha, Shayite, Shorimahese–these were the first five gares selected to work with Lifewater in the Hade Kebele (a larger municipality, like a district), and health promoters have been visiting and working alongside families here for a year and a half. The fact that all five earned a Healthy Village certification is a big win for their future.

Becoming a healthy community is no easy task. In order to earn it, over 90% of the homes in a community need to be certified as Healthy Homes. Members of Healthy Homes are drinking safe water, using latrines, keeping a clean compound, and using good hygiene practices like handwashing and dish drying racks. Additionally, each healthy community must have a clean environment, earn ODF (open-defecation free) status, and demonstrate a functioning water committee made up of men and women in the community.

In Dubula, Hora, Lencha, Shayite and Shorima, community members gathered for a graduation ceremony where they were presented with certificates and congratulated by local government officials.

Beyond the ceremony, these communities gained a better future. Poor hygiene and sanitation in Ethiopia has a significant impact on health. In the West Arsi region of Ethiopia where these communities are located, only 1% of the population has access to a safe, dignified latrine. Preventable, water-borne diseases like diarrhea are common and keep kids out of school and parents out of work. In West Arsi, only half of the school-age children attend school. Now that they are drinking safe water, using effective latrines, and utilizing good hygiene, the most vulnerable lives will be saved and health, education, and productivity will improve.

Perhaps most importantly, all of this work was done by the community. Health promoters provided information, demonstrations, and constant encouragement, but ultimately it was the families living in the gares that constructed latrines, handwashing stations, and drying racks. It was the families who voluntarily changed their longstanding behaviors to help themselves and those around them. It was the community that gathered and selected leaders to help them sustain their progress. With this big win under their belt, these five gares are ready and equipped to take on new challenges.

“Even driving down the road, you can tell where Lifewater health promoters have worked because there are latrines at every household,” said Lindsay Lange, Lifewater’s Director of Program Quality observed after a recent visit. “Community members would tell us that others from out of town would stop and ask to take pictures of their latrines because they had not seen them before and wanted one for themselves.”

Lifewater will begin working to improve sanitation in Ethiopia with new gares in Hade Kebele this month, but health promoters will continue to monitor the first five gares for another year and half to ensure that the changes stick and life gets better for these vulnerable children and families.

Congratulations Dubula, Hora, Lencha, Shayite and Shorima!

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How a Water Non Profit Organization is Changing Lives in Ethiopia Wed, 01 Mar 2017 19:55:53 +0000 Together with Lifewater, families like Elemo and Medina's find solutions that their whole community can participate in and own.

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A water non profit should do more than just drill wells–it should provide a path to lasting change. Life-giving change for people like Elemo and his family.

Elemo is a teacher. He and is family live in a village in Nensebo, Ethiopia. Elemo used to worry a lot–he worried about his family’s health, especially for his two children, Alia and Bemiyim. His wife, Medina, did her best to care for the family, but it was hard to keep her family healthy when the only water available was contaminated with animal waste.

For a water non profit working in the field, the goal may be to only provide clean water–a worthy cause, but only part of the story. Lifewater, a Christian water non profit, pursues lasting results and transformation. In order to escape poverty, families need good health, and safe drinking water alone can’t do that. Together with Lifewater, families like Elemo and Medina’s find solutions their whole community can participate in and own. They build their own latrines to keep their homes clean, and they wash their hands to prevent the spread of disease.

Help Drill Deep Wells for Families in Rural Ethiopia

When Lifewater staff started to talk about sanitation, hygiene, and safe water in their community in Nensebo, Ethiopia, Elemo and Medina decided to help. Medina became the chairperson of the water committee, a group selected by the community to be responsible for the upkeep of the water source. Medina and the committee set monthly user fees for each household and deposited the money securely in a savings account at the bank in the event repairs are needed. They proudly displayed their immaculate accounting records and there was a clear sense of community ownership of the new water source.

Now there is a capped spring delivering safe water closer to their home, and Elemo is preparing to begin a summer course to help him be a better teacher. As he was about the leave, he said he was grateful that he didn’t need to worry so much about his family’s health. Alia and Bemiyin are growing up without having to fight water-borne disease and Medina is empowered to lead in her community.

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