Reaching the Hardest Places: An Update On Cost Per Beneficiary

Since the very beginning, Lifewater has been committed to serving “the last and the least” with clean water and improved health; boldly going to remote places where others can’t or won’t go.

We believe that every person was created in the image of God, and that Jesus calls us to serve the most vulnerable. That means going to places like Kakumiro, Uganda, where we are drilling some of the first wells in the region. It has always been and remains pioneering work.


Pioneering work carries inherent risks and unknowns. In Kakumiro, for example, our teams have had to make multiple attempts to drill wells, and in some cases design new water-delivery systems for communities. It can be incredibly challenging.

In addition to the challenges of working in new, remote regions, the World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced a change that will reduce the time women and children spend fetching water every day. This improved water coverage calls for more wells per community than ever before; an important improvement, but one that requires additional investment.

These factors, along with our continued commitment to quality and lasting impact, have a significant effect on our cost per person served. Our 2018 estimate of $50 per person does not adequately cover unforeseen drilling challenges nor recently-added services such as Healthy Churches and sustainability programs.

Creating a More Accurate Cost Per Beneficiary

In 2020, the Lifewater team analyzed program costs to create a more accurate estimate for providing clean water, hygiene, and sanitation in remote villages. Actual costs vary based on many factors (country, village region, community participation, etc.), but these estimates provide a baseline estimate.

A gift of $50 still makes a difference. $50 provides one person in a village with house-by-house training in sanitation and hygiene, plus covers the costs for one person to receive a safe water source in their village.

A gift of $65 provides water, health, and hope to one person for life. Our promise of providing comprehensive, lasting change for vulnerable families means a commitment to serve beyond building a well. A gift of $65 per person helps provide:

  • House-by-house sanitation/hygiene training and monitoring
  • Construction of a new safe water source
  • Ministry partnerships with local churches/church planting
  • Sustainability for water source (maintenance planning and programs)
  • WASH support for local health facilities
  • Country office staffing and support services

Over the past 40 years, tremendous progress has been made to provide basic water access and sanitation to the world. In the 1980’s alone, more than 1.2 billion people gained access to safe water and about 770 million received safe sanitation through the work of local governments, NGOs, and local communities.

But there is still work to be done. More than 748 million people still live without access to safe, clean water. Today, the places left to serve are the hardest places to reach—places without roads, without a single simple solution to the water problem, and in some instances, places where the name of Jesus has never been heard. Getting to these places is an increased investment, one that we’re ready to make so that no child dies of waterborne illness.

Thank you for your continued support. This work doesn’t happen without faithful partners like you!


Choose a Village. Change a Life.