Every Home. Every School. Every Clinic. Always.
I am so proud of the work Water4 accomplished this year! More than 900 new water projects are bringing safe water to the underserved; that’s more than 17 projects completed every week! This is all made possible by the real heroes, our local enterprise partners, cheered on by the communities they serve and empowered by your generous contributions. We are honored that you continue to choose us to come alongside in this fight.
People weren’t meant to live in the suffering they live in today. 2.1 billion people should not be drinking contaminated water, forcing them to endure life rather than live out their full potential. We serve a God who desires so much more: health, dignity, and flourishing.
Today, we thank God that another 220,531 people – mamas and papas, sisters and brothers – are taking a slow sip of safe water. They are quenching thirst after a school soccer game; washing their hands before preparing a meal; and sterilizing medical tools before delivering a baby into her mother’s hands – all thanks to you! And that’s not all. This year, another 103,295 people benefited from Bible-based health and hygiene education, financial stewardship, pastoral training, and discipleship. The numbers are compounding. Since 2008, over 1.4 million people have been served through more than 5,600 water projects by our mighty rebel crew!
Our response to this crisis is getting bolder each day as we learn, iterate, and improve. This year, we helped more people move up the water service ladder, graduating from handpumps to more convenient piped water. In 2019 alone, 62,000 people now have access to more convenient NUMA piped water services close to their homes. That’s less time spent fetching water, which means more hours for learning, working, and playing.
As we grow our regional footprint, there are opportunities unfolding across the map as God is opening doors to leverage skills, resources, and people power in the Kingdom. This year, we told our story at global fora – from the United Nations and Stockholm International Water Week, to academic and faith-based conferences, to Capitol Hill. We saw that the water crisis is solvable if we partner in humility, coming together to set goals and design strategies that reach far beyond our own areas of expertise to support human flourishing.
Let’s not forget that this all starts with you right here, in Oklahoma City. A thousand of you were at our first Walk4Water marching with buckets in solidarity with billions of our brothers and sisters who make this trip each and every day. I am so incredibly grateful that my family could join all of you in carrying water so others don’t have to. Thanks to all of you for showing up with your hearts, giving your time, and sharing your resources on behalf of others.
We hope you enjoy reading about our 2019 impact! We’re having a blast working in Africa with 477 of the most incredible humans we’ve ever met and living out the Gospel in word and deed to ensure there’s safe water in every home, school, and clinic, always. It’s an honor to represent all of you in a mission that’s making history.
Water4 President & CEO
People Employed by Partner Enterprises
New Water Projects
People Impacted by SAfe water
NUMA Water Vending Sites
New & Rehabilitated Handpumps
PEOPLE IMPACTED BY WaSH
People Impacted by the gospel
When we look at the billions of people around the world without safe water, we don’t see persistent poverty; we notice opportunity. That’s what drives Water4 to support a market-based approach to safe water services. We want to promote free enterprise as a solution to the water crisis, leaving good jobs, sustainable businesses, and healthier people in our wake. In 2019, the enterprises we kickstarted employed 477 people, a quarter of whom are women. Combined, these businesses raised over $550k in revenue in 2019 by drilling wells and selling water. To be clear, Water4 isn’t profiting (we’re a non-profit), but we are supporting local businesses to generate more revenue year upon year so they can cover their costs and continue to grow and thrive.
Why is paying for safe water so important? To people in small towns in Sierra Leone, four cents per day for safe water is affordable. It turns out that 500 customers paying four cents per day for safe water can sustain a local business at scale across a district. That business, in turn, can employ women like Salamatu, who earns a daily wage that is above average for her community. It also means that the water business has the incentive to maintain the NUMA water system in perpetuity; the business keeps receiving revenue while customers keep receiving good quality water services. We’re using charity for opportunity and ensuring every handout results in a hand up for a better, more flourishing future.
People Employed by Partner Enterprises
Locally generated revenue
Salamatu preparing for the day's activities at her kiosk.
Water4 would like to thank our institutional partners who have pushed us to innovate, create, and develop solutions, like NUMA water, that respond to this evolving global challenge. Your partnership is essential to achieving impact at scale.
Impact by Country
When you design something for everyone, it’s not useful for anyone. The current trend is to build gadgets when more adaptive options are what’s needed. At Water4, we assess the individual need and then design a fit-for-purpose mechanism to address the challenge. Taking into account water quality, geography, community size, cost, and affordability constraints, our teams determine the right solution to address a specific challenge at hand.
When stepping into a local water crisis, we first ask the question, “How do we combine our tools, or make new ones, to achieve the biggest impact?” The answer varies. Sometimes, we drill new wells with machines instead of augers; sometimes, we repair existing broken boreholes; sometimes, we spiderweb distribution systems across a town; and other times, we build a central water kiosk. This tailored approach allows us to make opportunities out of liabilities. Can we pull out a non-functioning handpump that serves 300 people and install a solar-powered system to serve thousands? Can we find the best solution with the biggest impact? Done.
We do things this way because we’re not married to a specific type of technology; we’re married to sustainability. That’s why, during the past 11 years, we transitioned from only augers and PVC pumps to the package of safe water solutions you see today. NUMA water is our latest iteration of a branded safe water product that can reach every home, school, and clinic in the places our partners serve. By offering NUMA water at different levels of scale, we can reach diverse market segments, ensuring safe water is available for all.
The world says “bigger is better” and that if we spend more money, it must be good. The incentive for politicians and engineering firms alike is: build, build, build. That way of thinking has left several large cities in Europe and the U.S. with infrastructure they cannot afford to maintain. We don’t want to create new liabilities for the poor. We simply want systems that can be operated at a very low cost in perpetuity, and that can be easily fixed when they break. Our hope is that in 30 years, Africa will not find itself in the same position as the residents of Flint, Michigan are in today. This is why we will continue to push for modular approaches that have low operational costs, because we know it’s what’s best for the next generation.
What is essential for Water4 is that the solution be optimized to the local context to ensure long-term sustainable service delivery. We believe that by thinking critically about the challenges and opportunities, we are cutting costs, empowering local businesses, and strengthening our impact. For Water4, fit-for-purpose means fit-for-generations.
People currently being served by NUMA systems per day
gallons of Numa water distributed per day
Active NUMA Water points
For Water4, providing people with safe water to drink is not an end in itself; we are called to much greater goals. We want to see communities experience holistic transformation. We’re just using water as an entry point and catalyst to enable communities to flourish for generations.
One of the things we love about our work is seeing the provision of safe water also lead to improved health, resilience, gender equality, and food security. This broader impact is playing out in Zambia, where Water4 and our partner, Access Water4 Zambia, are leading in a pilot project called GROW.
Less than 10% of Africa’s farmland is irrigated. Without irrigation, most farmers depend on erratic rainfall, struggle to produce year round, and lose up to half of their crop value. This was the situation we saw when we entered rural farming communities in Zambia. We realized that so many more needs, above and beyond household water consumption, could be met by tweaking our existing suite of water products and services.
GROW is a sustainable, scalable model for increasing the incomes of smallholder farmers while expanding access to water. Microloans help farmers pay for a drip irrigation system that uses a low-cost, manually drilled borehole fitted with a solar pump. Having consistent water for crops increases profits during the extended dry season. Access Water4 Zambia provides water infrastructure, in partnership with the agriculture extension provided by Bright Hope International.
The GROW program started in April 2017 and has achieved significant results:
- 2 Christian Farmers’ Associations have been established with 144 members.
- There has been 840% growth in the area under irrigation.
- 100% of farmers have access to safe water at home (up from 3%.)
- On average, a farmer shares water with 5 surrounding households.
- Payment from neighbors goes toward servicing the microloan.
- 45 participating farmers have completed biblically-based agricultural training
Water4 celebrates as farmers continue GROWing! Expanding our water provision to agriculture helps our partners achieve goals like increased incomes and food security. We see those as important elements of what it takes for communities to flourish.
When we walk a few miles in someone else’s shoes, we gain a deeper understanding than is possible from a comfortable distance. That’s why we created Walk4Water this past year – to give people a glimpse into what it’s like to carry the same buckets of water countless women and girls carry for miles each day all over the world. We wanted to give people a chance to do something tangible to join the fight, and that’s exactly what they did.
Held at Wheeler Park in Oklahoma City, Walk4Water gave participants a small glimpse into the burden we fight: the toil of women and children who spend countless hours each day collecting bucket after bucket of life-stealing dirty water. More than a thousand people showed up, grabbed an empty bucket (sometimes two) and began walking. The crowd circled Wheeler Park four times for a total of 3 miles, each time seeing signs along the path with stories, facts, and solutions to the global water crisis. At the halfway point, everyone filled their buckets. The buckets were heavy and water was spilling out, but they kept walking until the finish line.
“Walk4Water inspired our team to get personally involved in solving today’s water crisis in communities around the world.”
— Thomas Hill, Kimray CEO
When all was said and done, walkers and sponsors raised $533,767 to fight the global water crisis. But they did more than just walk, and they received more than just a donation receipt. Beyond serving others, Walk4Water participants experienced growth, created lasting memories, sparked meaningful conversations, and permanently broadened their perspective toward lives lived half a world away.
“… this provided a great application of scripture when God places us as stewards of His earth.”
— Pam Millington, Crossings Church
Walk4Water highlighted the importance of our work at Water4 at a broader level, inviting the local community to partner with us in this life-saving work. We were blown away by the response and can’t wait to see how the community shows up in 2020.
If you’d like to learn more about hosting your own Walk4Water or if you’d like to get more involved with the 2020 Oklahoma City Walk4Water, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is here to walk alongside you every step of the journey as we impact more lives together through the power of safe water.
At Water4, our faith drives everything. We believe in a God who desires all people to flourish and live in peace with one another and with Him. This vision is far from the world we live in, where billions suffer from water poverty every day of their lives. And while quenching physical thirst is a good place to start, safe water alone cannot create holistic flourishing. That’s why we Multiply.
We’re proud to have been invited by business leaders across Africa to help them create companies that have a culture of discipleship – one that integrates faith from the ground up, starting with their employees and multiplying out into the communities they serve.
What does business as mission look like? By choice, these leaders integrate their faith into everything they do. With their own staff, they lead morning devotions and Bible studies and are encouraged to begin Discovery Bible Studies with their own families. Drill teams worship before they begin drilling and share stories of faith when they dedicate a well. Bible-based health and hygiene training (mWASH) and biblical financial stewardship training are provided in the communities they serve, and some drill teams are able to initiate Discovery Bible Study groups in the communities they serve, including Muslim communities that might otherwise be opposed to hearing the Gospel. As our partners have stepped through open doors, a disciple-making movement has emerged, expanding opportunities for physical and spiritual flourishing across Africa.
When a business grows, so does its missional impact. As more Water4 partners reach entire districts or counties with safe water, they are requesting MORE mentoring and coaching from Water4. They want to expand their reach by serving four new types of institutions with safe and Living water: churches, schools, health clinics, and small businesses.
This new consumer segment warrants a new, broader approach to Multiply. Multiply: Cohort Exchange pairs US volunteers that are vocational experts with local vocational peers in each of the 4 key categories (Health, Education, Business, Theology) in an ongoing, multi-year discipleship program that yields integrated professional and spiritual development.
Beware, this isn’t your paintbrush and concrete floor missions trip. It requires targeted curriculum, training with a diverse group of peers, and continuous feedback and learning beyond the trips themselves. Let’s call it a long-term mission strategy built over years of short-term, intense learning. This allows the cohort to take the time and space needed from their daily lives to concentrate on spiritual growth. Participants take where God has placed them as an entry point to speak into the lives of their vocational counterparts. Through the doors God is opening with safe water, Water4 is responding with a dual approach that invests in communities from the bottom up and leaders from the top down. Now multiply that across 14 countries and watch them flourish.
People engaged with Multiply in 2019
People trained in mWaSH in 2019
Water Brings Stability to an Unstable World
What does Water4 do when a crisis hits? It drills deeper. Water4’s job is to ensure that when disaster strikes, smart, resourceful, and effective local leaders are strategically placed to respond with life-saving measures.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where 43% of children are malnourished, is the poorest country in the world. In June of 2019, Bunia, DRC experienced an influx of internally displaced people (IDPs) due to violence in Djugu Territory and compounded by an Ebola outbreak. The population of Bunia ballooned by 350%, putting strain on host communities to share resources with IDPs.
IDPs deal with significant trauma as they flee from violence. One mother who recently arrived in the camps shared, “We thought we would finally be safe when we got here, but then learned there was no water for us to drink.” Meeting basic physical needs is critical to building self-reliance in other parts of their daily routines, including hygiene, cooking, and washing.
Within days, Water4 had boosted emergency funding to its local partner, AEDR. Within one month, AEDR was drilling new boreholes, and providing another 2,400 people with access to safe water. AEDR realized that sustainable water supplies aid the integration of IDPs, bringing together groups of people who are otherwise at odds as they attempt to share space, land, and resources. So the company began the difficult work of establishing a long-term solution to promote integration through water.
AEDR, in partnership with the village leadership, developed a shared water delivery approach that would work for both the IDPs and their host community. The trust developed over their long-term presence in Bunia helped AEDR diffuse challenging conflicts as they arose. AEDR kept costs at just $15 per person, including long-term handpump maintenance and repairs, and negotiated a 6-month waiver of all fees, giving the village’s Local Management Committee sufficient time to design an affordable repayment plan.
Water4’s ability to remain on the frontlines, through empowering local partners beyond a project cycle, is the key to getting ahead of humanitarian crises. In 2013, we began working in DRC to bring freedom to the Citizen Mbuti Pygmy community. By continuing to invest in local businesses since then, we were primed to support another marginalized group in 2019. We are committed to working on behalf of the most vulnerable in DRC, using water for peace and stability, as long as our storehouse allows.