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Water4’s work & COVID-19

Never Better

04.16.20

You, generous Water partners, are providing financial support, praying over those in the field, cheering on their critical work, and are ending the water crisis through sustainable solutions. You guys rock!  

When COVID-19 hit, Water4 took quick action on the ground to protect vulnerable populations from the spread of the virus. We rapidly developed a crisis response plan for 14 countries, supported through a special fund –  One World. One Fight

Gifts came in from Oklahoma, England, and Singapore just to name a few. These meaningful contributions put fuel in the ready engines of our local partners. Each gift enables immediate action in the communities where they live, work and serve. Thank you.

The gifts are providing hand washing stations to all 225 NUMA piped water sites and at hundreds of more water points in communities where Water4 has a presence. They provide 50% more water access, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) trainings this year, teaching people in more than 800 communities how to use proper hygiene practices to keep themselves safe as they fight the dangers of COVID-19. Your gifts are also enabling us to manufacture and distribute more than 30,000 bars of soap, locally, in East Africa. 

You all are “never better” because you’re modeling that generosity is a powerful action at a time when we feel powerless. Along with gifts to the crisis response fund, we have received encouraging words and notes from donors saying things like “We ALL need water for life,” and “I believe in what you are doing and especially the way you are doing it.”

Not only are you all “never better”, there has never been a better time to encourage others to give. 

“When people are afraid and insecure, they often adopt a posture of self-preservation. And now that the world is faced with all of the unknowns… one’s primitive survival instincts take over,” said Jack Nicholson, Executive Leadership and Mentor Coach with Sage Expansion.

“Consequently, there is never a better time to demonstrate generosity than during a time of great fear and anxiety. Generosity, giving, and sharing our authentic presence with others will bring hope and courage to those who lack it and strengthen people to face the many changes and challenges that this crisis brings into their lives.”

Nicholson goes on to encourage us to find a mission or a cause that is meaningful, saying “your spirit of generosity will… help our communities focused on survival to become generous and giving as well.”

We know that for many, your gifts were an act of courage, knowing you can’t cure the whole world at once, but you can make a difference, even if it is just for one person. If you’re like me, helping others has been the best medicine I’ve taken today. 

The impact of this selfless giving is felt across the globe as Water4 enterprises work in response to the spread of COVID-19. Supporters of Water4 make stories like the ones below a reality: 

Freedom Water Solutions Kenya is responding to COVID-19 on the South Coast by working with the Kwale County Government to train and support communities in an effort to stop the spread of Coronavirus. 

100% of NUMA piped water points in Wassa East, Ghana are equipped with hand washing stations like this one so community members have access to soap and water – a key to fighting COVID-19 and ensuring our water points remain safe. 

A clinic nurse receives what will be a weekly supply of free soap and safe water during this crisis. This is not only an important part of the sanitation and hygiene measures being implemented not only in the face of COVID-19, but for overall disease prevention. Behind her, you can see the hand washing station with specific instructions on how to safely wash hands and reduce the spread of disease.

COVID-19 & “Viral” Disciple Making

04.08.20

At Water4, we are passionate about sharing the Gospel. Over the course of the past 1.5 years, we have launched a two-country cohort in an effort to create lasting impact through four areas of focus: health, education, aptitudes and theology. Beginning with theology, we have focused on a group of 20 church leaders from Wassa East, Ghana, who are committed to sharing Christ with and activating their communities as disciplemakers. The cohort met three times in 2019 and was off to a very successful start, with plans for the fourth meeting next month. 

With the rise of COVID-19 travel restrictions, Water4 initially planned to keep the US team at home, ensuring our group of committed Okies didn’t spread the disease across Ghana, but planned to have the local leaders and our Africa-based discipleship team continue without us. 

As we know, the pandemic radically increased in its global impact, spreading more rapidly than any of us imagined. Now, the April 2020 cohort has been canceled due to COVID-19. The government is banning groups of 10 or more from meeting and we know social distancing is one of the primary ways to prevent the spread of this potentially deadly virus. 

Thankfully, Multiply, Water4’s discipleship training approach, is perfect for times like these. Through one-on-one discipleship, people learn how to engage with and be obedient to the Word, sharing the Gospel in everyday life without the need to gather in a church building. A story-based discovery process is the foundation of Multiply, so anyone can use it at any time and in any environment. The ability to read or access physical resources is also not a requirement because Multiply uses spoken word to build relationships and re-tell God’s truth. 

As you can imagine, the churches we’ve partnered with do not have online church, so the laity-led discipleship methods they’ve been promoting to their 6,000 members are ever essential in this difficult time. 

We’re rapidly responding to continue training through our WhatsApp texting/video platform and ask you to pray for this movement of disciples; that it scales to an unprecedented impact in this uncertain time as people engage in the Word, rely on the Spirit, and serve one another as we’ve learned and experienced together in Water4’s Multiply Cohort Exchange

Corona Kryptonite

03.30.20

At Water4 we “love big and risk big.” We are being called to one common, global mission to love our neighbor, and our partners are ready to step in on their behalf. We are fighting a global pandemic, and it cannot be beaten without all clean hands on deck. 

What Americans are being asked to do today for the greater good (stay home, cook your own food, practice safe hygiene) is the result of an environment very familiar to where we serve in Africa, where infectious disease can be around every corner. Typhoid, malaria, meningitis, cholera and water-borne illnesses are front and center of daily life. People continuously deal with bouts of illness that are highly disruptive to “normal” routines at their best and are fatal at their worst. 

We understand that your own life is hard right now and you are adjusting to a new normal. We care about your family and your future. We also know that we can all find hope and purpose by focusing on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable when we feel most vulnerable. While the world’s activity grinds to a halt to track and curtail COVID-19, we must not forget one major difference between our world and theirs: we have soap and running water while they do not. And that makes a world of difference.

As you know by now, hand washing and social distancing are the ONLY ways to prevent greater spread of this disease. And healthcare for the infected requires hospital beds, protective gear, and safe hygiene. The whole world faces the same enemy. Our resources are stressed, but those in the health care facilities we serve are unimaginably more scarce. 58% of clinics in SubSaharan Africa lack safe water.

So what are we going to do about it? Water4 is scaling up what we do best: bringing safe water to all and training communities to practice good hygiene behavior. We are ramping up our focus over the next six months with healthcare workers in Africa to improve their access to NUMA safe water and hygiene products. This means rapidly scaling our new clinic connection program, as much as funding allows. 

In 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control came to the Wassa East District in Ghana to see how well clinics were doing when it comes to hygiene. The situation they found was dire: on average, only 73 gallons of water per day are being used for baby deliveries and ALL other patient services at each clinic. By comparison, U.S. hospitals use an average of 570 gallons of water per staffed bed, per day. Healthcare workers lack sinks in the bathrooms, they lack ways to sterilize surgical tools, and they don’t have safe water to give sick patients to drink. 

But those few clinics that were part of our NUMA pilot in Wassa East looked different. They had sufficient water storage for hand washing and sterilizing surgical tools, as well as safe water that was uncontaminated and available for the sick to drink.  We want to take these results and run with them. 

Water4 and our partners are committed to being part of the global COVID-19 response. We are working with healthcare workers to develop new, COVID-specific hygiene training and expand our current WaSH training capacity by 50% across all 13 countries this year. We are identifying ways to expand NUMA piped water into more patient care areas while making new water connections to rural health clinics in four countries. Finally, we are accelerating the development and implementation of a brand new healthcare facility (HCF) water treatment technology. 

This is all part of an acceleration of our existing WaSH commitments for HCFs, which Water4 signed off on in 2019 as part of a global commitment. With the onset of COVID-19, we are now pushing to accomplish these goals before our 2025 deadline:

  • Accelerate Access: Pilot and scale revenue-based solutions that will sustain safe water delivery in HCFs in perpetuity in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia
  • Connect Clinics: Connect every HCF to a safe water source in the districts where we are targeting universal access to safe water; pilot clinic water treatment systems and internal plumbing to get more water to more rooms
  • Work for WaSH: Conduct WaSH training in HCFs to improve health and safety of caregivers, staff and patients; develop new COVID-19 WaSH curriculum for communities, schools, and clinics 
  • Share our Story: Work with and learn from the global Safe Water Enterprise community of practice to continuously improve our engagement and impact with HCFs
  • Integrate for Impact: Integrate our work with sanitation, hygiene, and solid waste providers to enable holistic service provision for HCFs 

With your support, we can save lives. When I served in West Africa as a missionary for five years, I came to find that switching from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance gives me purpose. Ongoing waterborne illnesses also gifted me the ability to empathize and not just sympathize with people there. COVID-19 is giving the whole world that gift right now. Let’s not give in to our fears and anxiety. When we feel vulnerable, let’s pray for and give to those who are even more vulnerable.  Let your anxiety be turned into gratitude. Let your worry be translated into action. In times like these, let generosity be our path to freedom. We are one world, let’s fight as one!

03.23.20

Dear Water Warriors,

Wash your hands.  This is our number one defense against Covid-19, the novel virus that is causing a global pandemic.

But what happens when you have no water to do so?  What happens if you don’t have soap? What happens if the water you do have actually makes you even sicker, unable to recover from an infection?

As we in affluent nations begin to see the pain and disruption caused by infectious disease, I’m reminded that this has been a daily reality for many of our brothers and sisters in Africa, for their entire lives. Covid-19 cannot be contained without basic hygiene facilities and tools. That means it could spread much more quickly in Africa, where there are so many barriers to people having access to soap and safe water. 

This is why our work at Water4 is so vital.  It’s why now, more than ever, we need YOUR help to supply thousands of families with the best tool to fight disease – Education + Clean. Safe. Water.

Please give a special gift today to protect a family from disease.  

Water4 is a leader in providing cost-effective solutions to safe water and hygiene across Africa.  In collaboration with our partners in the field and with support from partners like you at home, we have supplied over 1.4 million people with the security of safe water.  Last year alone, we reached 73,897 people with our unique, life-saving hygiene behavior change programs.  

We have the tools and expertise to help hundreds of thousands of people protect themselves and their families from Covid-19 and other diseases plaguing their world.  We need your help to put safety into their hands. Please make an immediate donation to support our critical work.   

Let’s fight this disease and protect the vulnerable together.

Matt Hangen

Water4 President & CEO

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