“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
Water4 is no stranger to crisis. We have seen how God uses hardship to change things for good, bringing fruitfulness out of despair, and producing long-term growth out of temporary pain. So when a challenge seems insurmountable, we gear up for action.
During the Ebola outbreak of 2014, which killed 11,000 people across West Africa, Water4Ever (Water4’s partner in Sierra Leone) did what they always do– they adapted to their environment on behalf of those they serve. Operating a piped water system supporting thousands, drilling wells in self-quarantined encampments, and living away from their homes for months, Water4Ever kept serving when others had to shut down and leave. Their drill teams became “family units,” setting up tents near drilling sites and roping off the perimeter to isolate the group as they worked to bring essential services. One person had the job of bringing drillers’ salaries to their families to ensure social distancing measures remained in place for the long haul.
Water4Ever’s commitment to being part of the solution, and their support to local government, which was itself in coordination with the national government, were the essential features of the company’s successful response. Water4Ever did what they could, where they were, with what they had. And Water4 was able to bolster that support to help stem the Ebola pandemic as it raged across the region.
This experience has shaped the way Water4 works in a crisis. Thanks to our team of field and tactical experts, we are far from weekend warriors. We are flexible, shifting focus to respond quickly to immediate needs as they shift and persist. For example, in Malawi, the managing director of our local enterprise partner has written COVID hygiene jingles for radio stations and produced hand washing videos for dissemination on news outlets. These rapid responses are a natural extension of the WaSH services our partners provide every day in the communities they serve.
Here are three more ways in which our Water4 partners are going beyond the call of duty.
The World Health Organization’s Kenya office cited Water4 hand washing stations as an inclusive pandemic response. Ensuring travelers have access to safe water greatly reduces the risk of transmission between villages and towns as people move around.
Water4’s model shows that by supporting sustainable local businesses that are embedded in local communities, global trials can lead to local transformation. Local entrepreneurs, across the Water4 network, are not just combating COVID-19, they are investing in flourishing communities simply by doing good where they are, and making opportunities out of the confines of a crisis.