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Nobody wants to be BASIC

In 2020, how can this be true? How can non-essential, high-tech solutions spread faster than life-saving and durable, low-tech solutions? 

First, it’s all about setting high expectations. The water service ladder (see graphic) shows different ways to access water, from collecting at a river to getting piped service in your kitchen. For decades, NGOs and governments have set the bar at “basic”. But basic can be a hand pump that breaks down every month or piped water that is not safe enough to drink. If basic is the only option on the table, it’s no wonder cell phones are a bigger priority than water. 

At Water4, we believe that all of God’s children deserve the opportunity to thrive. We want for rural Africa what we have coming from the tap in Oklahoma City. We want “safe” water for all. This means water that is: 

  1. Safe to drink. No contamination means no risk of getting ill from drinking it.
  2. Convenient. At home or nearby, so you don’t have to walk far or wait in long lines just to have enough to cook, clean, wash, bathe, and drink. 
  3. Available 24/7. What’s the point of a tap that runs dry when you need it most?
  4. Affordable. Paying a small fee for water keeps the business afloat and the water flowing.

Re-created based on UNICEF/WHO definitions. www. washdata.org/monitoring/drinking-water

The challenge is big but not insurmountable. And while Water4 is not there yet, we are relentlessly chasing our dream of safe water for all. 

Some of our customers are still served by hand pumps. The difference is that we ensure the water is safe and the pumps don’t break down because they are managed by a professional water business, trained by Water4, and paid for by customers satisfied with quality service.  

But the ultimate goal is to go the EXTRA mile –  for all our customers to have piped, treated, NUMA water that provides the same level of service, quality, and convenience that we enjoy here in the U.S. It’s a microgrid model that delivers a mega impact. 

Second, it’s all about field application. In a lab, ideation can generate superficial solutions out of context. But when you bring the lab to the field and test solutions with the people you are trying to serve, you get something that works. That’s the Water4 difference – we’re “field folks,” a multinational team of “doers” who have 10 years of experience under our belts. We are activated from the ground-level to produce cost-effective and lasting solutions in each community we serve. 

Join us in helping move rural Africa into the 21st century –  from basic to extra, from poverty to dignity, and from survival to flourishing.

1. www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-2013/africa%E2%80%99s-mobile-youth-drive-change

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