where we Work
Burkina Faso, formerly known as Upper Volta, is a West African country that covers over 105,900 square miles and is home to over 19 million people. After 20 years of relative stability, Burkina Faso turned a page in its history with a popular uprising bringing legislative and presidential elections in November 2015. As a result, skills and responsibilities for providing certain social services (health care, education, drinking water and sanitation) were transferred to local authorities. Municipal elections were held in May 2016, and new municipal councils are being formed.
From 2009-2014, poverty fell from 47% to 40%. Agriculture is the population’s main source of revenue and accounts for 40% of the GDP, employing nearly 80% of the population.
We are bold and confident in the face of a large and complex fight.
The Water Crisis in Burkina Faso
Disease prevention in Burkina Faso is limited and mainly focused on the fight against epidemics. A staggering 88% of diarrheal diseases are caused by low water quality, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. 3 million people in Burkina Faso lack access to an improved water source and only 22% have access to a toilet, causing over 2,800 childhood deaths per year for children under 5. Water supply and sanitation are high in urban areas but low in rural areas, where three-quarters of the population live. Access to improved sanitation lags significantly behind access to water supply.
The Water Solution in Burkina Faso
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia / Category: Countries
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. DRC is bordered by nine countries. It is the second-largest country in Africa (largest in Sub-Saharan Africa) by area and 11th largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, he DRC is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth-most populated nation in Africa, and the 17th most populated country in the world.
European exploration of the Congo basin was carried out under the sponsorship of King Leopold II of Belgium in the 1870s. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo in 1885 naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population to producing rubber, and from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of exploitation and disease. 52 years after annexation by Belgium in 1908, the Belgian Congo achieved independence in 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo.
Ituri Drillers continue to work for the peace between two of the people groups of DRC.
The Water Crisis in the DRC
In 1998, the Democratic Republic of Congo became part of what some people called Africa’s First World War, in a conflict between seven African nations. After the war, water became an increasingly sparse resource due to the collapse of the DRC’s infrastructure during the fighting. Although the DRC use to be one of the wettest nations in Africa, today the majority of rural Congolese do not have access to sanitary water because of the lack of infrastructure. In fact a study carried out by the IRC found that since the war, most Congolese have not died from violence, but rather from malaria, diarrhea, and malnutrition, all problems associated with the lack of water (Global Issues).
In the DRC, the state water utility does not have the ability to improve its water pumping system, because they lack the funds to undertake the project. Instead, they continue to pump water to needy areas through rusty, decaying pipes. According to the IRIN, only about 69 percent of the urban areas of the DRC receive water from the state water utility (IRIN News). This means that there are a significant amount of citizens not receiving water to their towns and villages, resulting in the locals having to find other options to satisfy their need for water. Many of the streams and ponds they are accessing are contaminated with waste, chemicals, or bacteria.
The Water Solution in the DRC
In 2013, Water4 began providing training to a local Congolese organization to provide access to safe water for the Pygmy people of the Ituri Rainforest. For more than a decade, the organization had focused on restoring human rights to the Pygmies, who have endured years of forced slavery by the region’s other people group.
Through joints efforts with the local partner organization, a negotiation was made to purchase the freedom of Pygmy people by offering both the oppressed and the oppressors what they desperately needed: safe water.
Throughout 2014 Water4 worked to train the newly renamed Ituri Drillers, to drill water wells on the land acquired for the newly freed Pygmy people numbering over 1,200. Since then, Ituri Drillers continue to work for the peace between the two people groups, while also offering living water by modeling prayer and worship as they work to provide water to the Pygmy people.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia / Category: Countries
Ghana is one of the most densely populated countries in West Africa. Since the adoption of a new constitution in 1993, Ghana has become more politically stable, but a history of coups, food shortages and corruption means the country remains poor and indebted.
We are bold and confident in the face of a large and complex fight.
The Water Crisis in Ghana
The three northern regions are particularly deprived, with one in ten children dying before their fifth birthday. 80% of all diseases in Ghana are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation and more than nine million people don’t have access to safe drinking water. Only around 13% of the population have access to adequate sanitation facilities.
Dependency on unsafe water sources is higher in rural areas. Due to drinking contaminated water, diarrheal disease is the third most commonly reported illness at health centers across the country, and 25% of all deaths in children under the age of five are attributed to diarrhea. In addition to lack of sanitation infrastructure, some cultural beliefs and views encourage people in rural areas not to use latrines. With our local partners, Water.org is educating and encouraging people to use latrines through community-led sanitation initiatives.
Ghana is rich in natural resources but many of its people are unemployed or live in poverty. Access to basic services is often inadequate, affecting people’s health and preventing them from escaping poverty.
The Water Solution in Ghana
This past year was one of learning curves as we moved from planning to production in our first two Regional Operating Centers (ROCs) in Ghana and Ethiopia. These ROCs are in-country manufacturing facilities that will employ dozens of men and women with jobs in well drilling, parts manufacturing, and general operations to further our work throughout Africa.
This groundbreaking initiative with our partner World Vision is the first of its kind, and therefore requires adaptability as we have transitioned from planning mode to discovery mode, learning how the concept works in-country. Throughout the year, the model was regularly modified to develop a standard operating procedure based on the in-country experience we were gaining.
Well drillers and parts manufacturers were recruited and trained for the Ghana facility, and Water4 staff spent several weeks in Ghana setting up operations in the new manufacturing facility. Since the initial training, equipment produced in the Ghana ROC has been used to drill wells in Ghana, Mali and Niger.
The goal is to introduce a sustainable approach to providing clean water for communities through a service delivery model. Through this model, communities pay a small, incremental fee for the ROC to monitor and service the wells within the village. Having a local maintenance service ensures the continued functionality of the well, bringing us one step closer to our goal of eradicating the world water crisis by putting the solution in the hands of the local people.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia / Category: Countries
An East African Country, Kenya borders five other African countries and covers 224,445 square miles with a population of over 49 million people and known for it’s tropical climate, bordering the Indian Ocean and the largest tropical freshwater lake in the world, Lake Victoria. Kenya’s landscape changes from a humid, tropical climate to savannah grasslands near its capital, Nairobi, making it a thriving environment for Africa’s wildlife and a favorite for African tourism.
Kenya also has a thriving GDP, the largest for East and Central Africa, with commercial, agriculture and service industries leading the economical success. Kenya gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963 and was declared a republic just one year later, named after the famed, Mount Kenya, the second largest mountain on the continent. The national languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.
Although Kenya’s economy is leading central and eastern Africa, they do rank at the bottom of the “medium human development” category of the Human Development Index at 146 out of 188. The HDI is part of the measurement of the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report, most recently released in March of 2017.
For the women and men of FWS, their faith is part of their daily lives and is leading their daily efforts to fight the water crisis.
The Water Crisis in Kenya
According to WaterAid, over 19 million of Kenya’s 49 million residents don’t have safe water and 32 million (7 in 10 people) don’t have access to a decent toilet. This lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene steals the lives of over 5,000 children under 5 each year from diarrhoeal disease.
As well as being scarce, water in Kenya is not distributed fairly. Priority is given to planned urban areas and wealthy rural communities that can pay for services, so those in slums and remote communities often go without opportunities for development. Water, sanitation and hygiene-related illnesses and conditions are the number one cause of hospitalization in children under age 5. Access to water and sanitation also contribute to time savings for women, more hours in school for girls and fewer health costs.
The Water Solution in Kenya
Water4 started working with partners in Kenya, now known as Freedom Water Solutions, in 2015. Freedom Water Solutions started as a new enterprise in 2018, but has been operating since 2015, completing 22 new water projects focused south of Mombasa. Alois Gathenya (Emmanuel) leads the enterprise as the managing director and Wali Elly leads operations and Field Operations Director. In addition to Emmanuel and Wali, there are six drill team members.
In addition to leading the field operations for FWS, Wali is also a Water4 Champion in Manual Drilling and Hydrogeology, making drilling one of the main strengths of FWS. Their 2018 goal is to complete 20 water projects and learn to use new types of drilling equipment that will allow them to drill through rock faster.
Emmanuel is Rwandan, but grew up in Kenya due to the Rwandan genocide in the early 1990s. Over the years, Emmanuel has developed a lot of experience in management and disciple making in Kenya, and is now able implement that experience into his daily life and leadership of his team and communities through Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) training and Disciple Making Movements (DMM).
“Freedom Water Solutions is focused on holistic community transformation in areas south of Mombasa, Kenya,” said Water4 Director of Implementation, Richard Moore. “They spend ample time in each community training in WaSH and DMM after drilling a new well working to meet the community’s physical and spiritual needs.”
For the women and men of FWS, their faith is part of their daily lives and is leading their daily efforts to fight the water crisis. The team members and leaders of FWS are exceptional in character and skill and we look forward to seeing their growth over the years.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, WaterAid / Category: Countries
A coastal West African country, Liberia covers about 43,000 square miles and is home to 4.5 million people. English is the official language of Liberia, in addition to over 20 tribal dialects making up 95% of the population. Liberia was formerly colonized by the American Colonization Society and declared it’s independence in 1847, but independence was not recognized by the U.S. until after the American Civil War in 1862.
The first president of Liberia was Joseph Jenks Roberts, an African American from Virginia that resettled in Liberia after the country declared independence. Roberts influenced the Liberian constitution and flag, modeled after the U.S. Liberia is the only republic in Africa to have self-proclaimed independence, not resulting from a revolt of power, as well as the oldest modern republic in Africa. Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations and Organization of African Unity.
Because of a 14 year civil war that broke out after a military coup in 1980, the entire economy was decimated and now 85% of the population lives below the international poverty line. Economic stability was once again threatened in 2014 by the Ebola virus epidemic, infecting over 9,860 Liberians and taking the lives of over 4,400, according to the World Health Organization.
Lack of safe water and sanitation causes over 700 deaths per year in children under five.
The Water Crisis in Liberia
According to WaterAid, 1.1 million Liberians lack access to safe water and 3.7 million don’t have access to proper sanitation. Lack of safe water and sanitation causes over 700 deaths per year in children under five. Liberia is consistently in the bottom five poorest countries in the world according to the UN, the CIA and USAID. According to WaSH Liberia, Liberia has over 10,000 improved water points. Of this 10,000, 6,371 are fully functional and 3,630 are poorly functioning or broken.
The Water Solution in Liberia
Water4 started efforts Liberia in 2016 through partnership with The Last Well, an organization with the goal to eliminate Liberian water scarcity and proclaim the Gospel to the nation by 2020. The Water4 drilling efforts in Liberia are facilitated by the Water of Hope team, led by John Barry, mentored by Dan and Danielle Hentschl, and employing nine people. In 2016, the Sierra Leone teams drilled 30 wells in Liberia with The Last Well. Because of the project’s success, the team moved to Liberia at the beginning of 2017 and developed Water of Hope, with the goal to complete 30 new water projects with The Last Well in 2017. Water4 plans to partner with The Last Well through 2020 drilling at least 30 wells per year, providing clean and Living Water to all Liberians.
Since starting operations in 2017, Water of Hope has grown in the knowledge and experience of manual drilling techniques, and confidence in sharing the Gospel with communities through their work and lives. Through this, they have also witnessed two churches planted in communities where they work, Petroken and Kaytuzon.
Not only has the team’s expertise and community involvement grown, but employees capacity to improve their livelihoods has increased dramatically. Many are able to make investments in the family through quality education and healthcare contributions.
“We thank God for the opportunity and the life transformation that drilling has brought us,” said Dan Hentschl. “We are trying our hardest and we know that God is helping.”
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, The Last Well, WaSH Liberia / Category: Countries
Malawi, also know as “The Warm Heart of Africa”, is a Southeast African country with a dense population of over 17 million people for the 45,747 square miles it covers. Malawi was once known as Nyasaland and was a protectorate of the United Kingdom. It later became a protectorate of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, but after the Federation was dissolved in 1963, Nyasaland was renamed Malawi and became an independent nation under Queen Elizabeth II, declaring independence two years later. Malawi now has a democratic, multi-party government.
Malawi is among the world’s least developed countries, ranking No. 170 out of 188 in the 2017 Human Development Index. Malawi has a low life expectancy and high infant mortality. HIV/AIDS is highly prevalent, resulting in a significant drain on both the labor force and government expenditures. 53% of the population of Malawi is under the age of 18, and 16.7% of children under 18 are Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). Almost 1 million of the OVC children have lost at least one parent to AIDS.
We see people getting involved, retelling the story they have heard.
The Water Crisis in Malawi
The water crisis in Malawi affects over 11.7 million people, with 1.7 lacking access to safe water and 10 million without adequate sanitation. This causes tragic death from waterborne illness to over 3,000 children under 5 per year.
The Water Solution in Malawi
Water4 has been active in Malawi since 2012 and initially started work with Malawi Orphan Ministries. At the recommendation of Water4, this team has now grown into a full-fledged drilling enterprise, Water Access Malawi (WA-M) and is the combination of two teams that merged at the end of 2016. Led by Joseph Faison and Tati Ndalama, WA-M has provided safe water to over 15,000 people since 2012. The average cost of a well in Malawi is $1,800.
Joseph grew up in a small community in Malawi, collecting unsafe water from an open water source. When Joseph was introduced to the Water4 drilling system, he saw it as an opportunity to reach people in rural settings with the Word of God. Joseph is the assistant Disciple Making Movements (DMM) champion, focusing on leading Water4 partners across the world in a ministry focus of connecting safe water to the Living water of Jesus through discipleship.
DMM trained teams learn to share their faith in culturally appropriate, conversational, discovery based ways. WA-M engages communities in Discovery Bible Studies (DBS) to practice engaging with scripture. They believe this has caused the greatest growth they have ever seen in their drilling ministry. Joseph and Tati often perform DBS with the drilling team and communities at the end of each day.
“DBS is the way you reach out to people with the Word of God,” Joseph said. “So what happens is you gather the people you’re reaching out to with water and then you read the Bible.
We see people getting involved, retelling the story they have heard. If it was not for the water project I think it would have been difficult to reach them because some of the communities are not welcoming, they will not easily open the door until they see something you are doing.”
Because of his background in health and sanitation, Missional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (mWaSH) principles come naturally to Tati, and he spends a considerable amount of time working with communities in health and sanitation. Tati recently accepted a Water4 Champion role as the Water4 mWaSH Assistant. mWash is a missional water, sanitation and hygiene curriculum developed by Lifewater International that teaches how development work in communities fits into the bigger story of God’s redemptive work in the world. Tati works closely with Benjamin Liringa in DRC to train drilling enterprises and communities in mWaSH.
The willingness of Joseph and Tati to lead the WA-M team in providing access to safe water is continually helping communities experience the Living water that Jesus offers – leaving a lasting impact on countless lives. Water4 is excited to see how God will continue to use Joseph and Tati in their roles as disciple-makers and water-warriors, in the lives of WA-M team members and communities across Southeast Africa.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, WaterAid, USAID / Category: Countries
Rwanda, known as the “land of a thousand hills”, is a Central and East African country, known for its temperate climate and connection to the African Great Lakes region. Rwanda is also known politically for having very little corruption and for being one of only two African countries with a female majority in the national parliament, making the nation a worldwide leader for women’s empowerment.
Home to over 11 million people, Rwanda is one of the smallest African countries in land mass, but has one of the highest population densities in Africa. In 1994, Rwanda was devastated by the Rwandan genocide, ending the lives of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans and destroying the economy. Following the genocide, Rwandans leaders overcame tragedy and have rebuilt Rwanda on the values of peace and forgiveness. Rwanda is now led by President Paul Kagame, who took office in 2000.
The availability of consistent and safe water has improved health for countless Rwandans.
The Water Crisis in Rwanda
Although Rwanda stands out as a leader in the world in many positive ways, most Rwandans still lack access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Rwanda ranks at No. 159 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index. The HDI is part of the UN’s Human Development Report which is a composite of life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators.
The Water Solution in Rwanda
Water4 started working in Rwanda in 2014 in partnership with Water Access Rwanda, a youth led social enterprise that provides simple, affordable and durable water solutions in East Africa. Christelle Kwizera founded the company in 2014 and now serves as Managing Director. Water4 was introduced to Christelle while she was in college studying mechanical engineering at Oklahoma Christian University.
As Managing Director of Water Access Rwanda, Christelle directs management of all manual borehole drilling, water purification devices, geological surveys and community Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) trainings. Her skillset in community WaSH training has made her a leader among industry peers in the WaSH sector across Africa.
“The day is coming when people will look back and celebrate the strength and courage of this woman, born into chaos and who despite the worst odds, pushed forward for the sake of her people and for the world,” said Water4 CEO Matt Hangen.
Water Access Rwanda believes in sustainability, scale and job creation, all of which fuel their approach to tackling the water, sanitation and hygiene crisis. Water Access Rwanda believes sustainability can only be achieved when people and communities come to understand the value of paying affordable rates for consistent access to safe water which in turn provides the resources needed to sustain and scale the water solutions.
In just four years, Water Access Rwanda has grown to 37 employees and contractors, including two drill teams and multiple interns. It is known for being a youth-led enterprise, focusing on building up young leaders to generate change and innovation throughout Rwanda. In addition to Water4 funding, Water Access Rwanda is funded from other granting entities and from the sale of their water services, filtering and pump products.
Rwanda was the first Water4 partner country to implement the NUMA water system, known locally in Rwanda as INUMA. Water Access Rwanda has installed NUMA systems in multiple regions of Rwanda, providing communities with convenient access to safe water at an affordable price. The availability of consistent and safe water has improved health for countless Rwandans and has saved the lives of many who once relied on crocodile infested areas as their water source. The NUMA systems have also created job opportunities, contributing to a reduction in unemployment rates in Rwanda.
Water Access Rwanda hopes to employ 100 young people in Rwanda by the end of 2020 to continue providing innovative water systems. At Water4, we are constantly pleased with the growth, development and character of our partners at Water Access Rwanda and look forward to seeing how they continue to make waves across their country and continent.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia / Category: Countries
A West African country with a diverse climate, Sierra Leone is home to just over 7 million people and is one of the smaller countries in the world, covering 205 square miles. Sierra Leone gained their independence from the United Kingdom in 1961 and were declared a republic just 10 years later in 1971.
The five regions that make up Sierra Leone produce a variety of mining for gold, diamonds, bauxite and titanium, all naturally produced in Sierra Leone. Although Sierra Leone has a wealth of natural minerals, 70 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line.
A decade of civil war in the 1990s left the infrastructure of Sierra Leone seriously damaged. As a result, many water points and toilet facilities remain out of use today, which has added to a perpetual cycle of sickness and disease in the country. Sierra Leone was hit hard by the Ebola Outbreak in 2014, leaving their healthcare system broken, resulting in more deaths caused by healthcare neglect than from Ebola and highlighting the need for access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
By giving them clean water, our teams go further to give the living water.
The Water Crisis in Sierra Leone
According to WaterAid, more than six out of 10 people in Sierra Leone don’t have safe water and eight out of 10 people don’t have access to a decent toilet. As a result, over 1,200 children under five die each year from waterborne disease in Sierra Leone, a statistic that Water4 partner, Willamette International fights to end every day.
The Water Solution in Sierra Leone
Willamette International started operations in Sierra Leone in 2005 as Willamette Medical Teams. As the Willamette team focused on medical treatment, they quickly realized the number of people they were treating for waterborne illness and began pursuing safe water initiatives.
Led by Country Director, Peter Sheriff, and Engineer and Technical Advisor, John Campbell, Willamette International now has three teams in Sierra Leone that completed 94 water projects and changed 42,900 lives in 2017, and has completed over 300 bore holes in schools, churches, mosques and communities since inception. John serves as the intermediary between the government and Willamette, navigating the relationships between local and national government processes for the Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and ensuring that the enterprise follows government policies through implementation projects.
The Willamette team is made up of a management and operational team. The management team has six employees and the operational team has three drilling teams that now function as registered entrepreneurs and enterprises. Each drill team has six employees, a business owner, manager, site engineer, three drillers and a Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) officer.
With each water project, Willamette focuses on the physical and spiritual health of communities, with the overall goal of the team to see communities transformed through living water and a relationship with Jesus. Another transformation Willamette focuses on is redirecting the relief mentality that has been embedded into the people of Sierra Leone, toward a development mentality by involving people to identify their felt needs and find possible solutions.
“We believe that our work is an access ministry through which unreached people groups and communities can be reached with the Gospel of Christ,” said John. “Community leaders welcome our teams into their towns because they want clean water; and these communities under normal circumstance would not allow the Gospel. By giving them clean water, our teams go further to give the living water.”
The Willamette team has seen tremendous growth in the communities they serve. Twelve churches have been planted in 12 different communities by Sowing Seeds, a partner organization of Willamette International, along with training 20 pastors in partnership with Grace Bible Institute in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In the coming years they hope to see more community transformation through the freedom of safe water.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, Water Aid / Category: Countries
The largest country in Eastern Africa, Tanzania lies between the African Great Lakes and the Indian Ocean, covering 365,756 square miles and home to Africa’s lowest point, Lake Tanganyika and the highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. Over one third of Tanzania’s land is set aside for protected conservation areas, made up primarily of 16 national parks. The national language is Swahili, but 100 other languages are also spoken, the most linguistically diverse in East Africa.
Despite the diverse beauty of its landscape, approximately 44.9 million of its 51.8 million citizens live on less than $2 a day. Tanzania ranks No. 151 out of 188 countries on the 2017 Human Development Index report, which measures life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators to determine the development of a country.
We just want to be servants like Jesus was when he was on earth.
The Water Crisis in Tanzania
Tanzania is home to over 51 million people, with 70% of its residents living in rural areas and only 44% of rural residents with access to an improved water source.
Nearly half the population of Tanzania, 23 million people, do not have access to safe water. 44 million people lack access to appropriate sanitation causing over 3,000 deaths per year from waterborne illness in children under five.
The Water Solution in Tanzania
Water4 launched a partnership in Tanzania with Mighty Men Well Drilling in 2016. The name “Mighty Men” was inspired by King David’s Mighty Men in 2 Samuel 23, and was started as an initiative of Empowering Lives International in 2013. Nine employees make up the team, Yokobo, Kisula, Dotto, Ibrahim, Shuka, George, Ngosha, Lawrence, Amos Ndalahwa, Daudi and Andrew. The team has completed 12 water projects in the past three years and is focusing on installing water systems in 20 schools in 2018. The first two years of drilling were extremely challenging as they learned drilling would require a large mechanical rig. After receiving an investment to purchase a drill rig, Mighty Men drilled 15 wells in 2017 and are focusing on installing 30 wells in 2018. They believe that schools are a way to have the most impact because of the opportunity to empower the next generations. The average water project in Tanzania costs $8,000, impacting 600-700 lives per well. The geology of Tanzania requires heavier equipment than the traditional Water4 hand drilling method, making the average well cost higher in Tanzania.
Mighty Men Drillers share the Gospel throughout the water project process in every community they serve.
Over the next three years, their goal is to become a leading example of Christian business practices, having a business that is Christ-centered. “We just want to be servants like Jesus was when he was on earth,” said Co-Director and CFO, Andrew Belko.
Mighty Men Drillers have witnessed a wide range of change in Tanzanian communities against the backdrop of a newly elected president who has ushered in a period of less corruption and more peace.
Mighty Men Drillers finish each well installation by gathering community members together to talk about the Gospel and the Living water Jesus offers, further transforming communities. “That’s really the best part,” said Andrew. “After all this work and getting the water, you get to share the message of the Living water.”
It’s the strength, determination and care of teams like Mighty Men Drillers that will eradicate the physical and spiritual water crisis around the globe. At Water4, we are constantly grateful to be partnered with such willing and bold leaders across Africa.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, Water Aid / Category: Countries
Togo, a small West African coastal country, shares borders with Burkina Faso to the north, Benin to the east and Ghana to the west. Made up of just over 22,000 square miles, Togo is one of Africa’s smallest countries, with a population of an estimated 7.6 million people.
Togo is a primarily French speaking country and former French colony – gaining independence from France in 1960. Togo’s religion consists primarily of indigenous beliefs, with Christianity and Islam being the minority religions. A coastal nation, Togo has a great climate for agriculture that provides productive growing seasons; however, this thriving climate doesn’t make up for the developmental obstacles Togo faces, ranking low on the Human Development Index as No. 127 out of 151 countries.
This kind of love and dedication is transforming lives through the power of Jesus and the freedom of safe water.
The Water Crisis in Togo
According to Unicef, 33% of the Togolese population don’t have access to clean water and a quarter of the population don’t have access to drinking water within 30 minutes walking distance of their homes. Along with lack of safe water access, seven people out of 10 don’t have access to adequate toilet facilities.
The Water Solution in Togo
Water4 began work in Togo in 2010 by connecting with Matt Hangen, now Managing Director of Water4. Matt and his wife, Grace, had been living in Togo as missionaries for four years when they reached out to Water4 for manual drilling training. Soon after, Water4 established L’Eau Pour le Togo (LPT), meaning Water for Togo. In 2012, the Hangen’s moved to Oklahoma to work with Water4 headquarters, and transferred management of LPT to the current Managing Director, Nestor Abalo, a third generation blacksmith, and a perfect fit for the role.
LPT now consists of three drilling micro-enterprises, a two-member geological survey team, two Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) mobilizers and five manufacturing employees. Since inception, LPT has drilled over 380 wells throughout Togo.
“L’eau pour le Togo is driven by a relentless hammer wielding dreamer named Nestor who refuses to believe in the status quo,” said Matt Hangen. “Having drilled over 380 wells since inception, these courageous men and women are changing lives and making dreams come true every day.”
LPT has seen transformative change in their work as the Gospel is introduced into the lives of the people they serve. LPT partners with local churches and church planting institutions to provide water in targeted communities as a means of introduction and outreach.
Located in Northern Togo, the Oikos School of Church Planting has been a major partner of LPT, both facilitating the training of members of the LPT drilling enterprises, and working to see churches planted in unreached communities. Two of the micro-enterprise leaders, Awe and Tchozo, now lead discipleship activities in their own communities.
The entire LPT team has played a vital role in community and team discipleship and have worked with additional volunteers to reach even more people. Mama Essowe is an LPT volunteer who leads women’s groups and community churches in WasH and discipleship trainings. Her connection with women in communities has reached families in ways that might not have been reached otherwise, making her a key disciple-maker with the LPT team.
The entire LPT drill team has recently been trained in disciple making in an effort to further deepen the spiritual growth of communities where they work.
The LPT team is pouring themselves into the communities where they work and live. This kind of love and dedication is transforming lives through the power of Jesus and the freedom of safe water. Water4 is honored to be part of the impact LPT is having in Togolese communities and looks forward to even more growth in the future.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, UNICEF / Category: Countries
Uganda, also known as the Pearl of Africa, is an East African country bordering five other East African Countries and known for its substantial portion of Lake Victoria, source of the Nile River and home to the Eastern Rift mountain range, famously known for Mt. Kilimanjaro. English and Swahili are the main languages spoken by the over 41 million residents.
Uganda was once a protectorate of Britain, but gained its independence in 1962 and has since been in intermittent conflict and civil war against the Lord’s Resistance Army. This ongoing conflict has crippled development and caused Uganda to be ranked low on the Human Development Index at 163 out of 188. As one of the poorest nations in the world, over 37% of Ugandans live on less than $1.25 a day, causing perpetual poverty cycles and unrest throughout the nation.
The number of people with access to safe water and sanitation has improved over the past 10 years, but as of 2015, more than 23 million out of 41 million Ugandans still didn’t have access to safe water and 31 million Ugandans don’t have access to a decent toilet. This causes a high risk for waterborne disease and results in the deaths of over 4,500 children under 5 each year to diarrhoeal disease.
The team of Freedom Drillers refuse to let the challenges of the water crisis stop their fight.
High population growth, over 3% annually and 5.68 births per woman, stresses water and sanitation resources that are currently available. In unplanned urban settlements near Kampala, residents pay up to three times more for safe tap water than residents living in planned urban communities. As a result, residents collect water from alternate contaminated sources, causing frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
Water4 started working in Uganda in 2010 and operations are now managed by Freedom Drillers, led by Meddy Wokorach and Patrick Arop. Freedom Drillers has 16 employees that make up two manual drilling teams and one mechanical drilling team. The team recently promoted Meddy as Managing Director of their operation because of his servant leadership, hard work and expertise. Under his leadership Water4 is hoping the team will continue to grow spiritually while improving the professionalism of their work.
Since starting operations in 2010, Freedom Drillers has completed 155 water projects, 15 of those in 2017 and they’ve set a goal to complete over 40 new wells in 2018, all under service agreements in the communities where they work.
The women and men of Freedom Drillers have faced many challenges, but refuse to let the challenges of the water crisis stop their fight.
“They don’t quit,” said Water4 Director of Implementation, Richard Moore. “These gals and guys are committed to ending the water crisis, and with the tools in their tool kit they have what they need to get it done.”
After each new water well is installed, Freedom Drillers provides an initial 1-2 Missional Water Access Sanitation and Hygiene trainings through curriculum of LifeWater International (mWaSH), connecting the living water of the Gospel to safe water through scripture. These trainings tie in core Gospel teachings with the sanitation ladder, key handwashing times and how to build handwashing stations.
The faith of the employees is the reason they’ve kept fighting over the years. Without the freedom of living water, they wouldn’t have the drive they do today, to make sure all people in their nation have access to safe and living water. Faith is at the core of what they do. The team members start each day together in bible study and prayer before beginning work and that pours out into the communities they serve.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, Water Aid / Category: Countries
Water4 partner, Access Water4 Zambia is transforming lives and instilling hope in Zambian communities in bold and innovative ways.
Home to over 16 million people, Zambia has one of the world’s fastest growing economies thanks to rich resources and a thriving agriculture industry. Zambia was once known as Northern Rhodesia and was named Zambia after the Zambezi River when gaining independence in 1964. Zambia is home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls, and is now a thriving destination for Africa tourism.
Although Zambia’s economy and tourism industry are growing, challenges remain with widespread poverty and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, making the average life expectancy just 47 years. 4.7 million out of 16 million residents don’t have access to safe water, and an even greater 7 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. As a result, 5,000 children die every year from diarrhea in Zambia.
Water4 has trained three Zambian drilling teams, with a focus on technical and spiritual support.
Water4 began working in Zambia in 2009, training a team of five young men who’d been orphaned by the AIDS crisis. Together they founded Samfya Water and Sanitation and began completing water projects in and around their local communities. Access Water4 Zambia took over operations in 2014, and since operations began in 2009, 227 wells and 3 piped water systems have been completed. They have also improved, capped and fitted 45 shallow wells with Access pumps. Their work has impacted 46,291 lives, including 740 people with in-home piped water. Access Water4 Zambia has grown into the lead franchise of three manual drilling teams, Bangweulu Drillers, Chifunabuli Water and Sanitation and Pambashe Drilling Company.
Current initiatives focus on well projects, water vending kiosks and Gospel Reaching Opportunities with Water (GROW), an irrigation pilot program. In everything they do, Access Water4 Zambia uses water as an access ministry to share the Gospel and make disciples. For example, when doing mobilization and mWaSH training in the community, relationships are developed with the mobilizers who invite the community into conversations about the Gospel.
Carmen Brubacher serves as an administrative and technical advisor to Access Water4 Zambia. A second generation missionary, Carmen grew up in Kenya and has extensive international development experience having worked with post-war reconstruction in Sudan and the AIDS crisis in Zambia.
In 2004, Carmen and her husband, Mark, moved to the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan to work as area coordinators with Fellowship for African Relief in water and sanitation, food security, health and small grant development programs. In 2007, they moved to Zambia with their two children to work with Bright Hope International, targeting poverty alleviation through local churches.
Since 2013, Carmen has served full-time with Water4 as the director for Zambian programs. Carmen has an undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California Berkeley and a graduate degree in Civil Engineering with a focus in Water and Sanitation from the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
“By providing access to sustainable sources of clean water, Access Water4 Zambia helps validate the church’s response to the community by meeting a very tangible need and inviting people into a church where they can be discipled,” Carmen said.
Discipleship happens in Zambian communities as drillers share their testimonies, attend discipleship meetings, participate in church planting and strengthen partnerships with Bible schools through training and mentorship in Disciple Making Movements (DMM) from Bright Hope International and Water4.
“As we talk with them [the drillers], they’re showing interest in spiritual things and asking if we can spend more time with them on discipleship–not just drilling,” Carmen said.
Water4 has trained three Zambian drilling teams, with a focus on technical and spiritual support. Carmen’s prayer is for the drillers to grow individually, and for their lives and testimonies to influence their families and the communities where they live and work.
Prosper, team leader of the Bangweulu Drillers franchise says “In general, the drilling program has really changed my life. I am supporting my family financially with the money I make from drilling. I took my wife to the beach and we had a coke the other day. I’ve never been able to do that before. Spiritually, there is also a change in my life as a result of being mentored. I understand about tithing and that it comes from the heart, not just a rule of the church. I tithe on the money I make from drilling and it has helped my church. I’m a deacon in my church and I’m leading the youth department. As a result of the discipleship training I’ve received, I’ve also started mentoring the 40 youth that I meet with each week. I never used to do that and didn’t even think it was important.”
For Carmen and the entire Access Water4 Zambia team, life is about using their talents in a way that honors Jesus and shares his Gospel with the nation they call home. Access Water4 Zambia is paving the way for a Water4 exit strategy in their region, and we couldn’t be happier.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia / Category: Countries
Peru is a South American country and home to the Andes mountains, the Amazon River and the Amazon Rainforest, making it very geographically diverse. Peru makes up 496,225 square miles and is home to over 31 million people. After establishing independence from Spain in 1821, Peru faced decades of political instability, finally stabilizing in the early 1900s. The later half of the 1900s consisted of wars and economic instability, but Peru has continued to seek economic growth and fight corruption. Peru ranks high on the Human Development Index (HDI) at No. 87 out of 187 countries. The HDI is part of the UN’s Human Development Report which is a composite of life expectancy, education and per capita income indicators.
Although Peru’s stability seems to be thriving, 26% of the population is considered to live in poverty, 11% of that living in extreme poverty, according to The World Bank. According to the World Health Organization, water access increased from 30% to 85% from 1985-2010, but most systems installed are not sustainable, leaving the population benefiting from that growth with broken and contaminated water sources.
In just a couple of years, the team has bridged the gap between continents to become part of the Water4 network.
Water4 started working in Peru in 2016 through a partnership with Texas Baptist Men. TBM already had a team leader, Keny Ojanama, with leadership qualities to form Water4 drilling enterprise, Water Access Peru. Keny has a degree in Bible Studies from the University of Texas and has completed a year of Master’s of Divinity in graduate school. WAP is based out of Iquitos, Peru, and has six full-time employees who have since been trained in rotary jetting and hydrogeology drilling.
In just a couple of years, the team has bridged the gap between continents to become part of the Water4 network. All other Water4 teams are located throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, giving them opportunities to network with other teams at enterprise trainings. Although Water Access Peru has geographical limitations, they’ve become part of the Water4 network through collaboration on WhatsApp channels.
The team members have very high levels of education, specifically in drilling and Christian theology, strengthening the faith foundation of the team. Toribio and Estir engage in communities where they work through discipleship and Keny leads the team in daily bible study.
Since partnering with Water4, the team has trained in two levels of hydrogeology level and most recently trained in mechanized drilling in April 2018. They hope to continue learning and multiply it more drilling teams throughout Peru.
By Emilie Hechtner / Sources: Wikipedia, WaterAid, World Health Organization, UNICEF/ Category: Countries