Around the world, more than 663 million people live without access to clean water—and this month we’re partnering with charity: water to do something about it.
Charity: water helps transform communities in developing countries by providing clean and safe drinking water and to learn more about how clean water impacts communities for the better, we spoke with charity: water’s senior manager of business development, Anthony Marinos. Read on to learn more about how charity: water is addressing the global water crisis, the timeline for completing wells, and the best ways to get involved.
Q: How do you identify the communities most in need, and how do you initiate the process of bringing them clean water?
A: We fund water programs in 27 countries around the globe—in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America—and work with our local partners to select high-need communities, schools, and individuals based on national criteria and development goals. Water scarcity, poverty, political stability, and the partners themselves all play a part in where we choose to work. But ultimately, we’re focused on providing rural communities with their first access to clean water.
We know that investing in local expertise is the best way to create long-term impact. Our partners have years of experience and local knowledge to deliver the best water projects, one community at a time. While charity: water raises awareness and funds, our partners drill through bedrock, protect springs, and mobilize communities every day.
Q: Can you take us through the phases of building a well? How long does it take?
A: Charity: water doesn’t just fund wells, but a variety of different water solutions including rainwater catchments, spring protections, piped systems, and bio-sand filters. Water sources, terrain, and population all play a part in determining what technology is required to serve people well. Building water and sanitation projects can be a time-consuming process, and each one typically takes 18 to 21 months to finish. We don't consider a project "complete" until we know all of its components are in place and properly serving the community. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what the timeline typically looks like:
- The grant: Charity: water grants money bi-annually, so donations are sent to the field in January or July
- 6 months later: Partners receive permits and supplies, pick sites, and begin work
- 6 to 9 months later: Partners collect midterm reports and send charity: water updates
- 12 months: Partners complete work and train communities to use their new water source
- 12 to 15 months later: Partners provide initial photos, GPS coordinates, and community information
- 21 months later: Charity: water receives completion reports, verifies the dates, and sends reports to those who donated
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges to providing clean water in rural communities?
A: Since our emphasis is on the most remote and rural regions of the world, the biggest challenges tend to revolve around the climate and terrain. Communities we serve are often located in brutal environments, where temperatures exceed 110°F and drought and famine are commonplace. Thanks to advancements in technology and the hard work of our local partners, we’re able to bring sustainable solutions to even the toughest of places.
Q: Can you share some of the immediate and long-term benefits communities experience after receiving clean water?
A: For people in developing countries, clean water can change everything. It dramatically improves health, empowers women, and increases education.
“For people in developing countries, clean water can change everything. It dramatically improves health, empowers women, and increases education.”
Access to clean water gives community members time back to go to school and start businesses, which helps combat poverty. In fact, the World Health Organization has reported that every $1 invested in clean water can yield $4 to $12 in economic returns, making it perhaps the single most powerful tool for sparking growth and igniting development.
Q: How will Thrive Market member donations impact the communities that charity:water works with?
A: 100% of the money raised from Thrive Market member donations will help fund water projects for communities and families in need, and every $30 will bring clean water to one more person. We have the power to change thousands of lives in a matter of weeks!
Q: For members who want to do more, what are some of the best ways to get involved?
A: In addition to donating their savings this month, the best way for Thrive Market members to support charity: water is to join our monthly giving program, The Spring. By joining this community, members will continue to help transform lives and communities around the world. And every single penny will help bring clean water to people in need.