Sustainability Driving Change in Uganda

Sustainability Driving Change in Uganda

At Connect for Water, we often ask ourselves how we can bring clean water to those in need in a sustainable way. One of the ways our partners, Ekisinga Ministries, are doing just that is through water kiosks in Jinja Town, Uganda. 

Most of the Ugandan urban population get their water from the Uganda National Water and Sewage Corporation (NWSC).  Because most families do not have water running to their homes, water comes from community standpipes. Water is collected in jerry cans and brought back to the homes for consumption. Water testing has proven that the water quality is not consistent and contains microbiological contamination that leads to sickness and death.

It is well known by Ugandans that the water that comes from the NWSC standpipes must be boiled or treated before it can be consumed. Boiling water is accomplished by burning wood, charcoal or LP gas. These methods are expensive, use natural resources and are time consuming.

They also found that not all water will be consumed and thus does not need to be treated. Non-consumable situations include bathing and washing clothes. However, water that is consumed or used to wash dishes and fruits and vegetables needs to be treated. An affordable solution needed to address both of these areas.

Through your generous donations, two facility filtration systems were gifted to Ekisinga. These systems will be connected to the existing NWSC standpipe infrastructure to provide safe and reliable drinking water at affordable prices. The revenue will provide sustainable funds to maintain the filtration system for many years and pay for additional systems to be installed in surrounding neighborhoods. As community members typically purchase bottled water, this system will also help them save money and reduce plastic waste.

This is just one of the many ways your support has provided clean water to those in need. Sustainability is always a key aspect of the projects that we partner with. We have seen how projects that require participants to pay something for clean water have a much greater impact and multiply their impact.

Clean Water Situation in the U.S.

Clean Water Situation in the U.S.

At Connect for Water, we are all about helping people gain access to clean water. We have partners in over 65 countries and are constantly reaching more communities with clean water. Yet what about the people in our own backyard? There are many communities across the United States that need access to clean water. We think of those affected by winter storms in Texas, those with contaminated water in Flint, Michigan and those living on American Indian Reservations. These communities have a real need for clean water today.

Many of these communities are in need of clean water because their water infrastructure has been damaged. In Texas at the height of the water crisis and winter storms in February 2021, nearly 15 million people did not have access to clean water. At first, the rolling blackouts caused many water treatment centers to be shut down. This lowered the supply to many areas. At the same time, freezing temperatures broke many water pipes. These factors combined to lower the pressure in the water systems which meant that bacteria was more likely to grow. Texans were encouraged to boil their water, but many could not even turn on their stoves without electricity. This led to many Texans reaching out to disaster relief organizations who brought in clean water. Natural disasters from the wildfires in the west to hurricanes in the southeast can cause clean water shortages. This is why it is so important to be aware of clean water solutions and how you can help in these situations. 

There are also many communities in the United States that do not have access to reliable water infrastructure. On many American Indian reservations, clean water is not readily available. According to recent research by NPR, more than 2 million Americans do not have access to clean water. Fifty-eight out of every 1,000 Native American households lack plumbing, compared with 3 out of every 1,000 white households. This leads to a higher rate of deaths, poverty and unemployment in these communities. Darlene Yazzie shared that she has to drive 9 miles to buy clean water. These communities are never able to raise enough money to pay for the extensive infrastructure needed to gain access to clean water.

We share these stories to encourage you to be on the lookout for opportunities to provide clean water in our own communities. We love helping in other countries, but what can we do to help our neighbors? If you would like to be a part of our work, in the US and around the world, become a water sponsor. This is a great way to partner with us.

A Heart for Clean Water

A Heart for Clean Water

In our work, we have the privilege of knowing many who have a heart to address the need for clean water around the world. Everyone has their own story and solution. Check out this story from one of our partners. He shares about helping to bring clean water to a variety of communities from Vietnam to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“In the 1970s and 1980s, as a professional engineer, I was researching the possibility of supplying tribes in the Sahara with solar powered water pumps which could draw water from the depths beneath the sand for their use. It turned out that the technology was not there at the time, as the water tables can be 500′ deep. 

I then went to Vietnam and the Philippines in 1999 and 2001 to help with the management of medical waste through high temperature incinerators we were developing. These incinerators were oxygen fed to boost the temperature and eliminate dioxins and other dangerous byproducts in the smoke. During that time, I was asked to help with the construction of a milk plant in Saigon which could produce lactose free milk for the young women who were giving birth to malformed children because they were drinking water from contaminated lakes and rivers. They were contaminated with Agent Orange leaching from the nearby forested areas which had been defoliated during the Vietnam War or, what the Vietnamese call the American War. In fact, the tap water in Hanoi had to be boiled for at least 20 minutes to break down the very thick virus spores which it contained.

In the Philippines, I was asked to see what could be done with the contaminated water in the water supply of Cebu, the capital city of the province of Cebu in the Philippines. This water was contaminated with heavy metals from industrial byproducts. I was also looking into what could be done about the bacterial contamination of Manila’s water supply which could cause serious health issues.

Of concern, recently, was the problem of contaminated water in developing countries. A promising product caught my attention: Water bags that could be filled with dirty water and made drinkable by emptying a packet of water purifying powder into the bag. It seemed to me that there were some issues with this approach, which could otherwise be used temporarily in national emergencies following flooding or earthquakes: The bag could become contaminated by dumping it in dirty water. Furthermore, as poor people came to the end of their supply of water purifying powder packets, their natural tendency would be to prolong the supply by reducing the quantity of powder dumped into the water bat, with the risk of drinking unknowingly water only partially decontaminated.

That’s when I spoke to the Business Connect team and they suggested I look at the VF200 prefilters combined with the VF100 water filters which could last indefinitely, and whose exterior need not be in contact with contaminated water. We provided these filters to communities and dispensaries in remote regions of Africa. Villages in Haiti, Madagascar, and South America, for example, could also make use of these filters to provide people with safe drinking water.

My goal moving forward is to put whatever money is available towards supplying filters to people who have no access to clean water. The issues are so numerous: people without access to potable water because of pollution, dry climate conditions, hurricanes and earthquakes which destroy water supply facilities, undrinkable seawater…”

This story highlights a heart to help those in need and the many ways one can champion clean water. We are thankful that so many have noticed a need and taken action. If you would like to be a part of clean water work, become a water sponsor. This is a simple way to partner with those who have a similar heart and become a champion yourself!

Does Voting Matter?

Does Voting Matter?

For 22 years we lived in five African countries, and then visited almost 50 countries in total. We lived through four military coups and I was stranded for over a week while borders were closed in one instance. When our U.S. national elections came around, I was always so grateful and amazed that we were able to change leadership without the threat of violence. No matter the differences, there was a sense that we were first of all Americans and secondarily members of a political party. Today, it seems we have reversed that role.

Weekly I meet with a dozen men and women. Our theme or purpose is a joint journey of discussion and discovery regarding Faith and Current Events. More than any time in my lifetime, I feel it is critical to be engaged politically. I want to discuss ideas not people, although some very good people have some very bad ideas. We are not of one mind and have very different ideas on the direction of our country, it’s policies, and will likely vote very differently. However, we have something more important than our political views that hold us together. 

It is my hope that each of us refuse to be branded by a political party. I do not want a label attached to my name because I affirm a certain position, nor will I label anyone else. I want to know why you think the way you do. Mimicking what partisan political pundits and friends are posting on Facebook without doing our own homework does nothing to advance the common good.  I pray that I will think and act with wisdom and love and justice.  I do not pray that God be with me but rather that I should be where He is. Think deeply about the country you want to experience and flourish in and do vote. We have such a privilege to participate in the future of our country.

Mexico Earthquake Relief with Adventures in Life

Mexico Earthquake Relief with Adventures in Life

In September 2017, the region known as El Istmo was devastated by an 8.1 earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Our partners at Adventures in Life, talked with their partners in that area, but were struggling to figure out how their small ministry could respond to such a massive disaster. Listening to their friends, they heard a specific need time and time again. Water. Yes, people had lost their homes, thousands and thousands of people, but we didn’t have much ability to make a dent in helping change that reality. Worse, El Istmo was still digging out and finding bodies. So they decided that instead of standing on the sidelines, or sending bags of used clothing, they could provide clean water to groups of people living in the impacted areas.

Village Water Filter in Union Hidalgo

Over the next few weeks, they installed village water filters in strategic centers, with more than half of them still in operation 3 years later. One was provided to a Catholic relief center in Ixtaltepec, a city that lost 70% of all of their homes and buildings. Others went to local churches, including one in the town of Union Hidalgo. The team administering that filter system became the de facto clean water supplier for the city, supplying the 4 relief centers in that town for two months.

The other filters were installed at the city halls of two towns, where people could freely access them with their own water containers. Additionally, they also supplied over 300 families in the more remote areas with individual bucket filters.

Those filters, both the village systems and the individual buckets filters were, and continue to be life changers. They gave people hope, made clean, safe water accessible and continue to do so today.

Thanks to our many donors, our partners at Adventures in Life  were able to make a real difference for families all across a region that looked like a war zone after the 2017 earthquake.

Original Story Written by Dave Miller at Adventures in Life

Partner Highlight: Clean Water in Rural India

Partner Highlight: Clean Water in Rural India

When Pastor Prasad began work in the mountainous area called Eastern Ghats in India, he found that many people who were living there were struggling to get access to clean drinking water. They would often drink from open wells, canals and streams which were muddy and dirty. These sources would become even worse during the rainy season, often overflowing with debris.

One day, the pastor received a water filter from one of his friends. He brought it back to the village and they were so happy for the opportunity to drink clean water. This gave Pastor Prasad an idea. He decided to work with this friend to raise funds for water filters to distribute to the mountain villages. They heard about the work of Connect for Water and decided to partner with us to create a Championed Project. Through our platform and your generous help, they were able to raise funds to provide clean water to many more mountain villages.

They provided water filters to the local families while also introducing them to Jesus. As Pastor Prasad demonstrated how to use the water filter, all the people in the village came to see the filter and hear his story. He explained that the filter changes the dirty water to clean water just as God changes our dirty life to new life.

A few months after each distribution, Pastor Prasad returned to the villages for a follow up. He saw a huge impact in the lives of those in the villages. Before using the water filters, they often were sick, some having diarheaa and others having typhoid. There were also people that died from the dirty water. They now were able to live healthier lives.

We plan to continue partnering with Pastor Prasad to provide clean drinking water to as many people as possible. Through our support, Pastor Prasad has already been able to distribute more than 500 filters over six years. Yet there are still thousands of villages thoughout the mountains that are still suffering from the effects of dirty water. These villages have stream water sources that are driven by gravity, so if one Village Filter is installed, the whole village will receive access to clean drinking water. Will you partner with us to help more rural villages in India?

India – Giving 500 Rural Families Water Every Day

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