At Connect for Water, we see a world where people, businesses and organizatons are working together to bring water products and solutions to those in need around the world through collaboration, partnerships, and support for the growth of local market channels. As we focus on partnership, a part of that is celebrating the work of organizations around the world. There is no one organization that is solving the water crisis, we must work to do that together.
This week, we want to highlight the work of H2O for Life, an organization that works to educate youth on the water crisis. They offer a serving-learning opportunity designed to engage, educate and inspire youth to take action to solve the global water crisis.
It all started with Patty Hall, who received a cry for help from a small village in Kenya that was desperate to get access to clean water. She had built relationships there and one of her friends reached out saying there was a harsh drought. They had a river that flowed through the village, but it had dried up. They needed a sand dam so that they could collect water during the rainy season. She took action and introduced an idea to her school in New Brighton, Minnesota. The students got the opportunity to learn about the global water crisis and created an action plan to provide clean water to the Kathungu Village. They got super excited about the project and even raised double the amount of money needed for the village.
“We Actually Did This.”
Once the money was sent and the dam was built, the villagers sent a video to the students in Minnesota. This is when it really hit home for the students and they saw they actually made this happen. The students were so excited to see that they had done such a great thing.
Reader’s Digest published a small article on the project which caught the eye of the Today Show. They eventually did a segment featuring the project and it led to a viewer reaching out to Patty. The viewer loved that kids were helping their peers around the world and encouraged her to get this program into more schools.
She decided to grow out the educational program and connected with more schools in the area. Students and teachers were very enthusiastic about the new program. It caused a culture shift in every school where it was implemented with students becoming kinder and more giving. They were learning that even as students, they could make a difference.
How It Works
Through this program, students and teachers can focus on a specific community to study or learn about the water crisis as a whole. They also use P&G Purifier of Water packets to see how dirty water can be changed to clean water. Then, they take action to fundraise for a project that they choose with H2O for Life.
H2O for Life connects the classrooms with non-profits that implement the water projects. They have worked with partners like Freshwater Project International, Ugandan Water Project and The Water Project. In order to ensure sustainability and effective partnerships, H2O for Life evaluates the implementation partners. They ask questions of metrics, sustainability, and local involvement. In addition to implementation, H2O for Life requests completion reports, videos and photos. This is important as it creates accountability and it provides the classrooms in the United States with an idea of the impact their work had.
What You Can Do
As they look to the future, they hope to see more schools take advantage of the program and support more projects. Their programs were affected greatly by the pandemic with many school wide events cancelled, but they have hope as they grow in this new year. In addition to their classroom programs, they hope to create a teacher ambassador program that would allow passionate teachers to reach even more classrooms.