We are always on the lookout for excellent organizations doing great work in the clean water space. One of the recent organizations that we got to hear from was Water Wins.
It all began with recognizing a need for clean water. When a community has access to it, child mortality rates fall from 50% to less than 10% in children 5 and under. With this in mind, Water Wins decided to work with communities in the Eastern Kambari area of northwest Nigeria to drill wells to provide clean water and save lives. The relationships they build by drilling wells opens the door to further development including education, healthcare, agricultural programs and more.
The organization is non-profit certified in Nigeria and has a full Nigerian Board. There is also another board made up of volunteers from the United States who mentor and raise funds for the project. In addition, over 30 Nigerian employees are a part of Water Wins and do maintenance on the wells, run the drill rigs, evangelize, teach at their Academy and work in the health facilities.
After the initial installation of the wells, Water Wins works to do full community development which includes education, health facility creation, and agricultural projects. This led to them starting Water Wins Academy, the first primary and secondary school in the area. Classrooms have about 30 kids each and the families are so thankful for the opportunity for the children to learn.
In each community, there is a sustainability plan in place. The schools and health facilities do charge a small fee. They also have the community pay about 20% of the upfront cost to have the well drilled. This helps the community buy into the project as well as create accountability for the future. In some communities they have also done agriculture projects, which helps the communities earn more income and pay a little bit more. Water Wins also has a maintenance team that regularly visits the communities to ensure the wells are working properly. If there is something that was not properly cared for, the community will be charged a fee to get it fixed. These factors of the sustainability plan ensure lasting change in the communities.
The response to the work of Water Wins in the communities has been amazing. They have built trusting relationships with those in the Eastern Kambari area. There are over 500,000 people in that area and they have already drilled 500 wells in various communities. Yet, still they have only reached 20% of the communities with clean water.
One of those impactful stories that the Water Wins team remembers is about a visit to a celebration in Nigeria by Pete Lanser, one of the original volunteers for Water Wins. Chief Rigito, one of the hosts of the celebration turned to Pete. He grinned from ear to ear and said,
“In a few short years, I have seen great transformation in my land- right before my very eyes. Even young couples are naming their first babies at elaborate naming ceremonies- ceremonies full of joy, hope and laughter! Who would have thought! Who would have imagined that a few years ago! Thank our benefactors. God bless you! I am done speaking!”
The village was full of joy and Pete realized the amazing transformation that had taken place. Before having clean water, they wouldn’t name their children until they turned one year old as a way to protect their hearts if they lost them. Now, they name the children at birth. It was a powerful moment, seeing the huge difference of clean water and the many children surrounding the celebration.
They also found that before villages received wells, women would spend four or five hours a day collecting water. As the impact of the clean water access grew, women in these villages were not able to spend time earning income for their families or taking care of their children. One woman shared with the Water Wins team that with the extra time she was able to use her artistic skills to make tapestries to sell in the market. This generated more income for her family and brought joy to her.
Do you want to know how you can be part of the solution to the water crisis, bringing this joy and celebration? Consider being an advocate for the water crisis in your local community. Share the facts and connect your friends into clean water projects.
You can also learn more about Water Wins by visiting their website at https://www.waterwins.com.