Mission: To unlock human potential by providing provable, reliable access to clean water and proper sanitation in communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
About the Organization: Founded in 2007, the Water Project provides training, expertise, and financial support to address the lack of access to clean water — which negatively affects community health, educational opportunities, and food production and contributes to a cycle of poverty — in sub-Saharan Africa. The organization's work is especially significant for women and girls, as typically they are the ones responsible for fetching water — a task that leaves little time for school. In addition, girls tend to drop out of school once they reach puberty if the school lacks proper toilets. As a result, the lack of clean water and proper sanitation across much of the region contributes to inequality in educational opportunities for girls and, in turn, fewer economic opportunities as they get older.
Current Programs: The organization works closely with local in-country teams and implementation partners to develop and provide training around clean water projects — including wells, sand dams, rainwater catchments, and spring protection. While many of the pumps installed by other (well-intentioned) groups often break down and are abandoned, the Water Project emphasizes the reliability and sustainability of its technology, as well as the agency of individual communities in choosing which type of project to implement and the end-to-end transparency of the process. The latter begins with community engagement and includes education, installation, follow-up and handover, and monitoring and evaluation. The Water Project currently works in more than a half dozen countries, including Burkina Faso, Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Uganda, and gives donors the option to help crowdfund a specific project, sponsor an entire project, or invest in a regional program.
Website: Visitors to the Water Project site can explore many of its projects on an interactive map; watch videos about the organization's work; read stories from the field; or support the organization and its work by making a donation, becoming a member, funding a specific project, or holding a fundraiser. They also can learn about water scarcity (and browse related statistics), the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty, and the links between water and poverty, health, and hunger; and/or browse research briefs about global water issues as well as the impact of the water crisis on specific countries. In addition, the site provides water-related educational resources for K-12 teachers, including free lesson plans, field guides, reading lists, and activities for all grades.
Funding: The Water Project is funded by foundations and individuals.