Despite its small population size, Eswatini (Swaziland) has the highest HIV prevalence in the world and has been greatly affected by the epidemic (UNAIDS, 2019). With this in mind, Daran and Teresa Rehmeyer began an outreach called CHIPS in Maphiveni. It was an intervention in the local communities in eastern Swaziland for impoverished and isolated HIV affected children and their caregivers to access health care. The goal was to develop a local clinic, employing and training local Swazi’s to provide services to their communities. Today, CHIPS stands for Community Health Intervention Programme in eSwatini.
One of the needs Daran and Teresa noticed was that of clean water. The community tap supplies water from a borehole and storage tanks, and they needed to make sure the water was clean. There was also a rainwater collection system installed at the clinic, which also invites contamination. We had many clinic staff sharing they were experiencing gastrointestinal problems due to the contaminated water. The clinic also sees many community members with water borne illnesses.
Both of these systems give the option for clean water instead of collecting it from the Mbuluzi River or irrigation canals. This river suffers from animal and human fecal contamination as well as contamination from the sugar cane fields and mills upstream. In addition, there are crocodiles that one also needs to avoid when collecting water as people have been taken before. Simple purification methods are also financially out of the reach of most residents: bleach or extra firewood for boiling water are commodities beyond the financial reach of most.
With this in mind, they decided to ensure clean water for the clinic and community with two VF600 Facility Filters. The overall project was funded through a generous gift from Rotary. Daran and Teresa also collaborated with community leaders to set up and regulate the system. As of two weeks ago, they finally had everything set and are excited to see the impact of these facility filters in the communities where they work. These filters will allow the clinic to have more time to focus on those affected by HIV and others with health needs.
If you know a community that would benefit from a facility filter like the one Daran and Teresa installed, connect with us! We are happy to discuss options and assist in bringing clean water to those in need. If you would also like to learn more about Daran and Teresa’s work in Eswatini, check out their website.
We know it has been a tough year for the world. We have seen so many hurting, but we have also heard of many positive stories of people helping others. One of those stories comes from our distributors in Guatemala, Water4Life Global. Immediately they took action to help those in rural communities in Guatemala that have been severely impacted by the health and economic hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families were already living in poverty and thus had no means to prepare for a lengthy quarantine and the catastrophic impact it would have on their lives. The unemployment and rising market prices caused by the country’s quarantine catalyzed an increase of famine before the virus even threatened the communities. Water4Life Global decided to help by putting together “Give 4 Health” Care Packages in collaboration with Familia Utz Corazón and Konojel. Each of the packages included a VF100 water filter, a month’s worth of essential food and natural sanitation products.
Over the course of a few days, hundreds of filters were distributed. Families were split into different days based on the barrios or neighborhoods they were from. They would go to the 5 minute education session where they learned about the importance around clean water, how to use the filter, and then how to use the sanitation products. After they received the education and filter, they would go and collect their fruits, vegetables and natural sanitation products. Families were given the option of receiving a filter or not. The first day there was only a small number of families who took a filter, however the following day there were six times as many. It was obvious that word spread of the filters and families were really interested in getting their own.
It’s always amazing to hear of the impact of the VF100 water filters around the world. Great partners like Water4Life Global are able to identify needs quickly and take action. If you are interested in bringing clean water to those in need, check out our water filtration products. We have a wide range of solutions to fit your needs.
Would you like to see more of Water4Life Global’s work? Check out their video that showcases the need for clean water in the rural Guatemalan communities.
One of our long term partners is Tom Hammond and his team at River International. He began leading short term mission teams from California to the Amazonas in 2002. Their team was always instructed to drink bottled water and not even use the local water to brush their teeth, wash their hands, etc. At the time, the group was in charge of planting churches. Three years into this endeavor, they were challenged to reevaluate their mission. They prayerfully decided to invest their resources, energy and time in finding a water solution for the people of the river. After trying multiple methods, the village water filters were found to be the best solution. The people of the river love the portability, convenience and effectiveness of the filters, taking true ownership of the work to have access to clean water.
They have been working closely with the Riberhinos (River Dwellers) of Ilha Marrecão (Big Duck Island) for three years. They are a community that drinks water straight from the Amazon River. This is the same water their livestock drink from and their sewage drains into.
In order to build relationships, the group adopts one village or community and spends at least one year on the ground with the people. They focus on serving one community with filters and their time. The more the team uses the filters alongside the community, the more the people use the filters and see the long term fruit of clean, safe drinking water.
Impact has been amazing. It is hard to put a metric on it, but the turnaround in their health has been amazing. Tom recalls that one young girl in the community was suffering from severe stomach aches. After 90 days of straight filtered water, she was able to attend school regularly and play soccer along the riverbanks with her friends. She followed the team around on their next visit house to house distributing the village water filters. She eventually became their best installer! People witnessed her turnaround in health and were able to see the reality of clean, safe drinking water. This was impactful because mindset is the biggest battle when it comes to people buying into the idea of a better life. This young girl was even recruited to play soccer in a larger city called Manacapuru. The last Tom heard was that she was prospering and living her dream.
There have been other success stories as well. Many years ago, they distributed filters to a small fishing community. Upon returning two years later, they noticed an elderly lady on the riverbank filtering water into three liter bottles. As the fishermen would return from their days of fishing, they would trade fish for her filtered water. Tom remarked that he thought that was the coolest thing. His heart was full because she was feeding her family by filtering water. Everybody was winning.
In the future, they hope to continue to distribute filtration systems slowly down the Amazon River. Relational not transactional is their focus. There seems to be plenty of humanitarian aid available to the people of the river. When they spend time and show love through doing life with them, it makes all the difference in the world. River International plans on adopting two more communities over the next two years. This year they also hope to work with the people of Ilha da Onças (Jaguar Island). They are a community of 12 families that drink water straight from the Amazon River.
As of today, all river travel is shut down in the regions where they work. The Amazonas have been hurt the most by Covid-19 in all of Brazil. It is disheartening because the only way to communicate with the group’s team on the ground is through canoeing to the communities. The areas are remote and do not have cell service. The group hopes to trek down the river in July or as soon as the restrictions are lifted.
Do you have a community like those in the Amazon that you would like to reach with clean water? Connect with us. With a variety of water filtration and treatment options, we will be able to recommend the best solution for your community.
After welcoming in the new year, we are now excited to announce the release of our 2021 product catalog. This edition is packed full of new products, helpful information and distributor updates. We are looking forward to what this new year will bring in our mission to provide affordable and easy access to clean water, through the creation of a sustainable, local business model. Check out the new catalog available in English and Spanish. We would love to know what you think!
We all know this year has been challenging, but it has also been amazing to see people come together to protect each other from the coronavirus. One of our partners in Lesotho, Solar Lights, did just that by protecting their employees with an Aquatabs solution for sanitizing surfaces.
With a heart for their employees, they work to fulfill their mission of building a sustainable and livable Lesotho for everyone. They strive to empower Lesotho’s society and protect our climate and our environment. In order to do this, they distribute stove cooking sets, solar lights, water filters and water treatments. These products help them to sustainably develop their local communities as well as protect the environment.
As the coronavirus swept around the world, Solar Lights knew that they needed to protect their engineers. They wanted to allow their team to continue to work to make a living as well as stay safe and healthy. As they searched for a solution, they learned that the Aquatabs that they were already distributing could be used to make a sanitizing solution.
By dissolving one Aquatab in 100mL of water, a sanitizer solution is created. This solution is able to sanitize surfaces for a lower cost while also reducing the amount of plastic waste created by regular bottles. Solar Lights quickly took action to protect their team and created enough sanitizer to stop the spread of the coronavirus. They were able to put their employees first even through a pandemic and ensuring no one contracted the virus.
If you would like to purchase Aquatabs to create a low cost sanitizer, connect with us. We are happy to partner with you to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.