For every 1,000 live births in 2017, 61 of those children died before the age of five. One of the largest contributing factors to child mortality in Burundi is exposure to unsafe drinking water. For children, exposure to waterborne illnesses is one of the leading causes of child mortality in the developing world.
This comes down to a lack of access to wells and filters. To help address this problem, Business Connect is partnering with Think East Africa to provide the entire country of Burundi with access to clean water.
What does that look like? Think East Africa made it their mission to implement a long-term solution to Burundi’s often forgotten struggle for clean water. Their goal is that by the end of 2028 Burundi will have the infrastructure, through the creation and distribution of wells and water filters, to provide everyone in the country with access to clean water.
Think East Africa is working to identify key places in communities across the country to drill and lay pipe for a communal water source where families can come to collect water. The water can then be filtered to ensure that it is safe to drink and use. This allows for families to avoid hiking miles and miles for water, as well as have filters to guarantee the water they collect is safe.
In 2017, the World Health Organization reported that 44 percent of the poorest residents in Burundi lack basic access to water. With this amount of people in the country living without without this access, the potential growth in local communities is limited. Local economies can’t grow unless people’s basic needs are met.
For Think East Africa’s project in Burundi, maintaining a community-driven focus is of the utmost importance. They have based their operations for this project in Burundi, in an effort to get their team acclimated to the Burundi culture and the needs of its people. This makes the overall mission of creating the infrastructure for water to become accessible in communities across the country possible. With this mission in mind, they plan to drill over 3000 wells and distribute 100,000+ water filters.
Business Connect prides itself on creating these partnerships with local distributors because they understand the culture and true need of clean water. That is why Business Connect is taking its locally sustainable approach to solving the clean water crisis and partnering with Think East Africa to reach those in desperate need of clean water with the tools that provide access to it for years to come.
Michelle, a sales rep at Kohler, took a two-week Safari to Africa. Michelle was visiting a reserve and met someone from Pride n Purpose, who told her about the need for water filtration in the community. Michelle began telling her about the benefits of the Kohler Clarity water filter, a filter that she said would definitely help greatly in the schools.
Michelle then decided when she returned home that she wanted to do something about this conversation she had. Michelle had sent out a few emails and then Kohler put her in contact with our global distribution director Darin. Business Connect already had a relationship with a distributor that could help make Michelle’s drive to make a difference a reality.
Once the details of what Michelle wanted to do were figured out, a Championed Project was set up that allowed for donations to go directly to her project. The donations that Michelle’s Championed Project garnered were enough to provide each classroom in the school she visited a Kohler Clarity filter provide students at school access to clean water. The impact that Michelle’s project had on the lives of the school kids innumerable.
The government news organization even wrote up a small article talking about the tremendous impact Michelle’s project had on the local school. According to the article, the filters installed helped 192 students get access to clean water directly from their classroom. Community members stressed how important these filters are in helping to stop the spread of waterborne diseases in their community.
Before the filters were implemented, students were simply drinking from an open bucket when they needed water. The filters have made the drinking water safe, the benefits to students’ learning will be reflected in better performance through their education.
Michelle’s Championed Project helped to bring water filters to classrooms. These filters and their placement in the classroom helps to develop a child’s learning potential because they aren’t exposed to water borne diseases or concerning themselves with whether or not they are going to have clean water in a given day. They can primarily focus on their education, which leads to developing potential locally, spurring business development, and supporting one another as a community.
Clean and safe water is such an important building block in enabling human growth and success, and the presence of Kohler Clarity filters has helped to directly impact the lives of kids in schools working to get an education and give back to their community. All this spurred by one woman with a passion for making a change in people’s lives.
Mukuru families have been purchasing Kohler Clarity water filters since 2017, and the distribution of the Clarity has made a significant impact in the community. The Kohler Clarity has become popular water filters amongst the community and more people are wanting to bring them into their homes.
This rate of adoption even garnered attention from a clinic run by an NGO within Mukuru that got in contact with Douglas Mukisa, our local distributor, and thanked them for helping to get water filters in the hands of Mukuru residents because households with Kohler Clarity filters are having less health issues than those without access to the filters.
The clinic wanted to reach out and support the efforts that are being done to distribute water filters to the community because it’s such an effective method of addressing problems that can have rippling effects in the lives of people living in Mukuru.
However, cost can still be an inhibitor to families being able to get clean and drinkable water for their families. Community members have called inquiring about pricing for filter systems for their home and had worries about the price of being able to provide a very fundamental need.
So, in an effort to both expand the reach of how many people will have access to filters but also how to make those filters more affordable to families, Douglas is working on partnering with a local bank to provide short term loans to families to be able to get filters into households and change lives.
Local organizations will help to support people getting the loans so that the loans are repaid and people have water filters in the household, allowing as many people as possible can get clean water in Mukuru.
This partnership is going to grow the business potential for not just Douglas in the Mukuru area, but to other places wanting to invest in selling filters outside of Mukuru to help their own communities.
Kohler Clarity water filters are a great water filter for classrooms due to their all in one designed nature. This ease of use makes it an ideal candidate for a location like a school where the design simplicity works to the benefit of its application. This was matched with the need for filters in a Botswana school where a clean water solution was needed.
$1,000 of water filters we’re distributed to the school in Botswana all because of one Idaho school teachers willingness to engage her students with the global Water Crisis. While researching Botswana for a unit that she would be teaching to her third grade class, she came across Connect For Water’s page on a pre-existing projects in Botswana.
She decided to contact Connect For Water about starting a new Champion project to raise money water filters 4 school kids in Botswana. Her class raised $500 which the school matched for a total of $1,000 to be used for the purchase of water filters for Botswana school children.
Kgomodiatshaba Primary School was the decided upon destination for the twenty purchased Kohler Clarity filters based of off an identified need for clean water to become accessible in this area because they are a remote settlement with around 357 people. The filters were then brought to the community and are ready for use in the classroom of the primary school.
The access to clean and filtered water allows for students to develop their own abilities which translates to a more powerful and connected community.
The presence of these filters enables the development of the community further as kids have access to education without waterborne illness being an inhibiting factor in their development. Students can now have more consistent attendance because they won’t have to miss school due to the spread of waterborne illnesses, helping to increase potential and hope in the local community.
The effort one teacher made enabled a rural community to build its potential while helping in engaging distributors and business partners who all are working to get people sustainable solutions to accessing clean water.
This is a note I received from one of our partners, Larry Truitt. It’s a great story so I wanted to share it with all of you as we impact the world, families, and individuals through access to clean water.
Back in 1971, I was pastoring a mission church at Ft. Washakie, Wyoming on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The well water had a high content of alkaline and was not safe to drink. We hauled water from a community well three miles away. That was my first encounter with bad drinking water. When we moved back to Indiana I understood the importance of clean drinking water and became an advocate for clean water.
In 2010, I traveled to Belize with my oldest son. He travels all over the world doing building automation and has worked in over forty-five different countries. While in Belize we could not drink the water from the cisterns because of the various types of bacteria and parasites. When I came home from that trip, I started looking for some type of water filter system that would give people in countries where clean water is a problem, safe drinking water. After doing some research I decided that the Sawyer mini water filter was the best choice.
In 2017, a young couple came to our church and presented their mission work in Peru. One of the issues they were faced with was the lack of clean water. I felt that it was important to offer them a solution that would give them clean water. I contacted Business Connect and purchased 25 water filters and sent them to the mission in Peru. The water filters not only gave an entire village access to clean water but opened the door to several other villages. I started this project because I understand what it is like not to have clean safe water.
This project has become a community outreach program to raise money for water filters for the Peru mission project. At the Thorntown Festival of the Turning Leaves on September 28th this year local bluegrass musicians will provide entertainment, and the Sugar Plain Friends Church will provide food and all the proceeds will go to the purchase of water filters for the Peru mission project. It is our goal to raise enough money to purchase 100 water filters and buckets to be used in the Peru project. This will bring the total number of water filters sent to Peru to 215. That is 215 families that will have access to clean drinking water. Below is a picture of the last 40 filters sent.