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.
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.
The longest river in the world, the Nile, has humble beginnings in the small country of Burundi. From a landlocked country in East Africa, the Nile River crosses 4,130 miles of various terrains and touches eleven different countries.
As this country is the source of the great Nile river, it will also be a new source of clean water. Business Connect is partnering with Amazi Water who are working closely with the government of Burundi to bring clean water to those in need throughout the country. Their mission is to “develop a national water strategy with the goal of providing sustainable access to clean water for every Burundian community by the end of 2028.” To succeed in this mission, they will be using our VF100 Home Filter.
Over the years, this filter has been used around the world, providing thousands of people clean and safe water. We have heard personal stories of lives being changed by the clean water. Children are healthy enough to attend school again and mothers now have more time back in their days. Millions of hours have been saved through access to clean water at home, instead of walking miles to the nearest water source. This is the power of a VF100 Home Filter. But in order to ensure we were providing a high quality filter on such a large scale in Burundi, Business Connect and Amazi Water together reached out to the World Health Organization to do additional testing.
As a result of their tests on the VF100 Home Filter and the VF200 Pre-Filter, WHO certified both filters as exceeding their standards for targeted protection to provide clean and safe water in the home. Through further testing, our filter was given an additional certification that it is effective with turbid water which other targeted protection treatments do not receive. The VF100 Home Filter is also the first hollow-fiber membrane filter of its kind to be certified by WHO.
With this news, many more doors are opening to help those in need around the world. As the spring of clean water grows, the newly certified VF100 Home Filter will allow a great mission to be accomplished in partnership with Amazi Water, the Burundian government, Business Connect and our network. They were happy to see that the World Health Organization is standing behind the VF100 Home Filter, making it a great choice for their project. Their project, at the source of the Nile, will also be the source of positive impact around the world. As we gain momentum, even more people will receive access to clean water.
Could contaminated water also affect eyesight? Actually, yes. River blindness (Onchocerciasis) is an eye and skin disease caused by the worms of the black fly. These flies live and reproduce near fast flowing rivers and streams putting communities who live near rivers at risk.The female worm (transmitted by the black fly) will produce thousands of baby worms who will migrate into the eye of the victim causing blindness and eye sight problems. Once this happens, the risk of death is possible and the victim would suffer from intense itching and skin diseases such as lizard skin.
This brings our attention to what is happening in Ghana. There are many communities in Ghana that are poor and live in huts with hay roofs and no doors; without doors, the huts are totally opened to all the black flies which bring the parasitic disease. Another way that the disease is transmitted is through the water. Most water sources are shared with livestock and have contaminated water. Furthermore, there are no cures and treatments for Onchocerciasis so people with river blindness have to live in vain.
Joanna did not know this about Ghana until she met Nana (Prince) Boadu, Jr. a Facebook friend of her daughter-in-law. Nana and Joanna connected and she asked him if his community would benefit from a water filter. He immediately replied ‘yes’ and proceeded to send photos and videos of the elders of a nearby village who spoke of the River Blindness. Nana lives in Akwadum-Koforidua, in the eastern region of Ghana about two hours from Accra. He used his own funds to secure transportation to three villages to document the disease and take a tally of the number of families.
With donations from friends and Water4Life Ministry, they sent Nana 60 life-saving VF100 Home Filters as well as a video on how to assemble and backflush them. These filters were delivered by our local Business Connect distributors who had inventory in-country. Nana gathered a group of friends, purchased 60 buckets in which they drilled holes for the filter hoses and assembled the filter kits. They were able to become quite proficient at assembly and filter care, training others to do the same.
The VF100 Home Filter is known for its easy assembly and simple maintenance. It can provide filtered water for an entire family quickly, one liter every two minutes.With 30 of these filters, Nana returned to one of the villages and with the assistance of his friends, delivered and demonstrated how to use them. The elders were elated to have such a blessing find their village and thankful for the dedication and support for the needy of Ghana. Nana will continue to travel to the villages as Joanna and the Water4Life team continue to send even more filters to the communities suffering from waterborne and bacterial Illnesses.
The VF100 home filter will eliminate 99.999% of the bacteria caused by the Onchocerciasis and will give families a chance at surviving this dreaded disease. As word continued to spread about the impact of the water filters, another pastor reached out for support. Joanna and the Water4Life team plan to raise even more money for his village and many others. If you would like to use the VF100 Home Filters in a project like Joanna’s, we would be happy to partner with you. Our local Business Connect distributors have inventory in-country, waiting for projects just like this. They also sell them in the local marketplace, making the products available to even more communities. You can also support Joanna’s project by going to the Water4Life Ministry website.
Original Story by Joanna Herr, Water4Life Ministry
It is often said “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This illustration is often used when speaking about charity, but it also highlights the importance of education. We can provide tools to others, but if there is a missing education piece, the tools are not used to their full potential. Over the years, our distributors have taken this advice to heart. In addition to providing clean water solutions, they often host sessions to educate on the importance of clean water and how to maintain the various solutions.
Earth and Water is one of the organizations that recently distributed our clean water solutions. With the coronavirus leaving many people in need, Earth and Water stepped in to help. They were able to put together a food distribution and WASH training program for a community in Kasipul, Kenya, near Lake Victoria. Many members of this community make less than one dollar a day, some farming, and others running microbusinesses.
The goal of this program was to equip participants from Central Kasipul Ward with needed knowledge about unsafe versus safe water, personal hygiene, and general sanitation practices. This will help prevent diarrheal disease and add to the overall health and wellbeing of many people.
The success and sustainability of the program was ensured through the hiring of an experienced water hygiene and sanitation expert who facilitated participatory training and careful selected participants. They identified key people, i.e. young household members, community health workers (CHWs), and community leaders (former councilor and chief). This special selection of participants ensured that what was taught about proper hygiene and sanitation practices will continue and the newly learned practices will be sustained into the future.
This project consisted of two phases. The first phase targeted 100 community members from the Central Kaspul Ward and surrounding area. The second phase targeted the 75 orphaned children supported by Still Hope and the 7 volunteers from the community who gave their time to assist with the Food Distribution Project. The total number of individuals who attended the training were divided into daily groups of less than 30 to ensure that the number of attendants did not exceed the limit set by the Kenyan Government because of COVID-19 regulations. Lunch was provided at every course for those attending.
Many Village Water Filters were distributed during the two phases. Besides the filters being given to the participants, the participants were thoroughly trained on properly filter operation and maintenance to ensure correct utilization and longer filter lifespan. As a result of the training, participants were able to identify their unhealthy water hygiene and sanitation behaviors. The training empowered the participants and they voluntarily accepted to take responsibility to transform the bad water and hygiene practices that pollute water sources and the environment. The participants immediately adopted water treatment, safe storage consumption practices through the use of the Village Water Filters.
Not only were our partners able to help so many in the Kasipul community with Village Water Filters, but they were also able to share the importance of clean water through their training sessions. This will enable the community to flourish long past the initial distribution. If you would like to support Earth and Water in their work to bring clean water to those in need, check out their website. They have initiated small business development projects, school and household water filtration systems, well drilling, and various water development projects.