When one enters the Water4 website, they will be greeted not by pictures of the founders of the organization or donors, but rather a hopeful picture of a village pumping water out of a well that they built themselves. Water4’s mission is clear, to bring relief to the 4 out of 10 people worldwide that lack access to clean water and stop over 4,000 children from dying daily from waterborne illnesses. This began with the vision of Richard and Terri Greenly, the founders of Water4, who’s devotion to the teachings of their church and their own experience in these stricken communities has lead them to creating a system that has provided hundreds of wells to those in need. Water4 begins their process by training the locals in order to ensure they are passing on a skill that allows people to be independent, giving them autonomy in their own communities. After this training, the supplies to continue using these skills is provided and they are given the ability to market themselves. Finally, the organization continues their support of the communities to better serve future communities through their new knowledge of local customs. As of 2017, 769 water projects have been active, and tens of thousands of people have been educated in safe practices for handling hygienic water.
Among the most important areas of their work is in the Democratic Republic of Congo; the effect they’ve had on the smallest minority indigenous ethnic group called the Pygmy people who are commonly oppressed by the Bantu people that make up the majority of the population. Water4’s role was to give the indigenous pygmy people the skill to provide water to themselves as well as to their Bantu neighbors in order to buy their freedom. Everyone needs clean water, and Water4’s work with the newly formed “Ituri Drillers” are working to bring these life-giving wells along with the strength of prayer to the people of Congo.
Another one of Water4’s projects is partnering with Pacha Soap to bring clean water and clean hands to Burundi among other nations. Ten wells have been dug in Burundi, changing the lives of thousands. Pacha Soap is sourced from natural ingredients and made by local inhabitants of impoverished areas for their own profit. Along with this source of self-sufficient production, Pacha Soap teaches tens of thousands of children practices on keeping their water clean and has likely save thousands of lives as a result.
Water4 and Pacha Soap are both examples of foreign aid done right and they are only two of many that desire a better Africa by Africans. We see so often millions and billions of dollars flood Africa every year particularly in bilateral aid and to what end? Companies and organizations that enfranchise locals to lift themselves out of poverty are what we truly need to uphold as the proper way to help those in need.
By Patrick Garvey