Water & Charity

“Clean water is not an expenditure of Federal funds; clean water is an investment in the future of our country.”
- Bud Shuster

Clean water has become one of our most precious resources in the 21st century, in fact 1 in 9 people live without access to clean and drinkable water. One can do so little, together we can do more! Inspired by GoodNet.org, we compiled a list of our 26 favourite organizations that are on a mission to ensure that everyone has drinkable water. Feel free to tell us about other water organizations who are sharing our belief that clean water isn’t a privilege, but a right.

1. charity: water  (www.charitywater.org)

WHAT: Nonprofit that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

HOW: 100% of the nonprofit’s public donations go directly to clean water technologies that range from wells to water filtration. Answering this basic human need, charity:water offers a lot of opportunities to get involved, from volunteering to fundraising. One creative way to raise funds is to pledge your birthday, a campaign in which individuals decide that instead of receiving gifts, friends and family are encouraged to donate to charity:water.

WHERE: 20 developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

2. WATER.ORG  (www.water.org)

WHAT: Nonprofit co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White that provides access to safe water and sanitation in developing countries.

HOW: Water.org works with local partner organizations to build wells and provide intensive training seminars on the importance of good hygiene practices and its link to better health. The nonprofit also created WaterCredit, an initiative that connects microfinance institutions to individuals and communities in developing countries who use their small loans to build themselves clean water mechanisms, from wells to toilets.

WHERE: Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean

3. COLUMBIA WATER CENTER (CWC) (water.columbia.edu)

WHAT: A part of the Earth Institute, Columbia Water Center researches and designs sustainable models of water management.

HOW: The Columbia Water Center scientists and researchers work in the fields of hydrology, engineering, public policy, agriculture and finance to address sustainable water use and allocation, tailoring their solutions to fit the needs of each region. Some research projects have included: Climate Risk and Conflict in Central Asia, Delaware River Basin conservation and Columbia Global Flood Initiative. 

WHERE: Brazil, Ethiopia, Mali, USA and India

4. THREE AVOCADOS (www.threeavocados.org)

WHAT: A social enterprise that generates funds for clean water in Africa through the sale of coffee.

HOW: Three Avocados donate 100% of their profits to building water projects in Uganda. They source the coffee from Uganda’s Mt. Elgon by collaborating with small coffee growing cooperatives in Uganda. The coffee is fairly traded and organically grown – though uncertified (the nonprofit explains that the cost of certification is beyond the modest operation’s budget).

WHERE: Uganda and Nicaragua

5. WaterAid (www.wateraid.org)

WHAT: An international non-profit organization focuses on the three essentials that transform people’s lives: clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. Help us tell our stories.

HOW: WaterAid has teams in 35 countries, changing millions of lives every year with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. WaterAid is officially established in 1981 and its first projects start in Zambia and Sri Lanka. As of 2016, WaterAid reached 24.9 million people with clean water, 24 million with decent toilets and 16.7 million with good hygiene, and counting…

WHERE: Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region

6. PUREMADI ( puremadi.org)

WHAT: A nonprofit comprised of faculty and students of University of Virginia who are creating water filtering technologies that improve human health and quality of life.

HOW: Partnering with the University of Venda in Thohoyandou in South Africa, PureMadi’s first project was a ceramic water filter that used local materials to effectively purify water. They built a sustainable filter factory that is locally run and produces the much needed product. The next creative and life saving endeavor on the docket is the MadiDrop, a simple ceramic water purification tablet that can disinfect water for up to six months by being placed in a container through which water is poured.

WHERE: South Africa

7. ACTS (https://acts.ca) a Canadian-based water charity has been providing clean water to Uganda for the past 20 years through Gravity Flow Systems.

8. Blue Planet Network (https://blueplanetnetwork.org) – Active since 2002. Connects funders, NGOs, the public and communities in need to improve planning, selection, management, and monitoring of water/sanitation programs, which allows for lasting impact at a lower cost.

9. Circle of Blue (www.circleofblue.org)- Founded in 2000 by journalists and scientists. Provides on-the-ground information about the world’s resource crisis with a special focus on water and its relationship to food, energy, and health. Goal of spurring new methodology in science, innovation, and response by informing academics, governments, and the general public.

10. DIGDEEP Water (https://digdeep.org) – Founded in 2011. Leads water access projects, as well as education and advocacy programs in order to work towards a goal of defending access to water as a human right. 100% of donations fund the water projects.

11. Generosity Water (https://generosity.org)- Founded in 2008. Donations are pooled to fund well projects villages in need, in which a committee of locals is formed and trained in business management, pump maintenance, hygiene and sanitation. The well is built with the involvement of the village and de-worming medication is distributed.

12. H2O For Life (www.h2oforlifeschools.org) – Founded in 2002 by Patty Hall, Maureen Haqq, and Val Johnson. Provides a service-learning opportunity for schools, youth groups, and faith-based organizations to raise awareness about water scarcity while taking action to provide funds for water, sanitation and hygiene education for a partner school in a developing country.

13. Initiative: Eau (www.initiativeeau.org) – Founded in 2013 by Donald Brooks and Christina Long. Committed to providing sustainable support to regions experiencing lack of access to clean water and a need for improved sanitation by promoting community-led initiatives and by engaging in innovative research. Currently active in Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

14. Just a Drop (www.justadrop.org) – Launched in 1998 at World Travel Market by Fiona Jeffery. Goal to reduce child mortality by delivering accessible, clean water through the construction of wells, boreholes, pipelines, hand pumps and latrines, while establishing health and sanitation programs. Independent, non-campaigning NGO that promotes local ownership of projects. Field operatives work directly with other charities, local partners and communities.

15. Lifewater Canada (www.Lifewater.ca) – a Canadian water charity that drills wells in Haiti, Liberia, Kenya and Nigeria. Powered by volunteers working from home helps keep overhead under 10%. Donors are connected to villages in need and sponsor wells to make them affordable. Over the past 22 years, more than 800,000 people have been provided with safe drinking water.

16. The Millennium Water Alliance (http://mwawater.org) – Formed in 2003. Offers sustainable solutions through advocacy, shared knowledge, and collaborative programming. Major field programs to date operate in Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as four countries in Central America.

17. Ok Clean Water Project (www.okcleanwaterproject.org)- Active since 2003. Based out of Ottawa, Canada, volunteers raise funds to support water delivery systems in Kumbo, Cameroon Africa and the surrounding villages. In exchange, the villagers volunteer their labor to build the infrastructure and receive training to manage/maintain the systems.

18. Pump Aid-Water for Life (www.pumpaid.org) – Registered in the UK in 1998. UK-based NGO brings a new approach to aid and uses small-business models to work with entrepreneurs and communities so they can reach a point of self-reliance where they don’t depend on anyone else. Winner of International Aid and Development Charity of the year 2017.

19. Ryan’s Well Foundation (www.ryanswell.ca) – Foundation formed in 2001. Canada-based charity founded by Ryan Hreljac after learning about clean water scarcity in 1st grade. Works largely with youth for fundraising and educational efforts

20. UNICEF – WASH (www.unicef.org/wash) – Approved by the UNICEF Executive Board in 2006. Objective is to contribute to the realization of children’s rights to survival and development through support of national programmes that increase equitable and sustainable access to safe water.

21. Voss Foundation (www.vossfoundation.org) – Active since 2008. Norwegian NGO working in sub-Saharan Africa to help communities fulfill water requirements with a particular interest in assisting women and girls. Projects primarily involve a combination to well-digging/creation/rehabilitation, pumping, and piping.

22. Water Access Now (www.wateraccessnow.org) – Founded in 2013 with an all volunteer board, Water Access Now’s mission is to bring water to villages in Ghana, through education, sustainable programs, and local partners who share the vision to support over 9 million people in Ghana who lack predictable water.

23. Water For People (www.waterforpeople.org) – Formed in 1991. Work to provide innovative solutions to water scarcity, while respecting the dignity of local people, using local resources, working with trusted partners, and experimenting with promising new ideas.

24. Water Is Life (https://waterislife.com) – Concept formed in 2007. Distributes personal straw filters to partner villages and disaster situations to provide immediate clean water, provides hygiene and sanitation education in village schools, and implements long-term strategies.

25. Well Constructed (www.wellconstructed.org) – Started in 2015. 100% volunteer run and 100% of public donations go directly towards the cost of well construction. Built 17 wells in Ghana, serving an estimated 14,000 people as of November 2017.

26. World Vision (www.worldvision.org/our-work/clean-water) provides clean water access to a new person every ten seconds. In 2016 alone, 4.6 million received clean water access; 3.3 million with improved hygiene, and 1.6 million with improved sanitation.

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