Report from Water Mission
2020 was a remarkable year, remarkable for human tragedies and remarkable for generous humanitarianism, remarkable for injustice and conscience awakening. It was a remarkable year for Water Mission: 20th anniversary of ministry, global recognition of Water Mission’s successful practices and initiatives, birth of the Global Water Center.
Water Mission continued to do the community development work of safe water projects, WASH education, improved sanitation projects and, of course, sharing the Living Water message at all times. We met our goal of 140 community development projects bringing the total number of such projects to over 2800 providing safe water to over 7 million people.
Another foundational purpose is to provide safe water in response to disasters, both from events of nature and man-made disasters. Our response to needs in the Bahamas from 2019 hurricane disaster continued throughout the year by providing safe water where utilities have not yet been rebuilt. Complete rebuilding in the Bahamas will take years. Then, there were the back to back hurricanes, Eta and Iota, which dumped combined rainfall or 36 inches on the country of Honduras, washing away families, villages and lives, destroying infrastructure and contaminating water sources. Water Mission responded with ten new water systems and restored many previous installations. Our Charleston warehouse became a hub for collecting and shipping all kinds of provisions for families who lost it all.
The man-made disaster of war and hatred has caused the largest population of refugees in the history of the world, over 70 million. Water Mission responded to this disaster in numerous countries and was recognized for successful relief work in Tanzania and Uganda by the United Nations. The UN is accommodating 300,000 Burundians who fled ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis (remember Rwanda 1994). The refugee camp in Tanzania now has solar powered safe water for all refugees and surrounding villages. Uganda is hosting 450,000 refugees from the Congo and Sudan. It is unlikely that they will ever return to their native country and Uganda is preparing village homestead sites to accommodate the permanent residence of the refugees. Water Mission is providing safe water for both the refugee camp and the settlement villages. These remarkable success stories, Tanzania and Uganda, have earned Water Mission a place of distinction and responsibility with the UN; the go-to authority for solar safe water solutions design, advice and implementation.
Most recently, Water Mission was called to respond to a disaster in the United States: the catastrophe in Texas of sub-freezing temperatures which caused the loss of domestic water to nearly one half of the state’s population, broken pipes and broken lives. Water Mission partnered with Plumbers Without Borders, the Austin Disaster Relief Network and many of our corporate partners. We provided transportation, housing and food for 39 volunteer registered plumbers and shipped trailer-loads of plumbing supplies provided by Kohler, Georg Fisher, Oatey, and Lowes shipped to Texas by Fed Ex. So far, expenditures are at $400,000.
2020 opened with the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic—introducing even more urgent needs for safe water and fresh challenges to providing that access. Yet with your support and prayers, Water Mission was able to serve more people in this difficult year than ever before. Together, we delivered safe water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions to over 1.6 million people around the world. While we quickly developed new protocols and specific solutions to meet COVID-related needs, we also accelerated our ongoing work in rural communities, crowded refugee settings, and in response to natural disasters. Our staff members, based at our U.S. headquarters and in nine permanent country programs, worked tirelessly to deliver access to safe water throughout East Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
As COVID-19 began making its way around the world, our global staff quickly pivoted to provide hand washing stations, sanitation supplies, and hygiene education in every region where Water Mission serves. To date, more than 750,000 people have been given access to supplies such as safe water and soap. We have also installed over 8,300 hand washing stations in healthcare facilities, schools, refugee settings, government buildings, and existing safe water collection points.
2020 was a year of building staff to respond with best practices and innovative solutions for the global water crisis. And Water Mission has never lost sight of our mission: “To honor God by developing, implementing, and sharing best-in-class safe water solutions that transform as many lives as possible, as quickly as possible.” Our work is provided for and inspired by God and it is our fortune to share His message of grace throughout all our work and all the world. To that end, Water Mission has built a management team dedicated to best practices to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are intentional about sharing Christian faith with those whom we serve, those who support us, those who work with us, our partners and our neighbors.
Water Mission gives thanks to God for the relationship with the Church of the Good Samaritan.