Mar 30, 2015

Organizations Partner to Bring Clean Water to Kenya

Three non-profits will equally share the cost of the project, which deploys hundreds of water filters in Kenyan communities

Wishing Well International Foundation Safe Water Team and Safe Water Kenya

More than 10,000 Kenyans will be impacted by the newly created partnership and commitment of three organizations: Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF), Safe Water Team (SWT) and Safe Water Kenya (SWK). This is the first time these nonprofits have joined to provide clean, safe drinking water in Kenya. WWIF and SWT have teamed up in the past for projects in Ghana and the Dominican Republic.

The project was planned during a January conference call between SWT Executive Director Jim Bodenner, SWK Executive Director Don Arnold and WWIF Founder & CEO Guillermo Guzman.

The three nonprofits will equally share the cost of the project, which will deploy hundreds of water filters in Kenyan communities. SWK secured additional funding in the form of carbon credits from the Gold Standard Foundation. The credits are offered as an incentive for community projects that preserve and protect the environment. The environmental benefit of installing hundreds of water-cleaning filters in Kenya is the reduced consumption of local wood. Boiling water is a long-established way of making it drinkable. Many trees, however, are sacrificed for the necessary firewood, and harmful gasses are released into the environment when it is burned. Therefore, the benefit of installing the filters is two-fold: It gives Kenyans greater access to one valuable resource while reducing their consumption and dependence on another.

The deployment of so many filters is also a merger of low and high technologies. Hydraid BioSand filters are easy to install and operate, requiring no electricity. They are able to filter water from any source, using gravity to reduce bacteria and viruses from the water. On the other hand, the software and equipment that SWK is using to track and monitor the filters is cutting edge. After considering a variety of manual tracking options involving pen, paper and slow data entry, Arnold was approached by mFrontiers and advised to use an Oracle-based system that relies on inexpensive, handheld tablets.

“The benefits of this mobile technology go far beyond time-saving efficiency and elimination of errors,” Arnold said. “As a management tool, it allows Safe Water Kenya in the United States to maintain a real-time view of operations, which is not possible with traditional manual systems. In addition, it is extremely important for any not-for-profit organization to show results to its support base, and Oracle technologies have advanced our reporting from periodic generalities to accurate, daily, house-to-house installation results. We know of no other organization with this capability.”

“Working in partnership with other organizations has been a key strategy of WWIF since its creation in 2011. We make every effort to have the greatest impact with the least amount of money,” Guzman said. “Jim Bodenner and the Safe Water Team have been so helpful to us since the beginning. And now our relationship with Don Arnold and Safe Water Kenya has led to this incredible, new technology that we’ll be able to use in the future to share the results of our efforts with our donors.”