Safe Water for Impoverished Communities (91225)
WHAT DO YOU THINK is the most vital commodity needed by a poor country? Grain staples? Protein? Medicine? Shelter from the elements?
The answer is actually quite simple: water. Clean water is by far the most essential commodity needed to prevent death! Thirty percent of rural Bolivians lack access to a safe water source, drawing water instead from muddy streams, ponds, and unsanitary wells. Bolivia has the lowest rate of access to potable water of all countries in South America. Water-borne disease is the number one killer in Bolivia today. Especially heartbreaking is that infants and children are the ones most dangerously affected.
Safe Water for Impoverished Communities has one simple but radical aim: stop unnecessary infant and childhood deaths by improving the health of communities through securing safe water sources and sanitation facilities.
In most of mountainous Bolivia, capping natural springs is the preferred method of acquiring clean water. Natural springs often look like muddy bogs, but with some masonry, concrete, pipe, and drainage ditches, a reliable supply of pure water can be secured for the entire community. Often the spring is located above the village, so gravity is used to run the water down to the village by pipeline. This dependable system lasts for decades with minimal maintenance.
When there are no springs, hand-dug wells, household bio-sand filters, machine-drilled wells and ponds are used instead (usually in that order).
Since poor families are the caretakers of completed water projects, we build simple and locally-sustainable projects that families can completely care for by themselves. Local communities contribute all the manual labor, all the locally available materials, plus about 25 percent of the needed cash.
By far the most challenging aspect of the Safe Water program is mobilizing the local community. Our ultimate goal is to help people develop the skills and organization to solve their own problems. We could build water projects faster if we just showed up and did the work ourselves. It might even cost less, but because it is essential to train communities to address their own problems, we diligently invest time helping them plan, organize, and take long-term ownership of their water project.
Just as SIM’s vision is to establish self-led, self-supporting, and self-propagating churches among every Bolivian ethnic group, so the Safe Water for Impoverished Communities project aims to inspire and effect changes that will enable communities to stand on their own physically. In every instance the project seeks to disciple local believers and leaders, equipping them in holistic ministry. By faith we envision numerous new churches that will continue to meet the physical and spiritual needs of their communities long after we have left.
Operating a water development ministry is not cheap, but God provides gracious donors who cover expenses that are not afforded by the local community. These gifts pay for:
The needs continue to exceed current resources as we survey more communities across Bolivia, especially in the Cochabamba valley. We thank God for our outstanding team of Bolivian partners, and invite others to come along side to deliver a cup of water to the least of these in Jesus’ name. Will you consider joining us?
A cup of water shouldn’t put infants and children at risk of disease and death.
Please take a moment to view photos that demonstrate the impact of the work done by Safe Water for Impoverished Communities.
Project Number: 91225 Current Funding Progress:
Note: Financial information is updated quarterly and therefore may not reflect the data reported in a more recent article.