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Lifewater International is a Christian non-profit development organization concerned with providing safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education to people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Lifewater's strategy comes from the belief that the solutions to the global water and sanitation crisis emerge from local communities. Lifewater trains qualified volunteer field trainers in shallow well drilling, hand pump repair, biosand filtration, sanitation, community health through hygiene, and WASH in schools. Field trainers are then sent to other countries along with Lifewater staff members to train Lifewater’s international partners, who implement sustainable projects in their own communities. Lifewater promotes long-term change by equipping nationals with the skills needed to ensure safe water and improved community health.
Lifewater was founded by William A. Ashe in 1977. Owner of a water pump business, the Ashe family started taking trips to Mexico to promote water sanitation to those in need in the late 1960s. Over time, these small family trips grew to include other water professionals. As a result of the success of these trips, William Ashe officially developed the Lifewater name in 1977. In 1984 Lifewater became a registered California non-profit and in 1986 was granted rights as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the IRS. Currently Lifewater is headquartered in San Luis Obispo, California and employs a full-time staff of 15. Over the past few decades Lifewater has sent over 300 qualified field trainers to work in over 40 countries, helping to serve millions of people with safe water and improved health.
Projects and the need for waterLifewater is currently working in Central Asia, Laos, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. The clean water Lifewater provides goes beyond measures of health. Clean water sources close to home provide women and children with the opportunity to go to school rather than hike hours a day to provide water for their families. Clean water provides babies born to HIV mothers the chance to drink formula rather than get infected through their mothers’ breast milk. Further fighting against AIDS, clean water is a necessity to give those already infected a chance of survival by improving their health and making their medications more effective. According to Dr Lee Jong-Wook of the World Health Organization,
Once we can secure access to clean water and to adequate sanitation facilities for all people, irrespective of the difference in their living conditions, a huge battle against all kinds of diseases will be won.
Lifewater is a member of the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA), a coalition of water development organizations dedicated to joining efforts to raise awareness of the need for safe water and sanitation around the world. It is certified by the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA) and has the highest, four-star rating on Charity Navigator, America's largest and most utilized independent evaluator of charities.
Lifewater projects are funded by individual donors, churches, corporate giving, foundations, and the federal government. See the links below to learn more about some of these funding partners. Lifewater is also a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
No matter how much food and health care is given to aid the poor in developing countries, it is simply a band-aid if they still drink contaminated water…. Lifewater International offers continual hope and health.
More people are likely to suffer and die this year and this decade from the lack of clean water than from all armed conflicts combined.—Peter Woicke, World Bank
No issue has ever been more neglected [than water and sanitation]. And it is neglected because it is of concern mainly to the poor and powerless.
The violation of the human right to clean water and sanitation is destroying human potential on an epic scale.—2006 Human Development Report from the UN Development Program
The 1.8 million child deaths each year related to unclean water and poor sanitation dwarf the casualties associated with violent conflict.—2006 Human Development Report from the UN Development Program
- Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the Global Water Crisis. 2006 Human Development Report from the UN Development Program