We create opportunity - not dependency. It is vital that our work be sustainable, so we establish local ownership and economic viability with each installed water system, which is then maintained and operated by local people long after we are gone. In short, if the water well improves life and makes money, then the community will make sure the water stays flowing.
The developing world is littered with broken pumps and contaminated wells installed by well-meaning organizations and individuals. In the traditional (but flawed) system, pumps and wells are often given freely to communities in need. If a pump breaks, with no sense of ownership or knowledge of maintenance, no one will fix it. However, in our model, ownership and economic viability is established so maintenance and access to clean water is continuous.
CREATING NEW BUSINESS
Generating new income is the key to providing sustainable solutions to eliminating poverty. When pumps and wells are privately owned, and a new business is established, owners can charge a small monthly fee per user. This small fee creates new wealth in the community which bolsters the local economy and creates new jobs. The additional resources are used to support local schools, clinics, churches and community groups.
With our innovative approach, we have seen incredible progress in the areas where our model is in use. A rural primary school in Kenya used to spend their entire government budget purchasing water for their students and teachers. This budget was supposed to pay the teachers' salaries and purchase school books and supplies. After receiving a Village Drill and subsequent water well, two miracles happened. First, the school experienced a 30% increase in attendance. Girls who were normally fetching the daily water for their families were now able to attend classes since the well was installed at the school. Second, the school no longer needed to purchase their own water. By charging a modest fee to the community, the school earned $12 a day in water fees. This amounted to over $4300 in annual revenue, a positive net gain of discretionary income to the school of over $10,000 USD!