Since the very beginning, water provision has been the cornerstone of our work in every country we operate in. Water access is about more than just installing water systems. It’s about installing the right systems, which might mean water wells, rainwater harvesting, protected springs, or something else entirely. And it’s about helping whole communities and regions have enough safe, accessible, reliable water to significantly improve the lives of the people who live there.
In places where there is no safe, clean place to go to the toilet, people struggle with disease, lack of privacy, and indignity. Once communities have access to safe, sustainable water, they can improve their sanitation, dramatically raising their quality of life—improving health, increasing school achievement, and multiplying productivity. In many areas, Living Water helps community members develop plans for sanitation that result in clean, functional latrines in homes, schools, clinics, and churches.
Safe water and sanitation systems are important, but to have an impact, people need to use them effectively to improve their health. Education is important—helping people understand how to prevent diseases by washing their hands, storing their water properly, and using a latrine. But head knowledge is just the beginning; helping communities identify important behaviors and make their own plan to use them is the end goal.
Our concern is for whole people—physical and spiritual. As followers of Jesus, we know that he has the power to transform people, restore relationships, and heal factors that lead to poverty, hunger, and thirst. We work with local churches wherever we find them, identify ways we can be part of what God is already doing, and share the good news about Jesus in simple ways—like telling stories and asking questions.
For all of these things to be effective for the long term, we have to involve the community from the very beginning. We’re learning alongside the communities we serve that projects are most sustainable when they respond to both need and demand, when financing is carefully thought through, and when management is handled locally with lots of ongoing support.