Water Blog - WaterStep

Give Local Louisville 2015


Happy Give Local Louisville day! If you have ever considered donating to safe water projects, today is a great day to start.


We are excited to join with other nonprofits around the city as Louisvillians shows how compassionate they are. Today, October 1st, when you give to WaterStep, your donations could be multiplied by a local match pool as a part of Give Local Louisville.


Today also marks the start of WaterStep’s Seven Days of Giving. From October 1st – October 8th, we will be giving away one prize a day to donors to countdown to our 20 Year Birthday Party on October 8th! The prizes will be announced each morning, so be sure to start by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.


During last year’s Give Local Louisville, you donated a total of $23,858 that all went to water projects in the Philippines. Let’s see what we can accomplish together this year and save lives with safe water.


You can go to our Give Local Louisville page and donate today. 

uganda 680


The Power of Long-Term Commitment to Costa Rica

Costa Rica WaterStep Safe WAter

WaterStep first began work in Costa Rica in 2001. For 14 years, WaterStep has worked primarily in the central highlands and the Pacific coast, focusing in the provinces of Guanacaste, Cartago, Heredia and San Jose. Project locations have included churches, schools, feeding centers, or other community centers.

2015 has been no different. So far this year, WaterStep has led 5 trips to various regions of Costa Rica and still has one more trip this fall. 

These continued efforts rely on the work of WaterStep staff alongside local partners who are dedicated to bringing safe water to their communities. A team of four Costa Ricans serve as WaterStep’s “boots on the ground.” They call themselves CREWS, Costa Rican Expert WaterSteppers. The leader of CREWS, Ana Lorena Cespedes, scouts out project locations, performs community assessments and tests water, while other members make minor repairs and answer technical questions – most importantly, all four help to build and maintain strong local relationships. Consistent communication with a larger network of church leaders, school directors, and community leaders allows WaterStep to leverage its effectiveness. 

On WaterStep’s most recent trip to Costa Rica, a team of 20 from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Canada completed three successful water purification installations in Santa Maria at two elementary schools and a mission house that will bring safe water access to their communities for years to come.

Trip leaders and WaterStep staff, Kurtis and Claudia Daniels led the group of volunteers during the 7 day trip. After they sent the team back to Kentukcy and Canada, they continued on to a fourth location in Esterillos to help provide safe water to people in need. 

Costa Rica WaterStep Safe Water 2

Their friends, who are missionaries working with Pura Vida Church in Costa Rica, were in need of safe water for the community in the area where they worked. That next Sunday, they attended the church to worship, surveyed the sight, made a materials list and returned the next day to begin working. Along with the help of local partners, Kurtis and Claudia installed a water purification system and educated leaders of Pura Vida Church, the local water company and the community leaders how to use it. Because they were able to stay those extra few days, even more people were provided with access to safe water.

Over the years of WaterStep’s work in Costa Rica, hundreds of volunteers, dozens of local partners, and many financial supporters have provided safe water to thousands. The sustainability of these projects is evident in the continued relationships between in-country partners and the WaterStep staff. Even when unexpected opportunities arise, the WaterStep staff is prepared to equip locals and provide whatever they need to access safe water for years to come.

Read more about Costa Rica!

Smiles and Safe Water in Uganda

uganda 603

WaterStep Staff Member Doug Lark writes about his experience on a recent trip to Uganda.

Down a dusty dirt road several miles from the nearest paved highway is the rural village of Kabowa, Uganda (GPS 0 degrees, 32 minutes, 46 seconds N, 31 degrees, 16 minutes, 31 seconds E). Like many rural villages in Uganda, safe water is an issue in the community. Most of their available water was down a hill to an open source pond about 2 km away.

uganda 669

With your help, that has changed. On June 12, 2015, the final construction was completed and a new well with a hand pump was inaugurated. Your shoe drives and financial donations allowed WaterStep to sponsor this well. The well is located just a short distance from the secondary school.

uganda 729

After the well was dedicated, trainers from the Rural Health Care Foundation taught community leaders health and hygiene basics using the Community Lead Total Sanitation Method. This popular training technique involves the whole community in the importance of practicing good hygiene and sanitation habits. Training will be an on-going process through the entire project.




Donate today to support the Uganda project.

Safe Water for Nepal

safe water for nepal 23

The WaterStep team in Nepal has trained over 200 people in water treatment and health education, and they finished out their week by going to do local installations in other earthquake-affected regions of Nepal.

After years of experience in disaster relief, the WaterStep staff redesigned their training programs to deliver greater impact to the areas needing access to safe water and hygiene. Instead of responding to disasters with large teams on the ground, WaterStep realized that they could be more effective by sending a small team to train local non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in water treatment and health education. Those NGO’s can then use what they’ve learned and take it back to other areas to train even more people, multiplying the effect of WaterStep’s efforts.

At WaterStep, training includes not only water treatement education, but also health education, a critical part of our work. Both pieces come together to promote better health in communities around the world. WaterStep’s disaster relief in Haiti, India, Costa Rica, and the Philippines revealed that health education was crucial to improved health. Our health education teachers walk trainees through basic practices like how to make a hand washing station with common materials, protect homes from flies, prevent common types of  parasites from spreading, and treat diarrheal illness in babies, children and adults. Paired with water treatment training, these two strategies can provide long-term solutions for a community.

Our team in Nepal has been encouraged and inspired by the response to their training. Many Nepali people walked and traveled for days over tough terrain to reach the training location. A member of parliament attended the training along with Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus. The diversity of the individuals trained through this trip will not only save lives but help bridge cultural divides. At WaterStep, we believe peace and health can be achieved through water.

WaterStep’s disaster relief work in Nepal will not only address the immediate needs of the earthquake affected people, but it will improve their water access for years to come.


*All photos taken by Philip Andrews

Click to donate to future WaterStep projects and disaster relief efforts.

Stories from the Field: Community Partnerships with ShantiSeva & WaterStep in India

Ravi Jain, founder of ShantiSeva, and his team installed a WaterStep M-100 water purifier in Kishoni village near Shujalpur, India where up to 1,200 people in the community can now access safe water.

Ravi is working to bring sustainable safe water solutions to this community and others in India. We wrote about Ravi’s earlier work with WaterStep  in January.

water purification India 4

This installation was successful through partnerships within the community, a key part of community development. Ravi explained that he met with the Village Secretary once he knew he was ready to install in the village. The Secretary allowed him to install the purifier in his home, a central area where anyone could come for purified water.

water purification India 3

After gathering supplies, they began their installation. When they encountered several minor problems, Ravi called the WaterStep headquarters and spoke with our experts to walk him through solutions. WaterStep’s Doug Lark helped Ravi and his team get the chlorine level to an appropriate measurement and after just one day, the M-100 war running smoothly.

water purification India 2

Ravi’s work didn’t finish with the installation. His partners on the ground will continue to monitor how much water is being used, how many people are accessing the water, and collect notes on the improved health of the community.

Ravi’s project is a great example of how WaterStep can empower you and your team to partner community development with safe water. Interested in bringing an M-100 water purifier with you on your next trip? Learn more about WaterStep training.

Also, check out Ravi’s firsthand account of his experience on his blog, ShantiSeva.

water purification India