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.
When earthquakes struck Nepal last month, WaterStep immediately began planning our response. We are ready to send 100 chlorine generators with five staff members and volunteers to Nepal to train locals and provide the technology they need to access safe water.
What impact can 100 purifiers have?
We saw in the Philippines in 2013 that by training locals and NGOs already responding to disasters, our work could be multiplied to greater areas and have an even bigger impact.
Instead of temporary solutions, like water bottles or purifying tablets, the M-100 water purifiers will be a solution to the water problems in a community for years to come. With each purifier capable of providing safe water to 10,000 people a day, the impact can be immense.
Our friend ND Lama, originally from Nepal, has led our efforts to connect with locals in the area and set up training sites so anyone can come and learn how to operate the simple M-100 water purifier.
“Kathmandu is getting back to normal now, but water is not.”
That’s what N.D. Lama told me when I spoke with him yesterday about the current situation in Nepal, where a 7.8 earthquake hit the central region of the country late last month. N.D., a seminary student from Nepal, is working to bring services to the areas most affected.
“Water is a big issue,” said N.D about the areas where he is working. “We got some water tablets and distributed them but it was not enough.” N.D. and his team, who have provided health and education services in Nepal over the last decade, attended a training at WaterStep this past week in preparation to train responders in Nepal to set up mini water treatment systems in communities devastated by the earthquake.
N.D. spoke of the chaos permeating Nepal. “People are in turmoil. They lost maybe half of their relatives. Life is difficult, but even though they lost their homes, they have hope. We are trying to bring hope.”
Despite decreased media attention, safe drinking water is still scarce and earthquake victims are in danger of waterborne illness that often comes in the aftermath of a natural disaster. “Our challenge is if they don’t get water soon, there will be another disaster – an epidemic or disease will come next.”
WaterStep is sending N.D.’s team to equip responders in Kathmandu with water kits to provide safe water to those at highest risk of waterborne illness. Each of these kits can service up to 10,000 people a day and can provide safe water for years.
You can be a part of helping Nepal rebuild. By giving to Nepal, you will not only help provide immediate relief, but will equip communities with safe water for years to come. Give today and help Nepal recover.