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WaterStep Liberia



Andrew Gardour is a partner with WaterStep in Liberia. Andrew decided to visit WaterStep in the United States and has been staying with us for 3 weeks. While Andrew was here he attended a hand pump repair training, helped create future plans for partners in Africa and met the WaterStep team. However once Andrew arrived the WaterStep team realized that there was more to this visit than we thought.


Andrew had pain in his eye for about a year before he came to America. Andrew had noticed some pain in his eye and had it checked out while he was in the United States previously. At the check up he learned that he had a hole in his retina and that was the reason he was feeling the pain. Andrew returned to Liberia having had no treatment “I didn’t know how costly it would be, I didn’t have the means.” said Andrew.


3 weeks ago, Andrew returned to WaterStep head quarters in Louisville, Kentucky. During this visit Andrew had mentioned to WaterStep in passinimage1g that his eye was still affecting him. Not knowing the severity Andrew came to USA for training and a visit. He did not know that while he was here he would receive a surgery that would change his life forever.


With Andrews well being in mind WaterStep decided to have his eye checked out again, that is when they learned that Andrew would need surgery. With his eye consistently shrinking if Andrew had gone back to Liberia without help his eye would have caused an infection and put Andrews Life in danger. With WaterStep supporting him he went into surgery on a Friday, with the hope that they could stop the shrinking of the eye and help him restore some of his sight.


On Monday June 12, Andrew went in for his final check up. He received news that he had regained some sight in his eye and the hole in the retina had been repaired. The doctors said that Andrew was healing at an extraordinarily fast rate. “when I came here I did not know that WaterStep would be helping me through this, I was very surprised.” Said Gardour. “we are a family I don’t feel like I’m in a different place WaterStep accepted me as my own brother or sister would have,” … “They [WaterStep] really are a worldwide family.”


Now that Andrew has had his surgery and is healing ahead of schedule he has returned back to Liberia to continue working on his project. “it really is a miracle, this visit has opened doors for me,” … “that is my prayer right now, WaterStep opened doors for me and I pray that they continue doing that around the world.


Andrew’s project reaches around 2,000 people in Monrovia, Liberia. Through the dedication and donations of the WaterStep community including funding for the operation, hotel stays, after care appointments etc. WaterStep and our community was able to make sure that those people in Liberia would continue to have safe water. Our community works together to restore and maintain providing Safe lives through safe water.

Water Training

WaterStep welcomed over 15 people to our headquarters in Louisville to attend a Hand Pump Repair Training and a Water Treatment & Health/Hygiene Training  yesterday. Students from University of Indiana along with mentors, who are all planning on going out of the country this coming weekend, attended this training. They learned what to expect when they are traveling out of the country, including different kinds of cultural standings such as the differences between money, power and leadership even things as small as hand gestures and what to stay away from. People had a hands on experience later in the afternoon, when they got to help assemble hand pumps. This training also had some special guests, Tony Hamisi from the DR Congo, John Rashid also from the DR Congo, Jordan Maiden working in Malawai and Andrew Gardour from Liberia, who was mentioned previously.


Andrew has been a partner with WaterStep for a year now and has recently completed his first project in Liberia. Andrew heard about WaterStep last year he then came to his first training, and then committed to a project in Liberia. WaterStep then decided to make Andrew a partner. When asked why he feels that WaterStep is such an important organization he responded with how “they provide water for the communities, but they also provide life.” After the completion of the project and throughout this past year Andrew has truly seen that this Water project is “really helping people to live.”


Hidden Heroes

Andrew & WaterStep Liberia Team

Andrew & WaterStep Liberia Team

WaterStep proudly welcomes a hidden hero to our headquarters for Hand Pump Repair Training.  Meet Andrew Gardour.

Andrew is from the suburbs of Monrovia, Liberia and is one of WaterStep’s International Partners. Andrew and his WaterStep Liberia Team have been teaching health education to their community for over a year and have already set up a water treatment system in their community to truly save lives with safe water.  Why?  Because they witness people dying and getting sick from unsafe water. Now, Andrew is learning more about hand pump repair in order to continue his dream of bringing safe water to surrounding communities.

Did you know that WaterStep houses the only Hand Pump Repair School in the United States? During the training students learn about common types of hand pumps, how to assemble and disassemble pump parts and how to troubleshoot common problems. Hand Pump Repair Training is a 3 day course and is held at WaterStep’s headquarters in Louisville, KY.  The registration fee per person is $300.  If you would like to sponsor someone for hand pump repair training, please call Tomara Brown at 502.568.6342 x 503.

WaterStep is thankful to have hidden heroes all over the world saving lives with safe water!



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.


By: Kelsey Roberts

Once known as the “Graveyard of the West,” Louisville has redeemed its 19th century reputation for waterborne illness to become a breeding ground for safe water technology and innovation.



On November 8, 2014, WaterStep held Hack20 Water Hackathon, a new event that convened Louisville’s bright minds and willing hands to prototype solutions for a global water problem. By midmorning, students, engineers, humanitarians and idealists had formed teams that would devise solutions to improve drinking water in developing countries.

Steve Keiber joined the approximately 40 individuals who contributed to Hack20 Water Hackathon. Keiber said, “Something might help somebody out there somewhere, make life a little easier for someone.”

Andrew Cozzens, a participant and employee at FirstBuild which hosted the event, agreed with his teammate. This optimism led both Keiber and Cozzens to devote a Saturday constructing a brake for the WaterBall, which helps women and children transport water in a more efficient way.

Other projects included a titanium dioxide/solar energy filtration unit, a method to remove arsenic from Costa Rica’s drinking water, an alternative transport for WaterStep’s M-100 chlorine generator, a portable laboratory to manufacture disinfecting sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and a wireless device that alerts when water hand pumps malfunction.

James Armstrong, a design engineer at GE Appliances, worked on the alert system for malfunctioning hand pumps. In addition to being a professional tinker, Armstrong has installed a few M-100 chlorine generators in Ethiopian schools and orphanages. He is unlikely to forget why potable water technology is imperative. Armstrong and his wife adopted a son from Ethiopia who suffered from water dwelling giardia parasites that cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating and weight loss.

Also unlikely to forget the importance of investing in safe water technology is Sam DuPlessis Jr. DuPlessis, also working on the hand pump alert system, chose to spend his 18th birthday at Hack20 Water Hackathon with his father and 11-year-old brother. The DuPlessis family knows that unsafe water and poor sanitation are serious issues for the developing world. Equally as important, the DuPlessis family understands new technology can be a key part of the solution.

“It’s about people helping other people around the world,” said DuPlessis, who gladly supported WaterStep and its beneficiaries on a day he could celebrate with friends.

Meanwhile, Juan He, Ph.D., a post-doctoral associate at the University of Louisville Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, contributed her professional knowledge to the titanium dioxide/solar energy filtration project. Like others in her group, He wanted to know if water purification was possible without using WaterStep’s traditional chlorine generator. She hoped scientific observation and mathematical equations could result in a cost effective tool for the developing world. He’s decision to address WaterStep beneficiaries as “developing” countries instead of “undeveloped” countries shows she  believes progress for third world nations is possible. Just like WaterStep and those who support its mission, He believes global access to safe water could be one step closer thanks to a room full of students, engineers, humanitarians and idealists.

Hack2O was not simply a one-day event. The effects of the ideas and innovation from the day will stretch for years to come. A few key results from the event include:

  • WaterStep can fast track adding a brake to the WaterBall for safety.
  • The possibility of using less energy to purify water with WaterStep’s M-100 chlorine generator.
  • Ideas for using common materials in the developing world to transport water more easily.
  • Defining possibilities for people in an area of Costa Rica to take arsenic out of their water.


Special Thanks to:

The FirstBuild Team
Mary Beckman, Taylor Dawson and Randy Reeves
Dr. Thad Druffel, University of Louisville, Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research.
Juan Emmanuel Afable, MSD
Elliot Bauer, LG&E

Kevin Nolan, GE
Ted Smith, Metro Louisville
Dr. Mickey Wilhelm, J.B. Speed School

Sunergos Coffee
Phil Back for graphic design
WaterStep Prep Team Kurtis Daniels and Joe Jacobi