Water Projects Archives - WaterStep

Breaking the Cycle of Unsafe Water


“We must step up and do something right to break the cycle of enslavement, and access to safe water is the best way to empower and transform communities.”

Raphael Wanjala is from Nairobi, Kenya. He has initiated a long term partnership with WaterStep to transform his community through safe water. Now, Raphael is here exploring the next phases of transforming and empowering his community through sanitation. “Right now we are already doing water purification, and we are doing health education. If we can incorporate sanitation, we are going to save more lives.” With WaterStep, Raphael recognizes that in order for third world communities to thrive, the three components of water purification, health education, and sanitation, must be in place, and he is committed to helping his community solve the problem.

“Water is the core of your life, and the need is great,” Raphael says. If you would like to give to break the cycle of unsafe water for others like Raphael, please donate now.

Watch today’s WHAS11 segment on Raphael, and the power of working together:  Local Agencies Educate on Healthy Water

Digging a Well in Uganda

By now, I hope you’ve heard about our community project in Kaabowa Village, Uganda. During our work here, we will address all of the water needs of the entire community.

Like we’ve outlined on our project page, the first phase of this project will focus on digging a well to provide safe water in a central community area. The well will allow families to access clean and safe water quickly and efficiently.

RHCF (our local partner) will begin digging this well with an expectation of high community participation in manual labor and contribution of locally available materials. The community mobilization will allow everyone to participate and take ownership of this new project. This is a component that we have discovered is crucial to success in water projects: an engaged community.

Dr. Ssenoga of the RHCF previously wrote about the dangers of unsafe water in the community. “Where I live, people die from diseases because they don’t believe there is treatment,” he wrote. Many people in Kaabowa village do not understand that their water quality is dangerous to them and their families.

That is why WaterStep is working to train a water user committee that will be strong enough to control the operation and maintenance of the water source. This group of individuals will become local spokespeople for the cause of safe water and ensure its sustainability.

Dr. Ssenoga and his community are in desperate need of safe water to drink, and this first step can drastically change the quality of their lives. To learn more about the village, check out the project page and follow along as we keep you updated about the phases of this project. I know that the entire WaterStep staff is grateful for your help and excited about the possibility for change in Kaabowa village.

Check back in for more updates about Phase One next week.

Responding in Nepal

“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.


Nepal safe water disaster relief


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.


 Give to Nepal

Nepal safe water disaster relief 4

A Picture of Kabowa Village

Water in Uganda

The community model is WaterStep’s approach to providing safe water to a community for a lifetime. The community model addresses the water needs one individual, one family, one community at a time.

This year, we are looking to Kaabowa Village in Uganda. Dr. Ssenoga reached out to us to explain their need for safe water, and together, we have developed a plan that will address the water needs of the entire village for years to come.

Kaabowa is a small village in the Mubende district of Uganda with a population of just 1,300 people. However, children from neighboring villages walk an average of 3 miles to get to Kaabowa each day because they have four schools with about 500 children each. The village also is home to a central market area that people walk miles to visit.

The market center and high schools give Kaabowa an impactful place in the Mubende community. The influence of the schools in the area is wide. Children who come to the community each day drink unsafe water, which is still one of the leading causes of sickness and death in the region.

Water in Uganda

Drilling wells wills in Kaabowa will be a first priority, which will have a ripple effect throughout the entire district as new water sources become available. The second phase of the project will include providing safe water in the schools and several pit latrines throughout the community. Finally, each family will be equipped with a household water filter.

We are so excited to begin this project in Uganda, but we need your help to make it happen. You can learn more on our project page and see how you can support the community model in Kaabowa Village.

Join us in saving lives in Costa Rica

WaterStep Director of Training and Trips Claudia Daniels shares the needs of a community in Costa Rica. You can join us on our next trip to the community where we are saving lives with safe water. Check out her story below and learn more about Claudia on our Staff page.


There is this small town in Costa Rica where a sweet lady named Cecilia lives. Her heart for the children in the neighboring slum is overflowing with love, and kids follow her in the streets like the pied piper. They come to her for safety, love and food.

Cecilia is not a woman of great means. In fact, at night she goes to her neighbor’s house asking for leftover rice and beans to feed the children the next day. She makes a meal for them in her house and carries the food to a small feeding center where the children line up for a hot lunch.

costa rica community

Cecilia knows the need for safe water in the community and knows that these kids are not only lacking in food but their health is suffering as well from contaminated water.

Our partner in Costa Rica, Ana, asked us if we could come and bring safe water to these children. A team of 12 from Cornell University traveled to Costa Rica, taught Health Education to the children and installed a purification unit in Cecilia’s son’s bodega (store). Here Cecilia set up a small business selling safe water for a couple of colonies, which is much cheaper than the bottled water people were buying. She supplied safe water for the children and cooked their meals with safe water and with the money she made, she was able to buy fresh food for the children.
Costa Rica safe water

Now, two years later, the feeding center needs to expand. This summer we will bring another team to help provide safe water to the new center where Cecilia will cook on site. Join us as we continue our work and build our relationship with this unbelievable lady and her the kids she loves.  Learn how you can  travel with WaterStep on an upcoming trip. Maybe even join the trip that brings safe water to Cecilia’s new feeding center.