safe water Archives - WaterStep

Safe Water for Nepal

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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.

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

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8-year-old holds birthday party for water



A quick post to celebrate another one of our great volunteers. Jonah is an eight-year-old boy from Kentucky who decided to fundraise for safe water projects. For his eighth birthday, he sent out invitations to his birthday party requesting donations instead of presents. “My mom gave me $20 and then all of my friends and family gave me $20,” Jonah told me when I asked him how he did it. “The most exciting part was when I heard that I had $250. I thought I was going to raise $100!”

Thanks to his heart and compassion, Jonah will be supporting water projects around the world like our upcoming project in Uganda.

If you’re interested to hold a fundraiser for your birthday, wedding, or other special event, we have online tools and support to help you get started. Check out our Fundraising section for more information.



60,000 pounds of shoes means a well for a community in Uganda

Last month for World Water Day, we challenged the WaterStep community to collect a semi-truck full of shoes to help bring water to a village in Uganda – about 22,000 pounds of shoes.

We were blown away by the response. Schools, businesses, churches, and individuals donated their bags of used shoes by the dozens, collecting a total of not one, not two, but three semi-trucks of shoes.

That’s over 60,000 pounds of shoes.

People from around the country hosted shoes drive and participated in shoe challenges:


World Water Day KUNA shoes 2

Middle school and high school students from all over Kentucky brought their shoes to the YMCA Kentucky United Nations Assembly (KUNA) throughout the month of March.



World Water Day North Carolina shoe drive

Sandra Davis in North Carolina decided to lead a shoe drive inspired by the memory of her late husband, and ended up collecting half of a semi-truck of shoes.




World Water Day Delaware shoe drive

And 17-year-old Emma Rider in Delaware collected a full semi-truck of shoes, making this her fifth tractor trailer load since she started collecting shoes to support water projects when she was 12.




World Water Day Hite Elementary shoes

Fifth graders from Hite Elementary School came by our headquarters for a field trip to see what their shoes were doing to provide safe water to people that need it.

And so many more! For everyone who held shoe drives or who dropped off their shoes here in Louisville, thank you. Your shoes mean we will be able to dig a well for the small community of Kaabowa Village in Uganda. Thanks to your help, we’re starting the first phase of our project there, digging a well so that more of the community has nearby access to water.

After that, we’ll be installing household filters, setting up water purifiers, building latrines, and implementing a community health program for students and families. Learn more about the project and how you can help provide safe water to Kaabowa Village.


See the project

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