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International Non-profits and Water

How are non-profit organizations are making a difference in access to safe drinking water? Read this article by Dr. Glenn Patterson to learn more.

Globalization applies not only to profit-making corporations, but also to non-profits. Indeed, many of the water-related non-profits operating with a global scope and vision help to underscore the issues, concerns, failures, and successes that are common to water management in many different lands. One of the first international non-profits to get involved in water projects was CARE, which was founded in 1945 on the premise of improving education, disease prevention, access to clean water and sanitation, and fight poverty. Another, the International Water and Sanitation Center, was founded in 1968 to use education and capacity building to help improve access to clean water and sanitation.

Following the 1977 United Nations World Conference on Water in Mar del Plata, Argentina, there were calls for the UN to organize an international decade focused on water and sanitation. This came about during the decade 1981-90. As a result, additional international water non-profits were established during the succeeding decades. Lifewater International was founded in 1977, followed by others such as Global Water in 1982, Water for People in 1991, and many others after that. Their work has helped to call attention to the global water access issue, educate people in host countries and abroad on the need for action, develop successful models for international aid toward clean water, and implement programs in hundreds of host countries. For example, Lifewater focuses on building relationships with people in communities they serve, to understand their desires and needs, before designing water and sanitation solutions to fit the needs. Global Water specializes in developing and providing filtration and disinfection equipment that’s effective and maintainable in a remote, developing world environment. Water for People, with its program, “Everyone forever”, works to develop not only water infrastructure but also the local economic infrastructure to provide long-term support and community buy-in for the water system. Another example, the Africa Sand Dam Foundation, specializes in helping villages to build dams on intermittent streams, to trap both water and sand, creating small aquifers that recharge with intermittent moisture, store that water in the sand, and provide it to the village through wells.

These and many other dedicated non-profit organizations are making a difference in access to safe drinking water in many parts of the world.

Do you know of any other non-profit organizations making a difference in access to safe drinking water? Post your thoughts in the comments and take a moment to see what other learners are saying and respond to others.
© Colorado State University
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