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Water, Water… NOT Everywhere. How YOU Can Act Locally & Help Globally
Lifestyle

Water, Water… NOT Everywhere. How YOU Can Act Locally & Help Globally

bringing clean drinking water to WaslalaGuest Blogger Justin Knabb is the Director of Donor Relations for Water for Waslala, a Philadelphia-based 501(c)3 non-profit.  Justin was part of student-led team that started Water for Waslala in 2004 while attending Villanova University.  

We should never forget how fortunate we are to enjoy nearly unlimited access to clean drinking water here in Philadelphia.  Millions around the world – 884 million people – do not have the same luxury.  Each year 3.6 million people die from water related disease, which is more than twice the size of Philadelphia.

Some local folks decided to focus on this problem, and there’s a good chance you’ll find them in the Philadelphia Global Water Initiative (PGWI) network.  Our region is filled with resources, experts, and ideas that can apply the same water access models to even the most remote, impoverished villages around the globe.  PGWI brings these experts together: Philly water utility leaders, university experts, NGOs, and concerned citizens.

My Philly-based non-profit, Water for Waslala, just recently became a PGWI collaborator as well.  If you also have an interest in water as a basic human right, it’s easy to get involved.

PGWI is looking for volunteers to help grow their organization in order to make a broader and more effective impact on water projects both locally in Philly and worldwide. Being a PGWI volunteer grants access to an established network of water innovators to help solve the critical water problem in villages around the world.

PGWI holds events several times a year that are open to the public, announced on their website.  I just attended their main annual event earlier this month at UPenn, which cost $15 for general admission and was free for students.  Mayor Michael Nutter gave an excellent welcoming address, and I met some outstanding contacts that can help our organization’s work in Nicaragua.

Here are a handful of local organizations that participated at this year’s PGWI conference:

  • Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center– More than just a beautiful landmark, Water Works directors educate Philadelphians about local water issues through events, workshops, and class visits.
  • UPenn student bloggers: They are traversing the globe to attend key water conferences and blogging about it.  Keep up with key developments in water innovation by following their sites: StudentReporter.org, Oikos drinking-from-polluted-water-waslalaInternational, and their newest site, wH20 Journal, an online newsletter focusing on water and gender issues (set to publish their first issue later this month).
  • Traveling Mercies: 501(c)3 organization run by local Philadelphian, Aldo Magazzeni, that builds water systems and runs other humanitarian initiatives in impoverished regions of Afghanistan, Kenya, and Mexico.
  • Keiyo Soy Ministries: Philadelphia-based 501(c)3 run started by Dr. Elijah Korich to help Kenyans gain access to clean drinking water, especially during frequent droughts.
  • A Drink for Tomorrow: South Jersey-based organization that funds the construction of clean water and sanitation projects in the developing world.
  • Water for Waslala: Founded at Villanova University in 2004 after students visited the impoverished region of Waslala, Nicaragua.  Our organization raises funds and works together with Waslalans to build gravity-fed water systems and distribute ceramic water filters.

There are many more organizations in the PGWI network doing great work locally and around the world.  For more information, email info@pgwi.org or check the PGWI’s Contact Us Page to learn ways you can provide water and ultimately improve lives, right here in Philly.

Volunteers traveling to Waslala

 

Photos from Water for Waslala – Check out the full (beautiful) gallery!

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