Health Through Water

An estimated one billion people worldwide are without access to adequate drinking water, a problem that 22-year-old Jordan Wagner of California and his dad, Pastor Philip, are devoted to help solve. Their organization Generosity Water funds 82 well projects in 15 countries throughout Africa, South America and Asia. Supported by individual and community donations, Generosity Water supplies an estimated 32,000 people with clean water.

In his trips to Africa since starting Generosity Water last year, Jordan has seen women and children lug heavy buckets of dirty water for miles, leaving little time for education or community development. He’s also toured hospitals where more than half the patients were admitted due to a water-related disease such as malaria or diarrhea, which kills an estimated 3.5 million people a year. “We shouldn’t be building more hospitals if we’re not stopping the reason people are coming to the hospital,” Jordan says. “For us, the first step is water.”

Generosity Water partners with local nonprofits in each community they help to engineer the wells, which cost about $3,000 each and serve about 400 people per project. Members of the villages help build the well. “The women make clay bricks; the men dig holes,” Jordan says. Generosity Water can’t travel to every project, so the nonprofits train community leaders on well maintenance, hygiene and sanitation practices, and the community leaders pass these skills along to residents.

Jordan, an innate entrepreneur, lost his lucrative mortgage company to the recession in 2008. Fed up with his health care recruiting position, he traveled to Africa to visit a well that his father’s church had funded through bottled water sales. The trip changed his perspective and brought him back to reality. “I came back really grateful for what I had and I wanted to dedicate the next part of my life to making a difference and giving them clean water,” he says. Since then, Jordan has spoken at schools and churches to raise water shortage awareness.

Communities that have worked with Generosity Water have seen vast improvements in health since installing wells. The Tanzanian government even opened a school near one of the wells.

In the next few months, Jordan will travel to five African countries – Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda – to check up on how existing wells are progressing and talk to communities who have applied for a well. Generosity Water hopes to build 1,500 wells by 2012.

All photos courtesy | Genoristy Water

Generosity Water

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