Four years ago Teela and I started fundraising for the Yoto Riverkeeper in Togo, in the hopes that we’d raise enough money to build one $12,000 drinking water well for a small village a few hours north of the capital of Lomé. We made our goal with over 50 donations, and set sights on doing the same thing the following years. In the last four years we have raised over $75,000, all of which has been sent to our Riverkeeper friends in Togo, on Lake Kyogo in Uganda and on Lake Victoria in Kenya. With that money we have funded the building of four wells in Togo, one well in Uganda and funded the construction of large wooden patrol boat in Uganda and water quality testing equipment for the Lake Kyogo Waterkeeper and Lake Victoria Waterkeeper in Kenya.
Why Clean Water?
For places with little to no access to clean drinking water you can imagine the impact this had had on these communities. People that were walking miles to dip plastic containers in dirty streams, can now pump clean drinking water within minutes. In many communities in Togo, Uganda, and Kenya where we work, disease from dirty water kills more people every year than all forms of violence. Almost half of those deaths are children under five years old. On our trips to the villages where we work it is heartbreaking to spot the young kids with water borne disease, as they have very swollen bellies from the worms and amoeba that are contracted from drinking dirty water. Women do most of the water collecting in the villages, so when a community gets a source of clean drinking water, it allows women and girls to the opportunity to improve their lives by attending school, grow food, and earn an income.
Why Togo, Uganda and Kenya?
Our Riverkeeper partners in these countries are amazing. They live in these communities and have firsthand knowledge of the problems facing their community and their waterways as well as the on the ground knowledge to implement well building and water testing. The projects we fund are 100% guided and implemented by the Riverkeepers in these countries.
How will the money be used?
100% of the donations will be used to fund drinking water wells and clean water projects. Our current fundraising goal is $47,500. We are now partnering with Wine to Water to provide water filters for homes, schools and health care facilities. For only $10 you can provide a drinking water filters to families that are currently drinking contaminated water. This filter will last for 10 years and will be maintained by the families and the local riverkeepers in Togo, Uganda and Kenya.
Additional donations will fund one well ($12,500) near the remote village of Adjove, Togo. This is an area where we have installed four wells, and there are now thousands of people drinking clean water.
Donations will also fund two wells in Uganda: one near Lake Kyogo and another near Lake Victoria ($17,000 for both wells). Both lakes are polluted and are the primary sources of drinking water for the local people, and the community on the banks of Lake Victoria recently experienced an outbreak of Cholera from drinking polluted lake water. These two wells will provide clean water to hundreds of people in each location. We are now not only building clean drinking water wells, but are partnering with Wine to Water to provide filters for places that have good access to water, but the source of water is not clean. We can now provide water filters that will last for over 5 years and treat the drinking water for a full household.
We will also be funding the construction of a water quality monitoring boat and water sampling equipment on Lake Victoria ($2,000). This is an area that is heavily polluted by industry. When we toured this location we saw a heavy concentration of factories that are each dumping a significant amount of pollution into Lake Victoria. This boat will allow the Ugandan Lake Victoria Waterkeeper there to monitor these factories in an effort to advocate for better pollution controls. Finally, we also want to continue to fund water sampling on Lake Victoria in Kenya and build a boat for water sampling ($9,000).
Visit these links to see a snapshot of some of the amazing work our partners are doing under very difficult circumstances.Yoto River WaterkeeperLake Kyogo WaterkeeperUganda Lake Victoria WaterkeeperKenya Lake Victoria Waterkeeper