It hardly seems reasonable that while we can simply turn on our faucets to get a glass of water, about one million others must walk miles to find water or must pay high prices to those who are basically scalping water in urban neighborhoods. Water Without Borders agrees, and was started on the basic principle that clean water should not be contained within borders-that everyone should have the same access to clean water. Many people all across the world have been helped since the organization’s start thanks to donations, tireless effort, and innovative projects.
Water Without Borders (WWB) is a nonprofit organization created by Franklin Evert after he was diagnosed with a degenerative ocular disease known as Retinitis Pigmentosa that left him completely blind by the time he was 20. Rather than causing him to lose hope, the event made him want to bring hope and change to those less fortunate than himself.
Evert started working at an international water filtration company, where he learned all about what it takes to create clean water and the plight of those who must suffer without it on a daily basis. He felt that he had the means to do something about it and decided to found his nonprofit.
However, WWB ran into a number of obstacles. One was that most companies and fellow nonprofits loathe to send themselves or their people into areas labeled as dangerous either because of environmental factors or manmade ones, such as war zones. Evert recognized, though, that the people living in those areas are frequently the ones that need the most help in acquiring good drinking water.
To combat this particular problem, Evert invited Vilai Bouttaphom, an Army veteran, and Larry Sullivan, the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for an internet technology company, to join the board of WWB. With all their combined skills in military special ops, personal protection, internet technology, and disaster response and construction, WWB now had a plan go anywhere and help anyone that needed assistance.
WWB was also concerned with the negative impact water filtration systems tend to have on the surrounding environment. Many other similar organizations seem to use one generic system to apply to all situations and all parts of the world, but Evert and his team decided that a more need-specific approach would not only help the citizens of each country more, it would also be more beneficial to the environment.
In an interesting move, Water Without Borders has teamed up with green electric company Viridian Energy to save the planet and help those without water at the same time. Viridian works to provide clean energy by harnessing reusable resources like wind and water rather than fossil fuels and coal. For every new customer that WWB refers to Viridian, they receive a check from Viridian as a donation to WWB’s cause. The new customer saves money, saves the environment, and helps people worldwide all in one transaction.
WWB currently has projects in Kenya, Togo, Haiti, and Honduras, either installing new wells for the people or building water centers to filter and maintain access to potable water. People can make donations, and ask others to do so as well, in order to fund these projects. WWB also does work in South Dakota, in the U.S.’s poorest county, where over 50 percent of the people live in poverty and only have access to contaminated water, which causes illness.
A disaster relief trailer is also in the works, which would allow Water Without Borders team members to travel to disaster areas and almost immediately begin producing clean drinking water for those in need.
Water Without Borders is just one of many organizations that falls under the “without borders” designation, but it is just as important. And while WWB harbors the same hopes as several other nonprofits serving those without clean water, the difference lies in the immediacy of its help and its dedication to the environment as well as the people.
– Chelsea Evans