Back when I ran Pathfinders Project out of my garage, months before I approached Foundation Beyond Belief to discuss the idea of launching a Humanist Service Corps, I knew I wanted to focus on clean water work. Clean water projects are never just clean water projects—they improve health, increase access to education, empower women and communities, and free up resources for development.
Most people don’t realize the severity of the global water crisis. Waterborne diseases kill more people every year than conflict. These deaths disproportionately affect children—90% of the more than 1.5 million water-related deaths each year are in children under five years old.
People spend hundreds of billions of hours every year just walking for water. The responsibility usually falls to women and young girls, who often face harassment and sexual assault as they walk miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely contaminated. Time spent walking keeps the girls from school and the women from work and taking care of their families.
Water Ecuador’s approach to the water crisis in coastal Ecuador is simple, honest, and effective. The organization essentially creates a market for clean water by educating the community about the importance of drinking it, and then they use the revenues generated by water purchases to pay for maintenance of a Water Center and the water manager’s salary. Proper care of the Water Center is incentivized because it is a source of income; consequently, communities are invested in protecting the source of clean water generation after generation.
Currently, Water Ecuador runs six Water Centers in rural Ecuador that provide clean water to more than 2,000 people daily. I was thrilled when I heard that Foundation Beyond Belief is supporting Water Ecuador with a Poverty and Health grant in the fourth quarter of 2013, and I am proud that the Pathfinders will help Water Ecuador break ground on its seventh Water Center, on Isla Puná, off the southern coast of Ecuador.
Like the other Water Centers, the one in Isla Puná is being built in collaboration with the community leaders and residents after grassroots education about the importance of clean water. Water Ecuador is working to have things on Isla Puná ready for construction by the beginning of February, when the Pathfinders arrive. In addition to the construction, the Pathfinders will be involved with Water Ecuador’s continued education efforts in the Isla Puná community. The Pathfinders will give presentations in schools to teach children of all ages about good water and hygiene practices, and they will visit families in their homes to learn about how the water crisis has affected them.
A community of compassionate humanists supporting outstanding charities worldwide. Join today for as little as $5 a month. Learn more.
Humanist Giving (Q1)
Total since launch
Interesting approach…Join up!
PZ Myers, Pharyngula
It's simple but profound—empathy and compassion. I am proud to be able to bring news of this Foundation to my readers. --Avert Your Eye
Foundation Beyond Belief is demonstrating humanism at its best. --Digital Chum
The best part [of FBB membership] is sharing the experience with our children. We want them to help us figure out what our monthly contribution should be and where it should go. --Raising Three Thinkers
[My] kids watched the videos from War Child and Water for People. Learning happened. Humanitarianism happened. My children felt compassion for others and wanted to help. -- Learning from the Kitchen Table
A vital test of any humanist organization's humanism is its ability to help those in need, which the Foundation is doing so admirably. --Paul Kurtz Institute for Science and Human Values
The regular contribution [model] means that our total charitable giving will most certainly increase this year. --Amy Schirmer, member
I scrolled down the list of contribution levels until I hit one that hurts, just a little. But it's a good kind of hurt. --Peter Nothnagle, member