Alex Marc via Crowdrise
October 09, 2013
BENEFITING: Saha Global
EVENT DATE: Dec 28, 2013
Hello Friends, Family, and Other Amazing Internauts!
First, let me thank you for taking an interest in my fellowship with Community Water Solutions and what I hope will be an amazing adventure. Your consideration is both flattering and encouraging! I realize that parting with your hard earned income is never an inherently pleasant experience, so my goal in the following paragraphs is to preemptively charm you, hopefully convince you, but most importantly inform you about the issues at play and the objectives of this venture. For those of you that don't know me well, don't let my insouciant discourse fool you! Rest assured I take this fellowship with CWS seriously. I will invest every bit of effort I can muster to ensure that each cent you donate towards the targeted $3000 is used productively and this water purification startup proves successful.
Today, 1 in 8 people around the world lack access to safe drinking water. About four million people die each year from preventable water-related diseases with roughly 90% of those deaths being children under the age of five. The widespread scarcity of clean drinking water and the slew of dire consequences are commonly referred to as the world water crisis. As with many sub-Saharan countries, there are significant water challenges in northern Ghana. Half of the 1.8 million residents lack access to improved sources of drinking water, leading to high child mortality rates and widespread waterborne disease. For those of you who have not had the particular pleasure of experiencing one of my diatribes, let me explain what CWS does and the role a CWS fellow (i.e. me) plays.
Like many people, I believe it is important and fruitful to help those in need. I think it is even more so if it simultaneously enables people to help themselves and eventually those around them. Of the many nonprofits operating on the continent, CWS is relatively unique in this regard. Its approach and execution on the ground is that of a practical business venture, not a hand out. More specifically, the ultimate goal of a CWS fellowship is to establish sustainable and profitable water treatment businesses in remote communities. As an extra bit of reassuring information, to date CWS has successfully established such businesses in 49 communities all of which are still operating and currently providing clean drinking water to over 28,000 people.
So what exactly will my role be in all of this? Well, from December 28th-January 19th, I and three other CWS fellows will be working on the ground in a rural village of Northern Ghana to implement such a for-profit water business that will be owned and operated by the community and use low-cost local technologies. This distinctive combination will empower the community of 700-1000 people to take control of its own water quality. We will provide the locally purchased capital equipment and training needed for the treatment center, while the community will provide the labor. We will select and train individuals from the village to run the water business. This training will consist of two main components. The first will be to teach the selected individuals how to use the locally available technologies to treat the water from their local source. The second will be to provide financial training to ensure profits are properly managed and enough funds are directed toward perpetuating the business. Finally, we will officially open the center and monitor both the quality and amount of clean water being sold. Not too bad for a 3 week stint!
What are these magically affordable but effective technologies, you ask? In short, alum (a particulate coagulant) and chlorine (a disinfectant). If the details really interest you, I'd love to discuss them so feel free to contact me directly. The overall point is that in these remote regions, it is difficult to procure replacement components for certain water treatment systems (i.e. filters, boilers, membranes, etc.). It is for this reason that CWS employs a two stage chemical treatment process. There are no wear components meaning no repairs or maintenance need be performed. The raw materials are readily available and cheaply acquired meaning that there is little overhead and minimal recurring cost. All that is required to get the business up and running is some preliminary capital (i.e. your donation) and initial procedural training (i.e. my effort on the ground) to actually treat the water.
Another critically important facet of the CWS initiative is that these businesses are typically run by women elected by village elders. As in many countries, despite often being the primary gatherers of food and water, women tend to be perceived as having a secondary role in community hierarchies. CWS and I hope to empower women entrepreneurs in these rural communities to launch profitable businesses and set an example for both current and future generations.
If you’d like more information on the program, I invite you to consult the website (www.communitywatersolutions.org) at your leisure, or, better yet, reach out to me. I will do my best to respond as quickly and completely as possible.
Now, having heard the pitch, if you'd like to make a tax deductible donation (for those residing in the US), I present you with two options.
1. Mail a check to "Community Water Solutions” while making sure to write "Alexandre Marc" in the memo portion. The mailing address is provided below.
Community Water Solutions
46 Ledgetree Rd.
Medfield, MA 02052
2. Donate online via this crowdrise page. Like all fundraising websites, crowdrise.com does take a small percentage of all funds raised. If you'd like 100% of your donation to go to CWS, I encourage you to donate offline.
Finally, I would like to once again thank you for your time and consideration. Both of these mean a great deal to me, regardless of whether I've convinced you to make a donation. At the very least, I hope I've succeeded in providing you with a bit of information and accordingly increased awareness about this issue.