Together with volunteers, many small donors and large sponsors, the WaterFoundation has launched numerous projects since it was founded in 2000, providing tens of thousands of people with drinking water and enabling many families to live in dignity.
After successfully implementing numerous projects in Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Morocco, Nepal, Palestine, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Uzbekistan, the WaterFoundation has been focusing its activities in the project areas of water supply and village development on the countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea since 2018. Since 2020 Bolivia, Peru, and Tansania are additional focus areas.
Many schools, rural health stations, entire villages and countless people – especially in Africa – do not have sufficient clean drinking water. The WaterFoundation therefore initiates numerous smaller and larger spring tapping projects, builds walls, concretes the place where the spring water comes to the surface, drills or digs wells, builds water tanks and installs pipelines to transport the drinking water. Where water pipes cannot (yet) be laid, the WaterFoundation distributes donkeys to carry the water.
Due to climate change, the groundwater level is dropping dramatically in many areas of Africa. Wells are drying up and the distances to the still open water points are long. Traditionally, it is women and girls who walk for hours with heavy canisters or calabashes on their backs to fetch drinking water to supply their families. With the distribution of specially equipped donkeys, this deplorable situation can be remedied quickly and inexpensively. The physical exertions are ended, girls can attend school instead, women can work in the fields and take care of the family.
For many years, the WaterFoundation has been researching the use of fog collectors. The CloudFisher is the result of several years of joint development work with Munich-based industrial designer Peter Trautwein. The first series-produced fog collector that can withstand high wind speeds of up to 120 km/h, it is quick and easy to install, requires no energy and is extremely low-maintenance. The CloudFisher supplies high-quality drinking water at low cost in suitable regions. In addition, water extracted from fog can be used in agriculture, livestock and reforestation projects. So far, the CloudFisher is located in Morocco, Tanzania and Bolivia.
To date, several hand washing facilities and toilets have been built and handed over to the population in Ethiopia, including in schools in Mulataa and Birbirsa (130 km west of Addis Ababa). The Foundation provided detailed construction and concept descriptions to EDA-E, our partner organization in Ethiopia, which organized and controlled the construction. In Tanzania, toilets for 4000 students are being built as part of a CloudFisher project. In spring 2020, WasserStiftung opened its largest water supply project to date in Bilaa, Ethiopia. The drinking water supply is now secure. But in the two schools there are only two very simple privy toilets. We urgently want to remedy this situation by building toilet and hand-washing facilities.
Without an adequate supply of water, neither a decent life nor stable socioeconomic development is possible. For this reason, the WaterFoundation’s commitment in poorer regions – especially in Africa – not only serves to provide people with sufficient and clean drinking water, but also to preserve biological diversity and thus also to protect the climate. Reforestation projects, the terracing of eroding soils and sustainable irrigation and cultivation help to preserve the livelihoods of people and animals.
In addition to financial, technical, and practical support, the transfer of know-how is particularly important in order to secure the successes achieved in the long term. That is why our project work includes teaching basic knowledge about ecological interrelationships in schools as well as the proper use of drinking water, toilets and hygiene (WASH).