Friendly Water for the World
Friendly Water for the World’s mission is to expand global access to low-cost clean water technologies and information about health and sanitation through knowledge-sharing, training, applied research, community-building, peacemaking, and efforts at sustainability. We empower communities abroad to take care of their own clean water needs, even as we empower people here to make a real difference. Our vision is of healthy, self-sustaining, empowered, peaceful communities both here and abroad, sharing our knowledge with each other, with life and hope restored through clean water.
We began as a project of convergent Friends (Olympic View Friends Church and Olympia Friends Meeting). We have projects in 15 countries, and work with most marginalized and disadvantaged communities: widows; people with HIV; tribal communities; survivors of wartime rape and gender-based violence; former child soldiers; orphans and survivors of genocide; people with disabilities; people with albinism; unemployed youth; refugees.
We hold a training program in Anacortes, Washington every August, with people coming from around the world. (And usually many Friends, who want to start working with us abroad. We have three objectives:
- Through knowledge-sharing and training, make it possible for communities to ensure their own safe drinking water supply.
- Build community self-sufficiency through setting up small businesses and cooperatives related to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (BioSand Filters, rainwater catchment systems, toilets, spring- and well-head protection, soapmaking, PermaGardens, etc.)
- Educate Americans about “Effective Altruism” – that small amounts of money, intelligently applied, can make really massive changes in people’s lives. We place heavy emphasis on evaluation and cost-effectiveness.
Join us! Please visit our website at www.friendlywater.org
Energy Globe Award for the Women of Minova, Congo-DRC - the most prestigious award for sustainability in the world
As part of our World Water Day celebrations, today Friendly Water for the World celebrates the women of Minova. In November 2012, after beating defeated by militias, troops of the Congolese National Army retreated from Goma in northeast Congo to the town of Minova, where they raped at least 141 women, and raped and pillaged the town. Many of the women either became pregnant or contracted HIV. Their husbands left them, and with them, all income including that required for their children to attend school. Two years later, a show trial was held. All 39 low-ranking soldiers tried were acquitted – it was generally agreed they were rapists, but which soldier raped which woman could not be identified.
Friendly Water for the World provided training and equipment to the women of Minova in fabricating and distributing BioSand Filters. In less than three months, they netted $7,800, enough to feed themselves, for medical care, and to send their children to school. Their business is expanding rapidly. And the entire community now has access to clean water! They have gone on to build and install more than a thousand, and stopped a cholera epidemic in two refugee camps. In recognition of their work, in 2018, the women of Minova were presented with the Energy Globe Award, the world's most prestigious award for sustainability.
“My name is CHRISTINE DABUYE. I am the mother of four children, a daughter and three boys. I do not know the father of my daughter because I was raped by members of the military in 2012. The BioSand project has helped me become psychologically stable, especially as I get to work with other women in a similar condition. In difficult living situations, I believed that the high frequency of recurrent cholera in my family was a curse. But since I have a BioSand Filter in my home, cholera, typhoid fever, and diarrhea no longer affects my family.”
“My name is DADE SHAIMBU. I am a teacher. I very much appreciate the work done by the women. After the installation of BioSand Filters, there has been a real improvement in eliminating waterborne diseases and especially cholera in my village Buganga. Last year, cholera killed 14 kids in our village, including my daughter. As a result, I am now a great advocate of the BioSand Fitlers, and I am advising all my co-workers at the Minova school to get Filters for the better health of their families.”
“My name is COMBI BIROLI. I am a refugee living in the Buganga refugee camp. Since as of yet there are no BioSand Filters in the camp, I walk around six kilometers to get filtered water from a friend who lives in Minova and owns a Filter. I make the walk twice a week, and get 20 liters of water at each visit. My family now only drinks filtered water to avoid getting sick. We use non-filtered water for other household needs. Life is very difficult, but I do not regret the distance I have to go to get filtered water, as it has already stopped all waterborne diseases in my family.”
“My name is NYIRONDESE. I live in Minova, and I help my friend Combi Biroli from the refugee camp get clean water from my Filter for free. When visiting, he likes to shower with the filtered water, and he loves that his skin feels a lot healthier. His only wish is that the camp refugees would have access to the Filters as well so he wouldn’t lose so many friends to waterborne diseases.”
“My name is HERI. I was raped, and then abandoned, and became very depressed. I was hospitalized many times for waterborne illnesses, which only added to my distress. Now I own a BioSand Filter and it has changed my life for the better. No more amoebic dysentery, diarrhea, or typhoid fever that had always threatened. Now I am healthy and happy. People have started calling met to get information on how they can get a Filter. I am now a salesperson for the Minova group, and I make enough money to support myself.”
“My name is Mama Maajabu Lusenge. I’m 22 years old. I was raped three years ago. After that, all my friends left me and I found myself isolated and completely alone. The trauma caused me a severe psychotic break and depression. Working with other mothers in the BioSand filter workshop has helped me integrate myself into the community again. It also helped me reconstruct my ambition to pursue school again. Now I can afford to pay the school fee and I’m feeling more confident and independent. I will be starting school next year. To be able to go back to school, I created a saving system from BioSand Filter sales. I put small amounts of money in a box from each sale, which within a year will be enough to pay for the next school year.”
“My name is MAMA VERONIQUE. I am a mother of eight children, all at school age. I was raped by the Congolese National Army, and abandoned by my husband after the rape. I have no income, and my children are not able to attend school. Three of my eight children suffer from severe malnutrition, and all my children have at some point suffered from waterborne diseases, in particular cholera and typhoid. After I was trained in the making of BioSand Filters and have a little income, my family’s health has improved dramatically. My kids are healthy and we have a little food on the table. I’m also planning on sending them back to school next year.”
“I am MAMA BAGAYA FURAHA. I am a farmer taking care of my nine children plus my sister’s three orphans. My sister and her husband were killed during the war. It is a great burden, which at most times I’m unable to bear. I wasn’t able to secure enough food for the family. The kids were sick all the time from drinking bad water. After I brought a BioSand Filter home, all the kids are healthy, and there are no cases of cholera or typhoid at our house. The two kids I am able to send to school are now attending more regularly because they are healthy and happy. Because the weather in Minova is very hot. I came up with a strategy to sell cool clean water. I pack water in small plastic bags that I sell for 100 Congolese francs (10 cents) at the bus stop t0 the passengers. Now I make about $4 a day to buy food for my kids. I’m planning on getting a cooler powered with solar panels to make my own ice instead of buying it for 2$. This means that I will be making 6$ a day instead of $4. I will then be able to send all my kids to school instead of just two.”
“My name is NYIRANDEZE. I am a father of a family of four children. After I started using the BioSand filter I feel strong and healthy again. Before, I wasn’t able to work. I wasn’t able to provide for my family, which was very hard on my wife and kids. I remained in bed for a very long time. I suffered from typhoid and was taking meds for months with no positive results. I even started to think I was bewitched. After the installation of a BioSand Filter at my house and I started taking my meds with clean water, I started to feel better. It is a miracle.”
“My name is AMINATHA. I am a mother of six children. I wasn’t able to get a BioSand Filter for my family. However, I was able to use the neighboring family’s filter. We only use the Filter for drinking water, and I’m seeing big improvement in my family's health. I solicited the group of moms who build the Filters to make a Filter for me, for which I’m paying $2 a week. I already paid $30 and am almost done paying for the filter. The Filter has been a great investment because now my family is healthy, and we use clean water for all our household activities. not just drinking water. I was hospitalized several times for typhoid fever (at least eight times in a five-month interval). After I started drinking filtered water, I’m feeling great.”
“I am JEAN-MARIE. We are a couple with HIV couple who, before the BioSand filter, were always expecting death at any moment. Today we live a normal life and are in good health. We are not afraid of opportunistic diseases any more. With the medication we have and clean drinking water, we live a better life. One month after the use of the Filter coupled with vigorous hygiene, we feel better and our strength is restored. We have named the Filter “Miracle Filter”.
“My name is MWENGESHIALI. I am 58 years old and a widow. Since I started drinking clean water, I feel healthier, stronger, and younger. Even my skin has become smoother because I wash my skin with clean water without microbes attacking my skin. Before, I had no energy or strength to do my daily shores my strength has returned and I now work normally. I think if you drink clean water you will not age quickly.”
We are always looking for people of good will, volunteers, and opportunities to tell our story! We love invitations to Yearly Meetings (we think we are a best-kept secret, and would like to change that!) Call me! 360 918-3642
Support Releasing Ministry Alliance
Donate to help build this awesome website and co-create the human network.
Donate to Releasing Ministry Alliance
via our fiscal sponsor, the Shalom Center