Wells Bring Hope, West Africa
The lack of access to clean water is a severe problem in many countries. This situation results in millions of deaths throughout the world, as well as other severe health problems. This is especially pronounced in Niger, the poorest country in the world, which is located in West Africa. In Niger, 1 out of 7 children die before the age of five, 61% of rural villagers lack access to safe water, and many water sources that are used are contaminated. This lack of access directly results in the struggle many women and girls face, as they typically find water for the rest of their family. Many walk four to six miles every day, which leads to time that could be spent in school instead being spent on finding enough water to survive. Insufficient education and other issues lead to lasting effects for women and girls who live in Niger: 85% of women cannot read or write, 40% of girls are married before the age of 15, which is the highest rate of child marriage in the world, and women have on average seven children each, the highest fertility rate in the world.
Wells Bring Hope aims to solve these problems. “Wells Bring Hope's mission is to save lives with safe water. We drill wells in Niger, West Africa, the poorest country in the world. In addition to transforming the health of the village, these wells free women and girls from the burden of walking 4-6 miles a day in search of water. The girls are then able to go to school, and we provide microfinance training for the women who are then able to start small businesses,” Kate Cusimano, the Director of Operations and the only paid employee, said.
Since its founding in 2008, Wells Bring Hope has been very successful. Although the initial goal of Wells Bring Hope was only to drill five wells, the organization has now drilled 562 wells and has helped 565,934 people by providing access to clean water. This is likely in large part due to the financial model: 100% of every donation goes to a project, and each donation has an impact that is 5x the donation.
Although Wells Bring Hope has been very successful, Cusimano still sees ways to improve. “I wish we were better at telling our story and helping our donors to truly understand the transformative power of water. I think that we have a lot of room to grow in the social media department, and I'd like to see us make better use of those tools,” she said. This achievement of this goal will help Wells Bring Hope continue to provide Nigeriens access to clean water.
Volunteers are also crucial for Wells Bring Hope’s mission. “We are a volunteer-driven organization and are proud to have volunteers supporting us across the country. Most of our volunteer positions are "virtual" and can be done from anywhere. A list of our current openings can always be found on Volunteer Match,” Cusimano said. In addition to volunteering, you can support Wells Bring Hope’s mission and donate on their website: https://wellsbringhope.org/.