Founded in 2010 as an Olympia, Washington-based non-profit organization, but with a prehistory going back to 2006, Friendly Water for the World’s 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 currently work in 12 countries, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as in North America. Outside of North America, most of our work is in poor, rural communities, communities often ignored by large charities, missions, aid organizations, or by their own governments. We work with everyone – of all races and religions – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, animist, or none at all. We often work together with groups who find themselves marginalized – widows, unemployed youth, individuals and families impacted by HIV, Batwa/pygmies in Africa, Dalits (“untouchables”) in India, native populations in Latin America, all sharing a vision of clean water as life. And in North America, we work with all people of good will who thirst for justice, and who want to make a real difference in people’s lives.

Friendly Water in Tanzania

Sophia Assenga, a volunteer coordinator with Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots youth organization in Tanzania, pleaded with Friendly Water for the World for the opportunity to attend a training in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Water conditions in northwest Tanzania are extremely poor, with a high incident of typhoid and dysentery. She traveled at her own expense and, upon returning, scheduled two trainings, in Mwanza and in the Mara region. Sophie contracted with a local welder to make steel molds, and we brought our moldmaker down from Uganda to personally train him.

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Friendly Water in Rwanda

Friendly Water for the World’s partner God in Us-Africa has been building a robust BioSand Water Filter network, radiating out from its headquarters in Gisenyi, Rwanda. They started by training a group of HIV-positive widows, by which they could ensure their own safe drinking, as well as earn much needed income. Word of the miracle of clean water spread, and soon local governments were coming to God in Us-Africa to ask them to train unemployed youth, and set up new groups, complete with business plans. In less than a year, there are now eleven fully functioning groups fabricating and selling BioSand Filters. The groups have names such as Unity, Vision of Life, Drink Clean Water, and Amahoro (“Peace” in Kinyarwanda). More than 600 Filters have already been sold, and the groups are doing demonstrations at fairs and in government offices. Plans are now being made to expand into “Friendly Water Soap” and in training youth to build ferro-cement rainwater catchment systems.

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Friendly Water in India

Water conditions in India have seriously deteriorated in the past 35 years. In the burgeoning cities, people will not use the tap water if they can help it. In the countryside, rivers are polluted, the water table in many places is dropping rapidly, and the rise in population has not been matched by enhanced sanitation infrastructure. The result is that 48% of India’s children are now malnourished, not necessarily as a result of lack of food, but because of the rise of endemic conditions that produce chronic dysentery.

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Friendly Water in Congo-DRC

Friendly Water for the World’s Congo-DRC Country Representative Eliphaz Bashilwango received a very small grant from the Washington State Environmental Health Association and transformed an entire community. He chose a Batwa/Pygmy village – Kahororo – close to the Burundi border.

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Friendly Water in Kenya

Isaac Atsaiya, Director of the Poor Child Project, was trained as a pastor. But it had always been his plan to return to his home community in western Kenya, not far from Eldoret. The area is surrounded by tea plantations, and is extremely poor. Their poverty is compounded by ongoing conflict, sometimes violent, among five tribes in the area. Isaac sees his Friendly Water for the World-related work as part of an ongoing peacebuilding effort. He has set up a workshop to build and sell BioSand Filters into the community, bringing in much needed income for fabricators representing different tribes, while at the same time ensuring better health in the community, especially among vulnerable children.

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Friendly Water in Uganda

At the Kigezi Orphans Home in far southwestern Uganda, 400 children lacked access to any clean drinking water. They regularly suffered from waterborne illnesses – typhoid, bacterial dysentery, Rotavirus, cryptosporidium, and, occasionally, cholera. Child mortality is very high, and there are no doctors. In September 2013, Friendly Water for the World’s Uganda Representative Richard Kyambadde installed two BioSand Water Filters and taught community sanitation and hygiene.

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Friendly Water in Burundi

Friendly Water for the World’s very first project was in Burundi – the “heart of Africa” – a country beset by the same kind of inter-ethnic violence experienced by Rwanda, its better known neighbor to the north. In Mutaho – a town of what had been 150,000 in central Burundi - virtually every home and building had been destroyed, with tens of thousands made homeless. 

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