What brings us all together today is the power of water. Water changes everything. Time and time again it is proven that access to clean water and sanitation makes the greatest difference in the lives of people that need it the most. Blue Planet Network is working tirelessly to help communities rebound from serious disease and socio-economic setbacks related to contaminated water and ineffective hygiene habits. We thank you so much for joining our team.
Still, 780 million people around the world are without access to clean water. Women and children suffer disproportionally. Collectively, they spend 200 million hours each day hiking long distances, only to lug back water that is contaminated more often than not. The question becomes, "How do we bring water to more people, more efficiently?"
Blue Planet Network has researched the global water crisis, listened to the needs of communities and has acted by building a collective action network. Together we can make the greatest impact. Blue Planet Network works by bringing the global water, sanitation and hygiene sector together as a transparent, close knit community focused on the longevity of water projects. Our global technology platform empowers our 109 members, funders and implementers alike, with the tools to plan, track and monitor projects. Blue Planet Network now hosts 1,900 water and sanitation programs that benefit over 1,500,000 people. Specifically, we would like to share the sustainable results of our SMS Text Monitoring tools and collaborative Peer Review service.
Pure Water for the World
Since 2009, Pure Water for the World (PWW) has partnered with Blue Planet Network to increase the impact of their thirteen water projects, six in Haiti and seven in Honduras. PWW uses Blue Planet Network’s tools and services to gain best practices within the water sector shared by other members of the network. They also showcase their projects to global partners and interested funders using a comprehensive and attractive dashboard, one of the features of Blue Planet Network’s platform.
In 2012, PWW submitted two water project plans for Peer Review to Blue Planet Network. Through a collaborative online process, including many questions from a panel of 4–6 members, and thorough responses by PWW, both project plans were approved. By participating in Peer Review, Blue Planet Network members help each other plan high-quality programs designed for sustainability. One such program is PWW's water project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti that helped 1,000 children gain access to clean drinking water by installing water filters in 16 schools. These children are now attending school regularly and living healthier lives, free of water-related diseases.
Palmyra is appreciated by local and state governments for its pioneering efforts in water conservation and rural development across India. Palmyra tracks and monitors ten of its water and sanitation projects on Blue Planet Network, totaling nearly $2,938,000.
In 2012, Palmyra launched a women-led water, sanitation and hygiene project to provide 250 rural villagers with clean drinking water and latrines in the Karasanur Village of southern India. Palmyra submitted the project for Peer Review and received high ratings by five Blue Planet Network members with key experiences. Like PWW, this quality control process and sharing of best practices provides funders with a high level of investment confidence.
Palmyra also utilized Blue Planet Network’s SMS Text Monitoring service for its Karasanur Village project to report impact. Palmyra’s personnel texted 35 SMS status reports available on Blue Planet Network’s platform. Project stakeholders were able to easily follow the project’s milestones and celebrate its successes.
We are excited to continue offering even more innovative online services to scale the impact of water programs, and look to our supporters to help make that happen. We thank you for being part of our vision to increase the opportunities that sustainable clean water brings and to saying yes when people need us the most.
APLS focuses on improving health and sanitation facilities in the underserved health clinics in four very rural villages of Xepiun, Vipecbalam, Quechip and Tujolom in Ixil region of western Guatemala highlands. Previously, these clinics lacked basic sanitation infrastructure, forcing residents to rely on their rudimentary home resources. In developed nations, it is hard to imagine not being able to wash your hands before entering into a doctor's office. APLS built, for each clinic, the much needed hand-washing stations, septic systems, bathrooms and sidewalks --immensely helpful in the wet season, and often overlooked.
The impact of APLS projects has been huge. UNICEF estimates that diarrhea diseases are responsible for claiming the lives of 1.1 million children globally every year. According to Inter-American Development Bank, the water and sanitation sector in Guatemala is characterized by low coverage, poor quality services, and deteriorating physical assets related to a need for increased investments in basic infrastructures. Population growth, agricultural expansion, unevenly distributed services, and polluted sources have contributed to the inability of citizens to access adequate amounts of clean water and basic sanitation.
Agua Para La Salud is working to remedy these limitations, working directly with the rural communities in dire need to save lives and build healthier and brighter futures for thousands of families and children in the hardest to reach areas of Guatemala. Approximately 2,562 people now have access to the hand-washing stations and clean water thanks to APLS. APLS' health clinics are self-sustaining and community-led; taking the strain off the national hospitals in the nearby municipality of Nebaj.
Palmyra is quick to SMS update on its project profile page of construction stages, factors that may delay prospective work, impact evaluations, and more. Most recently Palmyra has submitted notes for the Sanitation Facility of Endiyur Village of Marakkanam Block of Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu, India. These maintenance indicators couldn't be more important.
Palmyra's project has done much more than build 25 new toilet facilities for Endiyur. Palmyra has held training programs to foster learning of key community personnel, namely women groups to become self-help groups for Endiyur for years to come. These self-help groups proved to Palmyra that intimate knowledge of the local environment can significantly contribute to sustainable water project designs. For example, local beneficiaries were able to identify Palmyra's original design for Endiyur as flawed. The first design did not include both showers and toilets. It was determined, however, that combining the two could help rid the community of water stagnation near homes which is a breeding place for mosquitos which often cause malaria and dengue fever in the area.
Women quickly became integral to the planning, design, construction, operation, allocation and management of funds for Endiyur's sanitation projects. The empowerment attained through these new leadership and managerial skills is directly responsible for women contributing more to the economy; further lifting the village out of poverty. This sanitation project is a true example of how safe drinking water and sanitation is at the center of health, happiness and opportunity.
Blue Planet Network is proud to feature Palmyra and its work across rural communities in southern India.
Since March 2012, Blue Planet Network has grown from 84 members working in 1,130 communities across 21 countries to 102 members working in 2,400 communities across 27 countries. In addition, Blue Planet Network has supported its members who have worked tirelessly to bring clean water to over 1,100,000 people in 2013, a significant increase from 825,000 people since early 2012.
One project we are celebrating is the successful pilot implementation of H2O Health Plus (H20+), a multi-use initiative that seeks to ameliorate the dire health and socio-economic situation confronting impoverished villagers in Uganda, especially women and girls. H20+ is demonstrating the unique power of sustainable safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation to provide measurable improvements in health (particularly childbirth safety, maternal health and early childhood health), health clinic capacity, economic vitality and education. Blue Planet Network leaders will train H20+ participants to use our peer-to-peer collaboration and online technology services. Namely H2O+ will use SMS reporting technology to send progress reports and ongoing project data to Blue Planet Network’s technology platform, which will serve as H20+’s planning, monitoring and evaluation system.
Thanks to our generous funders, H20+ was piloted in 2012 successfully in Pallisa, a district in Eastern Uganda. The project brought clean water to rural populations and improved capacity to underserved health clinics as well as communities. International Lifeline Fund, a member on Blue Planet Network's platform, drilled H20+'s borehole wells and have partnered with Africa Ahead to launch Community Health Clubs. Five borehole wells were constructed near health clinics providing 6,392 villagers living in these five communities with direct access to clean water. Additionally, those traveling from afar to these clinics have access to this clean water, which calculates 4,000 visitors per year per health clinic. Because of the strategic placement of the wells, the program will benefit 25,600 people annually. For more on H20+’s pilot results and the creators behind the model, see this washfunders.org article.
Thank you so much for believing in Blue Planet Network. Your donation directly funds the water projects of our NGO members. Blue Planet Network connects donors and local communities to peer reviewed and vetted NGO member water projects. Our NGO members manage, track, monitor, and share the progress of their water projects on our online platform and those results are shared with you- the movers and shakers of the activist community! This level of collaboration and result sharing is our most effective means of providing scalable and sustainable safe drinking water and sanitation to the 780 million people around the world that are still in need.
Here we would like to take a moment of your time and present two NGO members whose programs and visibility are supported by Blue Planet Network.
Blue Planet Network members
Global Women's Water Initiative, fondly known as GWWI, is an astounding example of a Blue Planet Network member that is changing the world - one woman at a time. Since 2008, GWWI has supported women leaders in implementing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions worldwide and has coordinated three impressive Women and Water Trainings that brought together 100 women from 11 countries in Africa and the United States. Participants left these programs equipped with all the skills necessary to successfully launch their own water service project from start to finish.
The photographs below, taken just 2 months ago, capture the community of Moyo, Uganda, building a rainwater-harvesting tank from the ground up. Graduates of GWWI's year-long training program lead the way and trained the villagers to do everything; from site planning and design, to mixing mortar and making bricks, to proudly laboring over the finishing details. Also included is routine need assessments, capacity training for residents and strategic networking that ensures environmental and financial sustainability. Here we see examples of how team work and determination form the bedrock of success. Teamwork in Moyo is not a tool, it's a way of life.
Tanzania Mission to the Poor and Disabled, otherwise known as PADI, is one of Blue Planet Network's founding members. PADI began its work in 1999 operating in the Ruvuma Region of Tanzania, before expanding to the 21 regions that make up the country. The organization is undertaking essential development activities such as safe water programs, malaria control, entrepreneurship skills training, agricultural and small business loans, and bringing awareness to the vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, orphaned, disabled, and poor. Like GWWI, sustainability plans and local know-how rank high.
The photos below make us feel as if we are invited to follow the students of St. Gertrude Primary School back to campus after gathering water from the closest pond, two miles away round trip. The water will to be used for baths and the evening meal. St. Gertrude is situated in the village of Ndelenyuma nestled in the Tanzanian highlands, 200km outside the nearest city of Songea. While the school provides what it can for the children, all 450 students take turns making the arduous trip for water two to three times a day. Indisputably, it is a proposed location for PADI to build a well. A sustainable water source will surely bring a look of relief to these children's faces. This clean and convenient water source will afford them the basic privileges they deserve. Soon they will be able to devote more time and energy to learning and the things they love most.
As always, Blue Planet Network will continue to keep you informed on our members work and the expanding services we offer to enhance water and sanitation programs worldwide. And mark your calendars for March 22nd, the 20th anniversary of World Water Day! If you are moved to participate further, an easy place to start is by simply sharing this page with a few friends, family members or colleagues. Thank you for making this all possible!
When you look at the facts, what women stand to gain from access to safe drinking water is priceless - to themselves, their families and the world economy at large. Did you know that worldwide, it is estimated that on a single day women can spend over 200 billion collective hours fetching water? And yes, you guessed it, if they are lugging water, they certainly aren't tending to their families and they aren't in school or running businesses.
But the fact that isn't as often profiled is that women aren't just the benefactors of clean water and sanitation, they are leaders that enable it rise to community discussion and action.
I'll take a moment here to talk about Community Water Center, a Blue Planet Network member, that is a prime example of the courageous work being done by women for woman.
Community Water Center (CWC) operating in San Joaquin Valley, California is bringing the public's attention to just how much work needs to be done in small towns, like Seville, CA, where the tap water system is laden with pesticides, nitrates from animal waste, and chemical fertilizers due to the heavy agricultural climate. The tap water is undrinkable and families resort to buying expensive bottle water - double the cost of tap water! Imagine needing bottled water to bathe, to wash clothes, to brush teeth? One might be tempted to drink from the tap once in a while to save a quick buck or some time otherwise spent lugging water jugs, however the negative health effects, such as thyroid disease, are just too risky.
Founded and directed by women, Community Water Center works to help families, such as Bertha Diaz's family of three women, featured here.
Bertha Diaz, 43, discusses her frustrations with Abigail Solis of CWC regarding the water contamination in her home in East Orosi, CA, while her daughters Maribel Sanchez, 24, and Jessica Sanchez, 19, look on. The need for clean water is an emergency to Bertha, who has a spinal cord injury. She works long hours picking oranges in fields nearby, carrying buckets full of the fruit, which hurts her back. In addition, every 3 days she has to buy jugs of Sparkletts water and carry them, which adds to the pain. Her feelings on the need for clean water were clear when she stated (via translator), “When I go to any important meeting and speak to people of power and they ignore me because they feel my situation isn’t an emergency, to me it’s like a person being ignored when they go to the emergency room because the hospital doesn’t think it’s that bad and the person ends up dying because they were ignored.” Photos taken by Sara Cozolino on November 1, 2012
The bottom line here: with your donation you have enabled powerful Blue Planet Network members, just like Community Water Center, to do more than they could ever dream of doing alone.
And the pleasant dream of my neighbors drinking tap water without fear, just like I am privledged to do, is one dream I personally would like to make reality.
Thank you so much.
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