Hailey Hollowell and Lindsey Reed
This week is Drinking Water Week, a time of the year where we can reflect on the importance of water and show gratitude to the workers who make it accessible to us. Drinking Water Week has been hosted annually since 1988 by the American Water Works Association with the support of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This year, the theme is “There When You Need It”, which feels especially relevant given the global public health crisis we are all currently going through together. As we all now know, hand-washing is one of the strongest and first lines of...more
Dear Well Aware Community,
The growing coronavirus pandemic provides a great challenge for us as a global society. Thousands of businesses, individuals, nonprofits, and communities are feeling the devastation this virus has caused and are anxious about what’s to come.
Here at Well Aware, we are feeling the effects as well.
Our biggest fundraising and awareness campaign of the year, Shower Strike, is coming up during a time where personal hygiene and handwashing is of the utmost importance.
We will not ask our Shower Strike participants to stop showering. There are...more
Guest Post By Derek Mellencamp, General Manager and CMO of Aquasana
November 19th is recognized by the United Nations as “World Toilet Day,” a day dedicated to the eradication of the global sanitation crisis and fulfilling the world population’s human right to access to sanitation. World Toilet Day was started by philanthropist Jack Sim from Singapore after recognizing the need for conversation and a global organization focused on the sanitation crisis.
The sanitation crisis affects about 4.2 billion people worldwide-- more than half the world’s population. Over 673 million people still practice open defecation worldwide, and...more
It’s been nearly a year and a half since our team was in Kithoka, Kenya, drilling a brand new clean water well for the community of nearly 10,000 people. Upon return to this site exactly a year later, the impact that clean water has had on the community can be seen almost everywhere you look. Crops are flourishing, food scarcity issues have diminished, and the quality of life for those in Kithoka has greatly improved almost overnight. But, as nice as it might be to relish in these accomplishments, it is important to recognize and reflect on what life was like for those before the well was...more
This past few months have been incredibly productive and inspiring for the Well Aware team. In late June, our U.S.-based team headed to East Africa to join our local team for our annual “Rafiki” trip.
We learned, we laughed, we cried, and we grew. We drilled a new well (our highest-yielding to date). We continued to develop partnerships with incredible communities and organizations. We conducted important analyses to inform future project planning. And, we even scoped out the possibilities of expanding our work into a new country.more
It’s almost Father’s Day! This weekend, some of us will honor our fathers, husbands, or sons, while others will spend the day celebrating special people who've had a significant fatherly role in their lives. But, have you ever wondered about the lives of fathers on a different side of the world than your own? So, in honor of Father’s Day, Well Aware takes you to the field in Kenya to show you how the lives of fathers and families are transformed through clean water.more
It’s that time of year already. Families, college students, and teachers around the world are happily wrapping up the school year, anxiously awaiting that final bell. Yet, while many are understandably ready for a break from school, children in East Africa and beyond are hoping for another hour in the classroom.
Lack of clean water is one of the biggest factors preventing learning opportunities. That means for children in water-scarce areas, access to clean water can make or break their education. Imagine missing hours of school each day so that you can hike miles to a river to...more
In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day, celebrated on Tuesday, May 28th, let’s take a look at why the menstrual hygiene conversation is important for everyone, not just women, and why it requires a central role when looking at improving gender equality and education equality.
Just recently, a film bout this very subject, called Period. End of Sentence, won the 2019 Oscar for documentary short subject. This 26-minute film aims to end the stigma of menstruation and to break taboos surrounding menstruation.more
Classrooms to Clean Water is one of our newest programs that engages with the leaders of tomorrow and empower students to make a tangible difference in the world. Throughout the year, we partner with classrooms across the world to teach youth about global water issues and provide them with activities that demonstrate their own power to create change in the world.
A year-long or semester-long partnership with classes usually culminates with our annual Shower Strike each April, where students can put what...more
The 2019 Shower Shrike is just wrapping up. Every April, through just one powerful fundraising week, we are able to empower many more lives and make a great change in the world.
This year, we are transforming thousands of lives by implementing a life-saving water system for the Mirera Primary School, one of the most populous schools in Kenya. Mirera is one of the communities featured in this year’s Shower Shrike. This means that funds raised will go towards providing clean water to the students at the school.more
Earth Day is right around the corner. People around the globe are coming together to bring about environmental awareness, advocacy, and sustainable change. It’s the season of movement and motivation. But, what many people don’t know is the impact water has on our beloved planet. As humans, we will feel the biggest impact of climate change through changes in water patterns. These water patterns include shrinking glaciers, increased droughts and floods, and changes in precipitation. It’s easy to get lost in convenience and consumption and forget that Earth doesn’t have an everlasting...more
Water has an innate connection to our life and health, that much is clear. It is the only nutrient humans cannot live without for more than a few days. Due to water’s importance for survival, it is critical we understand the role it plays in human health. Today, we hear a lot about dehydration and the symptoms that follow, such as migraines, constipation, and fatigue. These issues can be harmful or scary, but in communities without clean water, like our partner communities in East Africa, dehydration can be fatal.
The biggest impacts these communities face are diarrheal diseases and...more
This past November, our team was in Kenya conducting site visits and implementing two new drills. Thanks to the support of our partner, Moolah Marketing, and our 2018 Shower Strikers, we had the honor of working with the community of Salaita, to bring sustainable clean water to more than 1,500 people that live there (including 200 primary school students).
Salaita was previously using an unreliable, dysfunctional borehole. When it failed them, they had to walk long and far just to retrieve a single...more
It’s International Women’s Day, a day to not only reflect and commemorate the incredible progress and strengths of women all over the globe but to speak up about the work we still have left to do in the fight for women's rights and gender equality in general. Stand with us on International Women’s Day, and every day, as we commit to improving women’s lives and amplifying their voices through clean water.
Now, you may ask, “how does water have anything to do with women?” The task of providing water for households falls...more
Kyle Gehman & Erinn Wright
2018 has just come to a close, signaling another successful year for the Well Aware team. Since our start in 2010, we have implemented projects in 59 communities with a 100% success rate and affected more than 245,000 lives across East Africa by bringing a sustainable source of clean water to their area.
With clean water, more kids have the time to get an education, risk of hunger and malnutrition decreases and drinking water is more readily available. However, one effect of access to clean water that is sometimes overlooked is sanitation.
Well Aware has become a phenomenal organization doing beautiful work through the support of a large, compassionate community of remarkable people. What began as a small group of young women with a kookie idea has grown into an industry leader in the clean water space. We are humbled by Well Aware’s impressive expansion, and, most importantly, we are deeply grateful for your efforts to support our increasing reach and impact.
In 2018, Well Aware implemented more water projects than any year past. We are also the very first nonprofit to use a new, ground-breaking...more
Alejandra Hinojosa & Erinn Wright
We are incredibly excited about Well Aware’s recently announced 2018 Global Impact Award Recipients who will be honored on December 1st at our Rockin’ In a Winter Waterland holiday concert. After much time, research, and consideration, we are proud to present our Global Impact Award to Dr. Auma Obama and our Ambassador of the Year Award to The Patt Christopher Project. These extraordinary people have gone above and beyond to enact positive global change. Their dedication to humanitarian issues is...more
Alejandra Hinajosa & Erinn Wright
We have some exciting updates- Well Aware’s Austin team is back in Kenya through November 17th! Our last trip in June was so fulfilling and productive, we were itching to get back into the field as soon possible. Now, after countless hours of planning, mapping, and organizing, we are finally back in Kenya, implementing two new drills in the communities of Miumbuni (Musalaani) and Salaita.
Right now, the team is on site in Miumbuni, which is home to about 3,000 people and is mainly populated with older adults and children, who attend the nearby Misuuni primary school. Previously,...more
It’s been an interesting couple of days in Austin this week. I woke up to a text from my mom letting me know there was a boil notice for our Austin city water. At 5am, I didn’t think too much of it, really… I proceeded with my morning routine - stumbling to the coffee pot and clumsily washing the dishes from the night before - and, I just added in an extra step. I wrangled my largest pot out of the cabinet, filled it with water, and lit the burner to boil it.
I announced to my 6 year-old, after she slithered out of bed an hour later, that we couldn’t drink the water from the faucet...more
With World Water Week in the rearview mirror but still on our minds, it’s important to review why there was a global decision to dedicate a week to this issue. Many of us were taught in school that water was undoubtedly a renewable resource, but in today’s world, that claim is now being contested. As our supply of groundwater steadily decreases and our natural waters (both fresh and salt) continue to be polluted, the prospect of ever-flowing clean water is one that shrinks more and more each year. This is why the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), created the Stockholm Water...more
Erinn Wright & Sarah Evans
If you know us well, you’ve probably heard us talk about The Well Aware Village (once, or twice or 500 times). The Village is our devoted community of monthly or yearly recurring donors. These inspiring supporters are truly the backbone of our clean water projects. They provide the sustainable funding we need to forecast more projects, scale impact, and improve budgeting.
The Village began in 2012 with only a handful of loyal supporters. It grew to 150 members as of August 2018, with members...more
Sarah Evans and Erinn Wright, Forbes Nonprofit Council
One of the most challenging milestones for all new nonprofits is developing a reliable source of funding that can be easily maintained and relatively consistent from month to month. A recurring donor program boosts your nonprofit brand, makes budgeting easier and has a remarkable financial return on team member efforts -- if it’s designed and nurtured properly.
At our nonprofit, we launched “The Village” in 2012 as our sustainable giving program. What began as a handful of loyal friends has since grown to more than 150 members, with monthly gifts ranging from $10 to $1,000. As of...more
Every June, Well Aware travels to east Africa with a special group of people. We call them “Rafikis” (Swahili for friends). These wonderful people are all Well Aware Village Members or long time donors and have taken this big step to join our journey overseas to see, first-hand, the work that we do.
The Rafiki trips are very memorable, often exhausting, and always inspiring. Each new traveler plays a role in our work while we are there, and the friendships made in the field are infinite.
This past trip was no different, and it was probably our most...more
Alejandra Hinojosa, Communications
This past weekend we had the pleasure of attending the 8th Annual Crawfish Boil Bonanza on The Lake. The event is always open to the public with the purchase of a ticket, but this year it brought together family and friends for a memorable day taking place at the Marina on Scenic Drive in Austin, Texas.
Our gracious host Bo Rodman was welcoming and hospitable enough to provide Crawfish, beverages, live music, lake activities, local celebrities, and tons of friends. We’re overjoyed to have been able to meet and socialize with so many great people throughout the...more
Karen Kavete, Community Manager
Samoyan is a ten-year- old boy from Salaita, a village in Kenya. He is enrolled at Salaita Primary School, the only school in this region. This school is excited to soon house a borehole which will serve as the main water source for the entire village!
Samoyan and his friends are excited about the upcoming borehole, because it will bring clean and safe drinking water to their community. Samoyan describes what the village endures during drought season - no drinking water for the entire period. Samoyan hopes that this borehole would prove sustainable and not just seasonal, so that the...more
Mary Knothe, Communications
This year, Well Aware hosted our most successful Shower Strike to date. We were able to raise over 30% more than our last record year with our 240 Shower Strikers and 49 teams. The dedication of these amazing people allowed us to impact the lives of more than 24,000 people. Starting today, 24,000 more people in our world will gain access to clean, drinkable water.
One Shower Striker in particular added more than just a few drops in the bucket for our campaign. Mary Ellen Fine made a wave this Shower Strike and became the very first recipient of Well Aware’s Ripple Effect...more
Sarah Evans, Forbes Councils
Before we were able to do our first project as a nonprofit, we had this pesky problem of actually having the funds to do the work. We knew we needed a fundraiser, and we knew we needed to get creative since we had no money to host an event.
We work in clean water, so we decided we would go on a “Shower Strike.” There were 12 of us, and we each announced to our networks on social media that we would no longer be taking showers until we each raised $1,000 for our first water well. We raised $25,000 in one week, so we decided to make this quirky campaign an annual event.
Mary Knothe, Communications
I woke up this morning at 8am. My hair, feeling greasy from a previous day’s work, needed cleaning. So, I turned on the shower faucet and cranked up the heat, as I prefer my showers on the “scorching” side. I let the hot water run as I washed my hair, scrubbed my body, and shaved my legs.
Showering, for me, is meditative. In those ten minutes, I love the feeling of sensing my skin go from greasy to silky smooth. As I let the water hit my face, washing off my exfoliating soap, I feel as though I could stay there forever.more
Contrary to belief that kids dislike rain, the boys and girls from Kenya’s Semi-Arid region love the onset of rain. In actuality, both young and old live for rain in these regions, never attaching to it the notion of “bad weather”. I had the pleasure of visiting with primary school pupils during these short rains, here’s what they think:
Muema from class 2 at Misuuni Primary says:
We are excited to announce these three new members on our Well Aware Board or Directors. We look forward to what these new members will bring to the organization through their innovative and insightful participation to drive Well Aware’s growth and development as an award-winning nonprofit organization.
Mary Knothe, Communications
Not showering for a week sounds crazy, but what if your ability to resist a shower could help thousands of people on the other side of the world get access to clean water? Shower Strike is your way to get involved in Well Aware’s mission of implementing clean and safe drinking water to those who need it most.more
Mary Knothe, Communications
Celebrating International Women’s day is a tradition that dates back to 1909. The day originates from women fighting for better working conditions in the clothing industry, in return bringing needed attention to the women’s suffrage movement. In 1975, March 8th was chosen as the designated day to celebrate all women from all over the world (UN)! At Well Aware, commemorating this day is especially special and this International Women’s Day we invite you to celebrate with us!more
An update from Well Aware community manager, Karen Kavete:
Meet Mwende and her classmates. They are pupils of Kiliku primary school ECD class. I found them playing in the school field past their home time and I was curious of the reasons. After bribing them with a few photos and videos, we became best of friends bubbling away about their school.
These students come from Kikomo some 3-4km away from Kiliku primary. Although there are other schools nearby their parents chose the school because of guaranteed feeding program, good performance, dedicated teachers. When you dig deeper...more
The Super Bowl Ad that Blew up my Inbox: Well Aware CEO’s Response to the Water.org and Stella Artois Claims
I admit that I did not watch Super Bowl LII last night, but I did start receiving messages about one of the advertisements that played during the game shortly after it aired. I’ve followed the work of Water.org over the years and was aware of their partnership with Stella Artois, but their new campaign and messaging leave me with some questions and concerns (as it does with many of you, based on my inbox).
I’ll get right to it. There’s a lot that can be dissected and questioned, but I’ve listed the top inquiries about the...more
With a shy smile *Atieno approaches our tent quietly. Behind her are a couple more children all eager to see what the big trucks bring the community of Got Isimbo, in Ugunja, Kenya. We are here for drilling - a well in the making. The first for myself as well! I am as excited as the children watching stem after stem dash in and out of springs of muddy water.
We interact and I only learn little about their community, mostly because of language barrier. I ask about water and how they’ve been getting water. There’s a river nearby where the village sources its water. I ask about her...more
Kioko, a three-year-old boy in Misuuni, Machakos Kenya, enjoys a warm soda in the eastern heat. At the function, there was more soda than drinking water, probably owing to the high cost of bottled water and the scarcity of drinking water in the region. The nearest well is a couple kilometers away and does not serve the entire community... The situation gets worse: In homes where money is a problem, children are forced to take tea instead of water throughout the day.more
Like many communities in Nyanza, the village of Ratta experiences severe water shortage. Although there are some community boreholes, the amount of water is not sufficient to meet the community’s need. According to the Assistant Director of the Ministry of Water Kisumu county; water is a county disaster and all efforts are geared towards establishing reliable water sources - efforts yet to bear their desired fruits. A recurrence often repeated by “boda boda” operators whose livelihood depends on supplying water to homes far from water points. On a bad day like today, the water kiosk is dry...more
If not for the wrong placement of tissue paper, I definitely would have missed it: A printed little strip in Arial black and neatly pasted on the toilet wall just above the toilet tank, it matches with the tiles on the wall so you cannot tell one from the other.
There is a green and a yellow pentagon sticker just below the flash handle, someone not keen would easily dismiss this for decoration; or perhaps the forgotten measuring marks of the plumber. The little strip explains the dots, completing the puzzle.
“Water is life, let’s conserve it” says the strip. This is the first...more
With your support, 2017 has been a record-setting year for Well Aware, and we are excited to announce our 2017 Year in Review. Explore our end of year review here to learn how Well Aware has grown in 2017. In the PDF download below, you will find a letter from Sarah, impact statistics, a project map, reviews of our work, and development highlights.
Here are a few of our most exciting accomplishments:
More than 185,000 cumulative lives impacted
81% of every dollar directly funded our projects
Expanded projects work into...
Laughter, music, dancing, celebration, and enough money raised to provide more than 6,000 people clean water for a decades to come- this year’s Rockin In A Winter Waterland event had it all.
On December 9th 2017, nearly 200 of Well Aware’s closest friends, family and supporters came together to celebrate the power of clean water to transform lives.
The second Rockin In A Winter Waterland Holiday Concert not only highlighted the work that Well Aware does to help solve the global water crisis, it acknowledged everyone that has joined them and helped step up to address this...more
An update from Well Aware community manager, Karen Kavete:
We are standing next to a 16,000-liter storage tank at Kaliini primary school watching in awe as the head teacher, Mr. Muthini supervises a contractor to replace his wooden door for a more secure metal door. All this is in preparation for the UV water treatment system that Well Aware has promised to install in the school. James, Mike and I discuss with the school leadership on how to harvest more water to last them for a year. The region has only one reliable rain season falling between October and November, we learn from Mr....more
I’m an unlikely executive director of a nonprofit organization that provides clean water to east Africa. Even though I’m still paying off my debt to law school, I’m not exactly using that degree. Nor am I using my experience in financial compliance or lobbying. But, I am doing something that changed my life and continues to change the lives of many others on the other side of the world.
When I was working in corporate America, I had a cocky confidence about my knowledge of global issues. After all, I clerked with the EPA and listened to NPR. I knew there...more
I’m relaxing in the London airport reflecting on my trip to kenya. This gave me the opportunity to really show the difference clean water makes.
After being a typical tourist and seeing some baby elephants, we visited Tania. An orphanage that is on the top of the hills that overlooks all of the city and mountains.
Tania has an amazing story of two teachers about to retire that started an orphanage for the mentally handicapped, physically disabled, and forgotten. They make every child feel at home and every one was excited to meet us. They care for 100 kids at ranging from...more
Well Aware awards, ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, star Mary Elizabeth Ellis and 'National Geographic Creative' Photographer and Filmmaker, Greg Davis, Global Impact Awards.
Well Aware announced that Hollywood actress and producer, Mary Elizabeth Ellis and award-winning photographer and filmmaker, Greg Davis will be the first to receive the Well Aware Global Impact Award and Ambassador of the Year Award at the Well Aware holiday event on December 9th at Impact Hub Austin on Monroe Ave.
“Both Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Greg Davis have contributed so much to the success of our organization and our ability to provide clean water for life for more than 180,000 people, ” says Sarah Evans, CEO and Founder of Well Aware. “As an advocate for us, Ellis has impacted...more
Well Aware had the pleasure of hosting our 2nd annual fall benefit golf tournament to help those who are in need of clean water. Located in the beautiful Hills of Lakeway Golf Course, over 40 tournament participants, including a whole host of volunteers and sponsors helped to make the tournament truly an evening to remember.
We would like to give our most sincere thank you to all the board members who tirelessly gave their time, effort, and heart to helping make this evening successful, and we would like to specially thank Paul Markovich for going above and beyond in assisting every...more
From Grace to Grass.
Written by Well Aware community manager, Karen Kavete:
Meet Mrs. Nzioka the deputy head teacher at Mutaki primary school. Mutaki is approximately 110 km East of Nairobi. Mutaki owes its history to the late Mutaki, who on his death bed donated a small portion of his land (roughly less than 40x80 acre) to the community to build a public school. This was to reduce the 20 km daily return trip covered by children on bare feet to the nearest local school - Imale.
The first and only classroom existing as till 2014 was constructed...more
On the evening of August 28th, three days after Harvey’s landfall on Texas, I was sitting at my computer watching the devastation unfold. My mind was spinning about what the Well Aware team could possibly do to help, and my heart hurt knowing friends and team members were in danger. Then, an email from Toyota showed up in my inbox.
Our friends at Toyota were reaching out to all of their Mothers of Invention to find out what we could do for the victims of the...more
Partner Company Raises $12K Through Water Walk with Well Aware - Summary of the Event from Affinipay
I came across Well Aware and the Water Walk Event during my personal research online. When I read more on the Water Walk, I couldn't stop thinking of how an event like that would make a positive impact on my company and on the world. So, through a leap of faith, I asked to put on the event for my company, and I was fortunate enough to receive such a welcoming "yes" by my coworkers.
The lead-up to the Water Walk was just as fun as the event itself. We were able to get people excited about donating through educational emails, trivia questions and departmental competition. I was...more
"...I believe that we can make a difference together"
Rather than being showered with gifts, Andy has decided to donate his birthday to African communities in need by creating a fundraiser on Facebook. He's set a goal of reaching $1,000 which seems quite feasible - in the first day alone managed to reach almost $200!
If you'd like to give the gift of clean water, follow the link to Andy's fundraiser:
Because of the amazing hard work of our #ShowerStriker participants, their incredible communities, and our generous donors, ShowerStrike 2017surpassed our goal of $175,000. We are now able to provide life saving, clean water to 17,722 people.
Thank you for everything that you have done to help make that possible!
And special big shoutout and heartfelt thank you to all of our #ShowerStrike individuals who went above and beyond, surpassing their $1,000 fundraising goals:
All donations will be matched today only.
Because of the generosity of our matching sponsors, every dollar you donate today- up to $20,000- will be doubled. That means your $20 donation becomes $40, your $50 donation becomes $100--- twice as many people, twice as many lives will be impacted because of you.
"While the students are raising money for Well Aware, they are also learning about places they have never heard of and people and circumstances they don’t know exist."
This time of year, we share a lot of stories about the lives we impact through our wells and water systems in East Africa.
Today, we also want to share the story of one of our beloved Shower Strikers, Dawn Scholtens, a 2nd Grade Teacher who has been leading the "Sunset Stinkers" on a Shower Strike every year for the past 5 years. When Dawn registered this year, she shared the...more
A: They will be featured at the Women in the World Summit this week at Lincoln Center in NYC!
You might have already heard that our very own Sarah Evans, Founder and Executive Director of Well Aware, was selected to be a Toyota Mother of Invention. This award honors the remarkable women who actively contribute to the community and the world through innovation, entrepreneurship, and...more
Thank you so much for participating in our first annual golf tournament and benefit at The Hills of Lakeway Country Club !
The event was a great success! We had 20 amazing teams,10 generous sponsors, and dozens of volunteers join us on Monday, together raising over $18,000! That is enough money to fund a new water system that will bring clean water to 2,500 people for decades to come.
Want to learn more about Well Aware and the work that we do? Click the links below to learn...more
Thank you so much for participating in Amplify Austin and donating to Well Aware! We are so honored that you chose to support the work that Well Aware does to build wells and water systems in Africa. Because of our generous partnership with GloFish®, we have been able to double every dollar you donated- meaning that even more life-saving clean water is available to those who need it most.
This year, we are excited to build new water systems in Olmoran, Kenya, as well as expand into Tanzania- and your support...more
Amplify Austin is an online marketplace that connects with and inspires the people of Austin to make a difference in their community by connecting them with the causes they're passionate about. On March 2-3, they will host their annual Amplify Austin Day to celebrate and support nonprofits in Central Texas.
Well Aware has been selected to participate in this year's Amplify Austin! You can schedule your gift now, or join us on the 2nd of March, and donations will be...more
Dear Well Aware Community,
Happy early Valentine's Day! This is a great time of year to remember how important love is in our lives. The love we get to see every day from you and from the communities with whom we partner is enough to be the fuel that powers our work. And, we're honored to be the machine you trust to change lives with clean water.
This February is our most busy February yet. Because you helped us have such an effective year last year, we're off to an aggressive start in the field in Kenya. There are eight active projects right now, and there will be many more to...more
Dear Well Aware Community,
We are thrilled to announce that we are partnering with The Hills of Lakeway Country Club to host our first annual golf tournament and benefit on Monday, March 6th. This event is guaranteed to be a great way to de-stress, get outdoors, hang out with great folks, and help bring clean water for life to more people, all at the same time. By joining our event, you will be part of funding an entire water system!
Well Aware's Brand Partners are companies whom are donating a percentage of profits from a product or service to our clean water systems. With a growing number of businesses supporting us in this way, these partners are making a big difference for our fundraising.
We are proud to announce our first new Brand Partner of 2017 - Sarah Sherwood, Resilience and Life Coach. She is committed to help...more
Dear Well Aware Supporters!
With just a couple clicks, you can help us become Culture Map's new charity partner for 2017 and win a $10,000 grant for awareness and marketing. We have already made the 8 finalists, and only now need your vote! It just takes a click here. We can each vote every day (once/day) until January 18th.
As you know, as a nonprofit, we keep our...more
Hello, Well Aware Community!
The Holidays are a time of giving, and we have some very special ways to provide more clean water to new communities through Well Aware. And, thanks to an amazing donor, all donations will be matched through December 31st!
Please check out all of the fun and inspirational ways you can give back this season below. Your gift - in any form and any amount - means a new life for people who need only a source of clean water to thrive.
Want to learn more about our water systems? Check out our work on our website...more
With your support, 2016 has been a record-setting year for Well Aware, and we are excited to announce our 2016 Year in Review. Explore our end of year review here to learn how Well Aware has grown in 2016. In the PDF download below, you will find a letter from Sarah, impact statistics, a project map, reviews of our work, and development highlights.
Here are a few of our most exciting accomplishments:
More than 145,000 cumulative lives impacted
81% of every dollar directly funded our projects
Sarah named a Toyota Mother of...
Hello, Well Aware Community,
Happy Holidays! We love this time of the year. It's very busy in the Well Aware office finishing up project work and diving into our final fundraising campaign of the year. And there's so much to be grateful for as we look back on 2016. We're excited to share these updates with you!
One of the most exciting updates - Thanks to a very generous donor, all donations will be matched through the end of the year. All contributions will mean twice the clean water for those who have none. You can...more
“Well Aware World” directed by Brad Feeser was chosen to premier in the Documentary Short film category at the Lone Star Film Festival. The short film was made in partnership with Well Aware, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Austin, Texas that provides innovative and sustainable solutions to water scarcity and contamination in Africa.
The Lone Star Film Festival (LSFF) in Sundance Square, an annual film event in North Texas will be held November 10 – 13, 2016. “Well Aware World” will be shown on November 10 to festival attendees for the first public screening of the...more
Nichole Wallace w/ The Chronicle of Philanthropy
originally posted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy here
Water Charity Drills Down to Get to Know Real Needs
When a friend recruited Sarah Evans to raise money to buy livestock for a village in Kenya, she did some research. She learned that unsafe drinking water was to blame for the deaths of residents’ goats and cows — and for other problems in the community.
"I proposed that we instead drill a water well," Ms. Evans says. Only one in seven boreholes in that...more
Welcome to the Fall edition of our Newsletter! We're excited to share upcoming events and supporter opportunities, as well as some truly appreciated recognitions for our work.
We are deeply thankful for the support you are providing through lasting access to clean water.
The Well Aware Team
Please join us at the Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth to view Well...more
It’s a wrap! Our annual Village Match Campaign ended last Friday, raising a total of $18,800 to provide an additional 1,880 people with clean water for decades.
We deeply appreciate our Village Members who tirelessly recruited friends and family to join the Village and expand our community of sustained donors. The Village Match Campaign increased village membership by 26 members, allowing Well Aware to scale impact and enhance project efficiency. Our Village Members provide monthly, continuous donations that help us plan, budget, and implement more...more
Today begins the launch of our two week Village Match campaign - now's the time to join our Village and become a monthly donor!
What's the Village? The Village is comprised of monthly donors whose contributions and focused purpose help raise Well Aware to a new level with far greater reach.
By adding new Village Members, we can:
- Implement more water projects per year
- Strengthen infrastructure to scale impact
The Village Match is an annual campaign to grow our Village by adding new members. Starting September 19th, a generous donor is MATCHING all new member donations through the end of the month up to $10,000!
This year, we're asking our current Village Members to accept the challenge on our new platform, and help us expand our Village by inviting at least one new member.
We invite all new friends to join the Village now, during this special dollar matching opportunity. Simply visit our...more
On August 27th, Well Aware hosted a beautiful evening of music, film, photography, delicious food and good friends to raise funds and awareness for our clean water projects. With your support, we raised over $30,000 for clean water projects! You've helped us be able to provide more than 3,000 people with lasting water -- a foundation for their community dreams to come true. And, it was really fun!
More photos from the event will be available on our Facebook page soon, and you can also...more
A Trip Like Never Before: Kenya and the Art of H2O
It’s been just a few days since we returned from our most recent trip to Kenya. I flew away with a heavy heart, wistful to leave our communities behind yet again. The leaving doesn’t get easier, but, with every trip, it does become more meaningful, more empowering.
This trip, in particular, has been a journey I’m certain none of us will ever forget.
Ten years ago, I hadn’t an inkling I would find myself in this line of work, and I positively hadn’t any thoughts of being in Kenya constructing water wells...more
Question: What do a rock band, a cinematographer, a National Geographic Creative photographer, a former motorcycle PR agent and water wells all have in common?
Answer: They will all be in Kenya with Well Aware next week!
One of the most challenging things about our work is connecting the generous people who contribute with the people whose lives you are forever a part of in Kenya. Photos and stories help to bridge this gap, but there is so much more. We wish we could show you the sounds, the struggle, the joy, and the hard work that the Well Aware team does to...more
Welcome one of our newest members to the Well Aware Advisory Council
Jake Ryan is the Founder of the Venice Consulting Group, a web + mobile application development firm. VCG is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Episerver Certified Partner as well as an iOS Developer Partner and Appcelerator Partner. As a technology leader, he has 20 years experience helping start-ups on SaaS/Internet/Mobile product development, Fortune 1000's on cloud-based applications for commerce, mobile and content management. Jake loves helping clients set up systems and processes for continuous improvement. And...more
The Well Aware team is deeply honored to announce that Austin's "music scene darling" joins our Advisory Council. Erin Ivey has been a long-standing supporter of our clean water efforts and awareness, and she is now serving as an advisor to our Executive Director on matters of community awareness, event strategy, project management and constituent cultivation. We are overjoyed to have Erin's support and ambassadorship for our cause and the communities we serve.
"I've been hoping to recruit Erin's support in a more official capacity for quite some time. I respect and admire her...more
Whiskey for Water Hosts Kentucky Derby Deluxe
May 11, 2016
Our favorite guys over at Whiskey for Water are back – this time with a derby-themed event full of mint juleps, fancy hats, seersucker suits, and generous donors.
So what is Whiskey for Water? Well the name pretty much says it all. Whiskey for Water provides the whiskey, and Well Aware provides the water. Each year, the Whiskey for Water (W4W) team hosts several events to raise funds for Well Aware. Each event has a variety of drinks for guests to sip on including a featured whiskey, generously donated from a...more
Because of your support and generosity, we will be able to bring water to another 14,238 people (at least). We raised more than $143,000 last week, and this is the most we have ever raised through Shower Strike. You helped make it happen!
Anyone can still donate to Shower Strike through May 31st. Every $10 means clean water for someone for decades.
Many of you have asked us what's next. Well (pun intended), we depart...more
Dear Friends of Well Aware,
First and foremost, thank you. Because of your support, we are already having a great year replete with exciting new projects and new partnerships.
We're also pretty fired up about our annual Shower Strike campaign. Registration is now open, and we begin in just four days!
Just weeks after we wrap up Shower Strike 2016, we head back to Kenya to use those funds to implement new clean water projects. We're bringing along some special guests...more
Welcome to the Shower Strike, Devin!
“I’m participating in Well Aware’s Shower Strike because I know our efforts are life changing for the thousands of people who will have clean water,” said Street. “For these people we are partnering with, a clean drink of water is a luxury. A shower isn't even an option. I think it's the least I can do to skip a couple showers so that others can have a chance in life.”
Every $10 raised during Shower Strike provides clean water to a person for 20 to 30 years. A team that raises $1,000 is giving the gift of...more
Star of The Grinder and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Joins International #ShowerStrike for Clean Water
click image to playMary Elizabeth Ellis has joined our global water strike and is vowing not to take a shower until enough funds are raised to build water systems for impoverished communities in Kenya through Well Aware!
As if that alone weren't awesome enough, Mary Elizabeth has also donated her talent, creativity and time by starring in film-writer and director Mo...more
Some of you were expecting it, weren't you? We LOVE April Fools Day and have ourselves a giggle with a Shower Strike joke every year. Thank you for accepting our shenanigans and for loving us anyway.
Now that we have your attention, we do want to encourage you to join the many, many others (except Kanye) who have already signed up for Shower Strike 2016.
Register now and get a head start on your super...more
#ShowerStrike Registration is NOW OPEN!
Today is World Water Day, and that means that registration for Shower Strike 2016 is now open! Join hundreds of others and go on Shower Strike to raise awareness and funds for life-saving clean water for those who have none. #ShowerStrike2016 will begin on Friday April 22, 2016 and will end on Saturday April 30, 2016. It's incredibly easy. Simply...more
Kung Fu Saloon
On the night of Tuesday, March 1st, Austinites came out to Kung Fu Saloon at 510 Rio Grande Ave to enjoy themselves while supporting a local nonprofit, Well Aware.
Well Aware is a 501(c)3 organization, headquartered out of Austin. The organization’s night at Kung Fu Saloon was well-deserved as every day, they work to provide innovative and sustainable solutions to water scarcity and contamination in Africa. They fund and personally implement life-saving systems to drive economic development and build self-sufficient communities in places like Ndabibi, Kenya.
20,000 people in...more
Michael & Travis reached out to Well Aware in 2015 and expressed interest in turning their Ironman 70.3 race into a fundraiser to help bring clean water for all. We are so thankful to Michael & Travis for their dedication. Read below to learn more about them!
Water is life. Pure and simple. It is something that we as Americans can often take for granted. However, the reality is that water is necessary for a thriving community, and it remains a true scarcity in many parts of the world. We, who have been blessed with so much, should seek to give back. One...more
Dear Valued Village Members,
As a valued member of this special group, we want you to be the first to know how Well Aware is taking a big new step. As we have maintained a 100% project success rate and gained awareness and momentum, we are presented with an opportunity that could transform the water charity sector.
In 2014, we launched our R3 Initiative to revive communities that were abandoned with broken water wells. Most of the water systems we see in Kenya are nonfunctioning, and we wanted to do something about it. We have now rehabilitated 11 water wells and given life...more
“It’s not going to be a ‘glam’ trip,” Sarah cautioned.
“That’s perfect – I’m not a ‘glam’ person,” I replied.
And so I crashed a working team trip to Kenya to review current projects, evaluate possible new projects, and meet with very important contacts, both new and long-term. After all, what better way to see what really happened with my donor dollar than to go with the working team to Kenya?
Dangerous? I am more likely to be shot by a toddler in Texas than kidnapped in Kenya! Disease? Multiple vaccinations, two very sore arms, and an entire Walgreens in my luggage –...more
The Well Aware team is excited to announce Paul Markovich, a new member of the Well Aware Board. Paul's professional experience, and personal passion will help propel Well Aware to achieve our bold 2016 goals.
Paul Markovich is a retired energy executive with 35 years of experience. His most recent position was President of Residential Services for Green Mountain Energy Company where he was responsible for providing clean, renewable electricity to over four hundred thousand residential customers nationwide. During his 7 years in the position the residential customer base more than...more
Well Aware Newsletter
Is this really winter? Here in Austin, it's hard to tell. What we do know for certain is that we are buzzing with excitement for the new year. Having just returned from the field, our projects team is ready to get to work on many new community water projects!
This edition of our newsletter also includes info on new partnerships and team members. Read below for our exciting updates and ways you can be a bigger part of our mission.
We are so grateful to you for providing the support and momentum for an incredible 2016. We are going to transform so...more
We met our $12,500 match in December because of you. Now, our team is in Kenya turning it into clean water!
To everyone who donated to Well Aware in the month of December, please accept our heartfelt gratitude. You helped us reach our goal, and it was matched 100%. We are also deeply grateful to Chairty Owl, Wendy Robertson and Jason Barnes for providing this match and making 2015 our best year yet!
Representatives from our Projects Team are now in Kenya reviewing completed work, identifying new projects and formalizing exciting partnerships.more
It’s pretty sexy these days to rally around the clean water for all movement. There has been a lot of money invested in marketing and “awareness.”
The increase in awareness for clean water where it's so desperately needed seems like progress toward ending this crisis. But this will not become an actual "movement," but merely a branding technique - unless the companies involved in making this change know what change is necessary, who is implementing it, and how it's being done (Moore, 2013).
The Hard Water Truth
We received incredible news last night. All donations to Well Aware through the end of the year will be matched! Thanks to our giving partner, CharityOwl, your gift in any amount will provide clean and lasting water to twice the number of people. Every $10 will provide water to two people for life.
Thank you, CharityOwl!...more
Wow. What an incredible night! We had a packed house for our 2015 Holiday Concert, and we raised a lot of awareness and funding for our clean water work next year!
We rarely use the word "epic", but that's what it was. The Saints of Valory were perfection, and the Austin High School Marching Band was phenomenal. When they played the song "Kids" together... there are no words. We were blown away.
We will post more photos to our...more
Wow, we are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support for this event! We sold out a week before the party, and we are so excited for Saturday,
For those of you who have tickets, we can't wait to see you! To our friends who weren't able to RSVP this time- we promise we will have another amazing event in the very near future. We have lots of exciting things in store for 2016, and, we will keep you posted on every opportunity we have to be involved!
In the mean time, please consider being a part of our Holiday Giving. We have so many options to provide clean water to someone who...more
I had the honor of meeting the remarkable men of The Saints of Valory after I had just seen them perform for a group of 30 or so guests in an intimate music venue in Austin. I was dazzled by them. As well as being just incredibly talented musicians, they are brilliant performers.
So, I was a little starstruck. But, I quickly realized they were approachable, kind and really interesting. Turns out, these impressive young men come from all over- Canada, Brazil, France and the US. Gavin, Stephen and Godfrey all had parents who were...more
What if you could turn whiskey into water? Well you can, and we’re not talking about some hellish Puritan form of alchemy.
Whiskey for Water™ is a 501(c)(3) corporation based in Austin, Texas benefiting Well Aware, an organization that provides innovative and sustainable solutions to water scarcity in Africa. Their mission is to drive economic development and to build self-sufficient communities. Our goal is to help make that possible. The idea is simple: let’s sip delicious whiskey, so that someone can consistently drink clean water.
W4W hosts several events annually. At each...more
There's a chill in the air. You're stocking your firewood. Half of your shopping is already complete...well, maybe not. But, the Holidays are almost here, and the spirit of the season is palpable in the humid but frosty air.
This season is about full hearts and family, kindness and gratitude, goodwill and giving. It's thrilling to find something special for someone you care about, and to watch as they joyfully discover your thoughtfulness and generosity. It's also pretty fun to receive a present you've had on your own wish list.
What we've found, though, is that there's nothing...more
National Geographic Creative Photographer, Greg Davis, shadowed the Work of Well Aware earlier this year in Kenya. Now, those images are featured on their website for Nat Geo editorials.
Davis returned fully inspired by the impact that Well Aware is making in east Africa. He generously committed to donating 20% of the proceeds from online sales from this gallery to Well Aware's clean water systems, and one of his signature pieces will be available at...more
Just hearing the word “Haiti” triggers emotion. Haiti’s pain has been seen and felt across continents and cultures. Even in the midst of more recent tragedy, this island still beckons our attention and our sympathy.
Images of the destruction and despair still appear on the television, online, and in our minds- piles of rubble and waste, children sobbing in the streets in tattered clothing, and droves of missionaries and aid workers sifting through the debris and serving lines of despondent people food and medical treatment.
This is the story of Haiti we have learned and that...more
For the past two weeks, we have been inviting everyone we know to join our Village. A very special couple offered to match all new memberships we added through yesterday at midnight for the rest of the year and up to $10,000!
The response was amazing. We more than doubled our Village members- from 45 to 96- and we exceeded our donations goal and earned the entire match.
This is huge news for our work. We are so incredibly grateful to Don and Tish Stricklin for providing the...more
Click HERE for Sarah's video message!
Ndabibi, Kenya: Completed Project
There are 20,000 people in Ndabibi and surrounding areas who once accessed a water well that has broken down. The community was devastated, and the schools, clinic, fish ponds and agriculture that they built and maintained were all but abandoned without water.
We met the community of Ndabibi in 2013 and listened to stories about the struggles of childbirth they were having without a functioning...more
We are excited to announce that a wonderful donor will be matching all new Village memberships. Anyone who joins The Village by September 30th (or increases their current Village donation) will be matched through the end of the year up to $10,000.
Village members commit to a recurring monthly donation to support Well Aware's growth and impact. The Village raises Well Aware to a new level every year with far greater reach. Membership in The Village includes VIP treatment...more
We are truly honored to be among a distinguished few to receive this endorsement from GreatNonprofits. This the third year in a row that our team has achieved this recognition, and we are so very grateful to the many supporters and partners who have made this feat possible.more
I’m writing to you personally today to let you know about an adventure and a challenge I will embark on tomorrow. This is a new endeavor for me and for Well Aware, the organization I started almost a decade ago. And I want you- the most valued support of this work- to know more about it.
In the past five and a half years, since we have been implementing water systems in Kenya, we have become a very strong group. With incredible efforts from many, some blood, lots of sweat, and a few tears along the way (ok, maybe a lot of tears), we have created an organization...more
Welcome to the Well Aware family, Kaela Champlin!
Kaela has a dual masters degree in international arid and semi-arid land studies from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and Texas Tech University, where she conducted research on examining the role of community based water management programs for rural livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental conservation from Texas Tech University and experience working in environmental law and research as a legal assistant and coordinating community garden projects in Austin. Kaela is passionate about...more
Well Aware has launched an awareness campaign, and we want you to join us! A new crowd-funding platform has selected us for their pilot campaign. It's called the #WaterThx challenge, and we are asking people to participate by interacting- by posting photos and/or videos of themselves holding a sign "I am thankful for clean water" with the hashtag #WaterThx.
Then, just share the campaign and your participation with your social media network. That's it! All of the social media activity for our campaign aggregates on our campaign page.
Happy posting, and thank you so much for...more
The Well Aware team returned from Kenya last week. It was the most enlightening and inspiring trip I have been on yet- rivaling only the trip on which I witnessed our first water well being drilled five years ago.
Each time we go back- to review our completed water projects and scout new work- is thrilling. Every day is an adventure, an education and a challenge. We see communities with Well Aware water systems that have experienced a metamorphosis- resulting from clean water- that makes them now almost unrecognizable. Schoolhouses are packed with healthy children, acres of crops are...more
By Sandi Vojta Brewmaster and co-owner of Miner Brewing Company
Here is a note from our friends at the Miner Brewery in Hill City South Dakota. Learn more at http://www.minerbrewing.com
I first learned of Well Aware while researching clean water projects in East Africa and I knew immediately that Well Aware’s purpose and values aligned with mine, both on a personal and professional level. I served a short time in Arusha, Tanzania and understand firsthand the dire need for reliable and clean water. Also, water is critical for my livelihood as a brewer and winemaker. I respect and appreciate every clean...more
National Geographic Creative Photographer, Greg Davis, traveled with Well Aware to Kenya last month to capture our work. He returned fully inspired by the impact we are making there and has generously committed to donating 20% of the proceeds from online sales from this gallery directly to Well Aware's clean water systems.
We are also hosting an exhibition of this work in Austin in August, and you can find details on that event...more
Shower Strike Complete, Next Up- Kenya
Whew, what ride! We just completed another successful Shower Strike fundraiser, and we are overflowing with gratitude for everyone who made it a great campaign this year.
I was so impressed with our group of Shower Strikers this year. Striker ages ranged from 3 years to 75 years, and locations stretched from South Dakota to San Francisco. Our largest team, The Woodlands High School Volleyball team, included 50 young women who were serious (and...more
AUSTIN—Well Aware, the Austin-based nonprofit that builds water systems for impoverished
communities in Africa, will launch its Shower Strike April 18. The global annual fundraiser recruits
volunteers to stop showering for one week or until they raise at least $1,000 toward life-saving clean
water. Teams and individuals can sign up at
“Now that the world’s attention is focused on Kenya for heartbreaking reasons, we have the opportunity
to show how easy it can be to help strengthen communities vulnerable to violence,” said Sarah Evans,
Hello SOTGC community,
As the executive director of a nonprofit, it’s part of my job to identify effective ways to raise money. Who am I kidding, it’s pretty much all of my job. And, it’s no cakewalk.
Asking for money is tough. A colleague told me yesterday that he’s more terrified of fundraising than major surgery. This is an almost ubiquitous fear. As a result of our fierce fundraising phobias, new ways of making “the ask” using online technologies are popping up everywhere.
The most popular and effective of the new online fundraising options is “crowdfunding”...more
I can hardly believe that we are approaching our annual Shower Strike. Next month will mark the seventh time a group of brave volunteers have eschewed showering to raise funds and awareness for clean water. Our very first Shower Strike in 2009 raised $25,000 in one week. Last year, we raised $135,000. Over the past seven years, through Shower Strike alone, we have provided clean water to more that 40,000 people.
Our Shower Strike event is exhilarating for me. Once a teeny experimental awareness campaign of 12 friends and family (love you guys!), this event is now a phenomenon,...more
When I was first asked to write this guest post, my reaction was basically fear. I am a second grade teacher, and don't think of myself as a writer and I want people to be excited about Shower Strike. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt it important to pass along the importance of Shower Strike AND set an example for my students about doing what you don't think you can do.
We all, at times, have helped others in need; whether through an angel tree, mission work, Goodwill, or some other organization. But when the act is done, we go on our way, not knowing if it made a...more
This morning I sat at my laptop, staring at the keyboard, wondering how much of my heart do I reveal in my note. Because when i say, “this is my dream job” it is the absolute truth. It is funny how in May of 2008 I was still trying to figure how I fit into this world but by June 2008 I had a better understanding, a snapshot of what I was built to do. Everyday my passion for the calling on my life drives me to serve the world’s most vulnerable, to change the piece of the world I have been given for the better and to love aggressively so that peace follows me. There are so many people to...more
Same house, same environment, same routine for twenty five years. It’s time to get up and go. To explore other communities, to thrive with another organization. So that’s exactly what I did. Don’t get me wrong, I loved living in Orlando, Florida my entire life but I was ready to take a chance. Something about Austin was calling my name. Being an outdoor person, vegetarian and music lover all jived right. But there was something bigger calling my name, something that was driving me full force to leave everything I was used to. That something was Well Aware an organization that provides...more
Many of you have seen our 2014 review letter. If you haven’t had a chance to read what Well Aware was able to do last year, you can check it out here. So, I won’t go into detail about the 74,000 people we have been able to provide water to so far… or that 100% of our water systems have been successes when only about 40% of other systems survive.
But, I would like to point out the number that reads $9.13. For a couple of reason. First, for just $9.13, on average, we are now able to provide water...more
In just three months, Shower Strike will descend on a friend or family member near you. You can't beat them, so join them!
What's a Shower Strike?
Once a year, volunteers across the globe unite and vow not to shower until they have each raised at least $1,000 toward life-saving water systems in Africa. Our nationally-recognized fundraiser enables anyone who wants to help Well Aware’s cause make a big impact in a short time.
You can already sign up for the Shower Strike here today! Please also help us spread the...more
It is with the most heartfelt gratitude that we write to you today to let you know how thrilled we are that you are a part of our water-giving family. Without you, we would not have been able to provide clean and lasting water to another 39,000 people this year.
With your help this year, Well Aware is now able to provide clean and lasting water to one person for decades for just $9.13. That's less than half of the industry average. AND, 100% of our water systems work and provide big impact (the industry average is 40%). Thank you for making this possible.
With our increased...more
Fa La La Laa, La La La La La!
Maybe you aren't as excited for the holiday season as I am, but you should be! This season is the perfect opportunity to recognize what we have and share that with others! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we have several fun opportunities for you to spread love, joy, and life-saving water this year!more
Giving Tuesday marks the kick off of a month of generosity and joy! December is a time for us all to give back to our favorite causes and encourage our network to do the same. For Well Aware, your gift today, and the rest of this month, will have huge impact for our clean water work. What does that mean? Check out what your investment in Well Aware can do based on our current organizational stats:more
Please join us for a very special evening with the African Children's Choir!
We are so excited to host eighteen amazing children from Uganda who will perform a selection of holiday music as a benefit for Well Aware's clean water projects in 2015. Come and enjoy hor d'oeurvres, craft some holiday cards for our community partners in Kenya, and snap a photo of you and your friends at our fun photo station! This is truly going to be a beautiful holiday event that you will not want to skip!
We are so honored to collaborate with this phenomenal group and absolutely can not wait...more
Originally Posted by Sarah Evans on Stilettos on the Glass Cieling
In prepping for my latest trip to Kenya, I read through several “travel tips” blogs and articles. I rather enjoy international flights and travel, but, as I approach my 40th lap around the sun, making things a little more comfortable is becoming significantly more important.
I found much of this advice tremendously helpful. I considered myself an old pro at travel, but the younger generations have identified some pretty helpful shortcuts.
But, what I realized after this last trip was this: something even more beneficial for international travelers was to be aware of...more
Originally Posted by Matthew Champion on The Austinot
Next time you’re chugging a glass of water, consider that there are communities around the world without that ability, and be a little more grateful for that water.
We’re all guilty of it, taking everyday things for granted because they have such a normal presence in our lives. But Austin non-profit Well Aware has been working for eight years now to improve the lives of the impoverished, by bringing them something as basic as fresh, clean water.
Well Aware funds and implements clean water systems for impoverished communities in Africa. These systems are built to last and the...more
Originally Posted by Sarah Evans on Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling
Since I keep getting asked what I think of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, given my profession in providing water to places that have none, I thought this would be a great outlet to provide my answer.
My thoughts probably aren’t what you’re thinking. It’s great the ALSA stunt has more and more people talking about water scarcity and water related struggles (in their criticism of the ALS fundraiser), but the Ice Bucket Challenge has about as much to do with water waste as weeding your garden has to do with deforestation.
Those buckets of water aren’t as much as you...more
Be a Part of the Solution: Join the Village Today & Double Your Impact
The Village is vital to Well Aware's clean water mission, and we are excited to announce that Innovative Computing Systems has offered to match all new Village donations for the upcoming year. (Up to $6,000) Example: Join The Village for $50/month, which equates to $600/year. Our donor will match your year of donations at $600. But you must enroll by August 15th!
Why is the...more
Originally posted by Sarah Evans on Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling
I mentioned in a previous blog how much deeper my passion for clean water became after the birth of my daughter. But, I didn’t spend much time explaining that sentiment then and wanted to dedicate an entire post to it, since it’s so critical to my work – and so important that others understand this human disparity.
Water Here and Water There
It is so easy to take our conveniences for granted here in the US. And, why wouldn’t we? Having comfort in knowing that we have ready access to our basic necessities – even the poorest of us in this country – is a peace of mind...more
Well Aware has been bubbling over with activity and progress. Because of the incredible outpouring of support for Shower Strike in March, we raised over $135,000 for our life-saving clean water systems. Your contributions have allowed us to make incredible progress on multiple projects across Kenya.
The past months have also been filled with team training, further project planning and community building.
Water Systems Happening Now
Well Aware's teams are currently working on the implementation of nine projects across Kenya. Together, these projects will impact more...more
Originally posted by Sarah Evans on Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling
Having worked in nonprofit for almost eight years now, I’m soberly aware of some problems in this industry. Well Aware makes every effort to be accountable, transparent, and lean. But, not all charities make the same efforts.
Some nonprofits don’t put very much of your dollar toward the people they purport to serve; others aren’t funding the programs that their messaging claims but have instead a slightly (or completely) different agenda. And, some simply don’t have the infrastructure to support what they genuinely wish to accomplish.
All that said, there are still many...more
Originally posted by Sarah Evans on Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling
On World Water Day last month, many people took some time to recognize global water issues. Some attended events and possibly even thought about water conservation and the importance of water in their own daily lives. But there was a group of people in Austin, Texas, who recognized World Water Day by forgoing showers for a week to bring attention to, and raise funds for, clean water for people who have none.
We are inundated with statistics about lack of clean water in places like Africa, and the saturation of “water charity” work in the philanthropic media space has become a...more
Originally posted by Sarah Evans on Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling
I was never a proponent of the “follow your heart” adage, and I grew up believing that giving in to your emotions was a weakness. As a twenty-something, I had full resolve that I would be a successful attorney, or something comparable in prestige, and be one of those career women who dictated memos, answered important calls, and chugged a triple espresso my assistant made me, all while driving my fancy car to some important event. But now, at 38, I earn a very modest salary working to provide water to impoverished communities in Africa. I spend a lot of time on long bumpy roads, I...more
Shower Strikers from many parts of the world joined together and vowed not to shower to raise funds for clean water for those who have none. Launching on World Water Day, March 22nd, more that 150 people said they are going to stop showering until they raised their goal amounts to build clean water systems in rural Kenya.
This was Well Aware's 6th annual Shower Strike fundraiser, and the team of courageous volunteers collectively raised more than $135,000 in just two weeks. With this funding, Well Aware will be able to construct three new water systems, serving more than 9,000...more
I have watched this video several times now and I cry every time I watch it, not because it is sad, but because I can feel the hope and future that clean water brings to those who have none. It's difficult to convey the emotion everyone feels when communities finally have clean water. But, photojournalist, Brett Buchanan, has done a beautiful job creating a visual story for us with this video he made. And I ask, please watch the entire video to the end, I know you'll be glad you did.
Clean water for life is not just a buzz phrase for Well Aware, we take it seriously. We know...more
We are thrilled to announce that a very special donor will contribute $10,000 TODAY towards Shower Strike if we can collectively raise $10,000 before midnight tonight. That could mean at least $20,000 raised in one day for clean water! If you were going to contribute or ask for donations, now is the time!
Total as of this morning...more
What a great night! We were so happy to see everyone turn up to learn more about Well Aware and the Shower Strike, and we were inspired by everyone's enthusiasm to meet our goal this week! Shower Strike is so important because the more people who know about this cause, then more impact we can make. Shower Strike is a very effective way to introduce people to, or further educate them on, the challenges others face without access to clean water. We can also make such a big difference with the high number of small to mid-sized donations (and the big ones!) through a viral fundraiser like...more
We're getting ready for our 6th annual Shower Strike Launch Party & World Water Day event in Austin next week. EVERYONE is welcome, as we celebrate changing communities in Africa with access to clean water and kick off another Shower Strike to raise funds and awareness for this cause. Admission is free.
Complimentary cuisine and beverages
Beer by Thirsty Planet Brewing Company
We are thrilled to announce the water systems that we will make a reality with your support of Shower Strike 2014. All of us here at Well Aware are deeply honored to be working in these communities and with these exceptional partners.
Welcome to the Well Aware family, Emining, Exrock and Nyakio. See how these projects will transform communities below, and please help us spread the word about Shower Strike and how much impact we can make together!
If you have...more
It's that time of year again... when people everywhere will stop showering to raise funds and awareness for clean water for those who have none!
The sixth annual Shower Strike will launch on United Nations World Water Day, March 22, 2014. Teams and individuals who want participate can sign up online at www.showerstrike.org.
According to Sarah Evans, executive director of Well Aware, the Shower Strike is a ready-made way to give back that equates the first world of plentiful water for all things, to the life-and-death water situation in...more
We're so proud of Bob Shuler and so grateful for his sacrifice for the lives of others! Watch Bob's interview that aired on KTBC FOX Austin.
Read more about Bob's challenge and story below and click here to donate to his campaign.
Bob Shuler will compete in six iron distance triathlons on six continents in 2014 in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record and spark global interest in his...more
Our team returned from Mithini, Kenya last week, and we were overjoyed by the progress they have made there! We installed a water well there two years ago, and they look like a different community today.
When we first arrived in Mithini in 2011, we found a small shack on the dirt with nine sick orphans. The makeshift orphanage was also surrounded by a community devastated by lack of clean water, and everyone in the area was drinking dirty water from collection on the side of the hill. All of the children were sick with ring worm, and the majority had malaria or typhoid.
The Well Aware team was able to visit one of our completed water wells in Ndatani, Kenya yesterday, and it was a great time! We were able to tour the school again and assess all of their amazing progress since their water well was completed last Summer. Ndatani is our first reverse osmosis purification project, and the team there is thriving with their new technology.
The primary and secondary schools in Ndatani are all healthy now, and they already have greater attendance. They are also growing beautiful crops of kale and tomatoes for their lunches.
We are so proud of the...more
The Well Aware team is in Kenya now overseeing the implementation of a community water well in Ndabibi, Kenya that will impact more than 20,000 people. In partnership with the Austin Cosmopolitan Rotary Club, the team of scientists and community experts have worked with this amazing community to structure a community water system that will not only impact a record number of people but will also last decades.
The team arrived last week to supervise the drilling that went better and more quickly than expected, and the pump test was conducted over the weekend. While we are still...more
We had to share a letter that we received from Gladys, age 8, in Kenya. She writes,
I live in a village called Karera and we do not have water, the only borehole is broken down. I ask Santa Claus to help us repair the borehole since sometimes we don't go to school to fetch water. We also do not have clean clothes."
Gladys' village is on our list of projects to complete next year. With your support, we will bring clean water to her and the 2,000 other people in her community that will last for decades. Gladys will be able to attend school every day, wear...more
“I didn’t know it would become something I would devote my life to,” Evans says.
But that first trip to Kenya changed everything.
“When I was on the ground and met the people, and saw what incredible impact and transformation it was for these people to go from having to drink contaminated, dirty water every day—and walking kilometers to get it—to having plentiful clean water come out of a faucet, getting to witness that and be a part of it transformed me as well.”
Evans adds that she felt a lot of pain when she was in Kenya that first time.
“It’s hard to be a part...more
Well Aware has just announced our new R3 Initiative to rehab existing, non-operational wells in Africa. Since 60% of wells that other groups have installed don't work, we're initiating a program to recycle abandoned equipment, renew water systems, and revitalize communities.
R3: Recycle, Restore, Revitalize
With cost-saving methods including recycling what is already there,the average cost of one of these systems will be...more
Well Aware's field manager & dear friend, Mike Mutuku, is in town for events and meetings planned around our Fall activities and 2014 project planning. We are so honored to host him here (as he is usually hosting us in Kenya), and it's already been a very busy few days.
We first met Mike in January, 2010, when he was our dedicated driver & chaperone on our first trip to Kenya to implement our very first water well. Mike has since become fully committed to our organization and devotes most of his time to our work in his home country.
He arrived on Thursday and will...more
As we make plans to expand our presence in east Africa, we set to mapping all of the projects we have already completed. It's been a great exercise to look back on our work throughout Kenya, and reflect on how we have evolved and the incredible education we have received from our partner communities.
Thank you to everyone who has helped us build our foundation of sustainable water infrastructure.
To read more about each of our projects, check out our projects page.more
TheTop-Rated GreatNonprofits award is based on positive online reviews, and Well Aware was named one of the first recipients yesterday. We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.
The Top-Rated Nonprofit award is based on the large number of positive reviews that Well Aware received – reviews written by volunteers, donors and clients. People posted their personal experience with the nonprofit. For example, one person wrote, “Well Aware is the only nonprofit I've worked with where I...more
Maria Shriver has featured an essay written by Well Aware co-founder and Executive Director, Sarah Evans, about what fuels her passion and drive to provide others with clean and lasting water for life and the sacrifices she has made to further this work.
Maria Shriver's website and work are driven by her belief that all of us have the have the ability to be what she calls Architects of Change - people who see a problem in their own life or community around them, then step out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to create the solution. She chose...more
We invite you to join us on the journey of a lifetime in August 2014. You can travel for a cause with Well Aware and experience our sustainable clean water projects, volunteer with the local communities, and see wildlife like you have never dreamed. JB Journeys has combining meaningful work in rural Kenya with incredible safari adventures in our 2014 "voluntourism" experience.
Space is limited and reservations must me made this month. Email Barbara: email@example.com
Thanks to our amazing supporters, Well Aware met our triple match challenge in less than two weeks, so now an additional $15,000 will be provided for our clean water projects in Africa.
Please Know that our gratitude runs deep - we truly can't do what we do without your support.
Thank you again to our incredible match donors, Sami Cassis & Lorraine Thirion.
Well Aware has a full slate of events this fall. Be on the lookout for upcoming announcements and dates. We look forward to seeing you!more