Well Aware: From water, springs life.
It was a hot summer evening in 2008 in Austin, TX and former lawyer, Sarah Evans, was sitting on her living room floor with a group of close friends. She had just returned from her first trip to Kenya where she visited a small village whose residents were suffering from a lack of access to clean water. She knew she needed to raise enough money to build a new well, but she didn’t know where to start. That was until one of her friends suggested they all stop taking showers until they raised the funds. Since the average American shower uses close to 20 gallons of water, this seemed like the perfect idea to get people’s attention, spread awareness and raise money all at the same time. It was a huge success – and funded that very first well for the community. Now known as Shower Strike, this quirky campaign went from an out-there idea to Well Aware’s biggest annual fundraiser, held every April.
Since that evening in 2008, Well Aware has grown to an incredibly successful nonprofit now with 13 staff in the U.S. and in Kenya, over 114 water projects built, and more than 350,000 people who have gained lasting clean water. Its mission: to fund, implement, and maintain sustainable clean water systems that drive economic development and empower communities in East Africa.
At the time of its creation, Well Aware joined an already crowded sector of organizations all trying to provide clean water around the world. However, the average success rate for water projects in Africa was, and still is, 40%. Well Aware set out to do things differently. Unlike other water charities that use blueprints to construct clean water systems, Well Aware applies a unique, community- focused approach. By utilizing existing resources and technical experts on the ground, the team ensures long-term prosperity of all its water projects and continues to maintain a 100% success rate. The Well Beyond app by Well Aware, recognized as a Fast Company’s World Changing Idea, is the first and only maintenance and diagnostics app for ensuring lasting clean water projects. By allowing community members to diagnose, prevent, and solve issues on their own, the Well Beyond app lengthens the lifespan of water systems—resulting in significant community savings of time and money.
With this approach, Well Aware is setting the standard for efficiency, innovation, and sustainability in the water aid sector. Its lasting clean water systems become an anchor for community prosperity and trigger a ripple effect of impact that spans future generations: improving health, education, gender equality, agriculture, economic development, and overall growth and stability.
To learn more and join Well Aware in making a lasting clean water impact, visit wellawareworld.org. You can sign up for the newsletter, make a life-changing donation, start a fundraiser, join Shower Strike, and help spread awareness of the need for sustainable clean water solutions. Every $15 provides 1 person with clean water for life.
The original article is found in the printed July copy of Stroll Magazine.