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Water for Empowerment Raises 25K to Support Global Initiatives for Women as Stakeholders for Clean Water


Last Saturday, Indianapolis community members gathered to raise over $25K during the second annual Water for Empowerment (W4E) fundraising event. Volunteer board members, community activists, and local business leaders enjoyed a Latin-infused evening in the recently renovated headquarters of event sponsor and environmental consulting firm, EnviroForensics Environmental Consultants]. W4E will donate all proceeds to a WaterAid Initiative that supports a micro-enterprises project in northern Nicaragua, in an area called the Mosquito Coast.

W4E volunteer event organizers timed the fundraiser just days before the UN’s annual World Water Day, celebrated around the globe this week. In the weeks leading up to World Water Day, and as part of the organization’s continuing effort, W4E maintains a very specific mission: To raise awareness of the clean water global crisis while raising life-saving funds and donating environmental expertise.

Guests enjoyed Jazz Kitchen artists Pavel Polanco & Direct Contact, including Raul Padro on drums and conga. A vibrant Nicaraguan market opened the event where guests shopped on handmade accessories, home goods, and more. Indianapolis local businesses, Artisan Foodworks and Crossroads Vintners, provided dinner and dessert. The night closed with Latin Dancing and a Two Deep Brewery After Party with DJ Camaron Electronico. The event was held at 825 N. Capitol Avenue in the Central Business District in the new EnviroForensics mixed-use headquarters built by Platinum Sponsor of the evening, Brandt Construction. Gold sponsors include IceMiller LLC and EnvisionAir.

Water for Empowerment is in the second year of a three-year partnership with WaterAid America to raise $90,000 for the micro-enterprise project. The 2017 goal is to raise $30,000 to $50,000 with matching dollars available after $40,000; Thus, the organization is continuing to fundraise to meet and exceed this goal.

Board President and Co-Founder Dawn Sandoe remarks, “The event was a blast and we were able to raise awareness within our community and gather with individuals who share a passion for empowering women and contributing to positive solutions that address the clean water global crisis. We have more to raise and will continue to inspire our local community to think more globally in order to meet our goals and help women and their communities.”

Images from the event can be viewed on the Water for Empowerment Facebook Page.

The founders and volunteers of Water for Empowerment seek to raise funds for global clean water initiatives that work to eliminate water-borne illnesses, provide access to clean water, and empower girls and women as agents for change within the family and community. The organization, along with the world community, has found that providing girls and women with education and opportunities for advancement can save whole communities. Water for Empowerment is most specifically focused on fundraising efforts and water technology support for projects that provide education and training for girls.

Today, 800,000 Nicaraguans struggle to survive without clean water and 2 million still need adequate sanitation. The WaterAid micro-enterprises program trains young women, ages 16 to 30, in simple and effective clean water technologies, in addition to hygiene education, water filtration, hand pump repair, and construction of water wells, water catchment tanks, and latrines. Trained as entrepreneurs and crew chiefs, young women become empowered as change agents for their communities with transformative effects.

Sandoe comments, “As we continue in 2017, we will keep the message and momentum for change and innovation at the forefront of our efforts. We’ll draw special attention to promoting the United Nations’ seventeen goals to eradicate poverty by 2030—most specifically ‘Goal #6’, which aims to improve clean water access and sanitation.”

W4E, along with a number of impactful organizations, contends that clean water projects lead to a path to safety, education, and empowerment for girls. The responsibility of girls worldwide to walk miles every day to fetch water keeps them out of the educational cycle and devalues them for the entirety of their lives.”

To help us reach our goal, donate now!

Progress of Rural Women

Read a fact sheet like Rural Women and the Millenium Goals and what becomes immediately apparent is that rural women around the world are shut out of education and employment opportunities because they are burdened with reproductive and household work (which includes obtaining water and fuel). When considering how an organization can help empower women, consider their daily activities first. Women from Sub-Saharan Africa collectively spend about 40 billion hours a year collecting water, according to UN’s “Women Watch” which created the fact sheet and incorporates every available data in order to chart progress toward achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals .

Information from sources like the UN and World Health Organization provide meaningful background for charitable organizations when making decisions about how to help in developing countries. The more one reads, the more compelling women become in the fight to stop world poverty and hunger, which includes infant mortality.

The facts are astonishing: Women make up two-thirds of the 796 million people that are illiterate. They are more active in the unpaid agricultural labor force worldwide than men; both unpaid and paid women workers make up 43% of the world’s agricultural labor force. Rural women typically work longer hours in the field than men; though men are more likely to be paid then women, and paid higher wages. Yet it’s widely believed that for every dollar paid to a woman, the yield for the family is the equivalent of four dollars. (This is not true with men’s earnings which yields less). Agricultural responsibilities, along with childcare, and collecting water and fuel, keep girls out of classrooms and women from earning money the family needs.

Importantly, a key factor in the survival of children past the age of five is a mother’s education. Chances for survival increase when a mother has a primary education; however children in Latin America and the Caribbean region die 3.1 times more than those of mothers with secondary or higher educations. Therefore. the welfare of children is proportionately linked to the amount of education mothers receive. That’s why the need to educate women has become the single most important goal in the fight to eradicate world poverty and hunger. Half a million children die every year, 1400 die every day, from diarrhea caused by unsafe water.

Hygiene education and nutritional counseling are necessary components in the health education of women. Sixty million children are born into homes every year without safe sanitation. Pre-natal care for rural women has increased by 55 to 66 percent worldwide versus 84 to 89 percent for women in urban areas. The gap between levels of improvement becomes glaring in the details when rural women fall behind urban women in improvements in regard to HIV education. Of 25 million people living with HIV in Sub Saharan Africa, young women account for 64 percent of all HIV infections. Rural areas account for more generalized epidemics than urban areas. (This effects agricultural productivity two-fold as HIV caregivers are also mostly women). Progress is significant, however, with women’s use of antiretrovairal therapy; 53% of the 6.6 million people receiving that form of therapy are women.

As research continues to reinforce that clean water for hygiene, nutrition and healthcare is what sustains life, clean water access will continue to be a primary focus for empowering women and in achieving the eight Millennium Goals. Important to note: A striking gap exists between rural and urban areas; in 2008, 141 million people living in urban areas were still drinking from unimproved water sources while 743 million people in rural areas were drinking from unimproved sources. These are staggering numbers in regard to clean water and access. As the world community continues to chart the progress of women in all areas of education and employment, charitable organizations must consider access to clean water and education of women when developing and allocating resources.

Puralytics Technology – Third World Applications

Water for Empowerment has been evaluating a variety of technologies to bring safe drinking water to developing countries. The Puralytics technology has the potential to provide clean water in a simple, straight forward, and cost effective manner to many communities that currently do not have clean water infrastructure. It has further potential application in emergency situations.

Puralytics uses a basic titanium catalyst technology concept. Titanium, as a metal, can act as an effective chemical catalyst under the correct conditions. Puralytics has developed a patented and proprietary nano-particle titanium catalytic product that allows titanium to temporarily capture the energy of sunlight and transfer it to a chemical form, the hydroxyl radical that is very reactive with biological organisms, many organic chemicals, and many metals. Note: The hydroxyl radical is much more reactive than the hydroxyl ion, which is present in all water systems.

The hydroxyl radical is very short lived so a large surface area is necessary to generate a sufficiently robust catalysis process to remove contaminants in a reasonable (3-4 hours) time frame. The secret to the Puralytics process is the nano-particle material that creates relatively large quantities of reactive hydroxyl radicals. Imagine a titanium dust so fine you cannot see the particles under even a strong microscope. A 10 nanometer-titanium particle is on the order of 50-100 titanium atoms in diameter.

The hydroxyl radical reacts with anything that can be oxidized or reduced, including breaking most carbon-carbon bonds, the main bonds in all organic compounds. It will break down most organic compounds to carbon dioxide and water. It will vigorously attack cell surfaces and so it is particularly effective against “organized” organic substances like virus, bacteria, prions, etc. It will convert many, but not all, metals into stable or precipitated hydroxides or oxides. It does not alter dissolved stable salts such a sodium chloride or magnesium sulfate, meaning it will not convert saline or brackish water into fresh water.

The applicability of this technology is based on the following:

  • It is stable and will not degrade
  • It uses near UV (ultraviolet) light which can be provided by sunlight or electrically powered LED systems
  • It is not easily “poisoned” due to its large surface area
  • It is particularly effective on pathogens
  • It is a passive process that can be used without moving parts
  • It can be used many times over without replenishment due to the large surface area
  • It does not produce a waste stream
  • Its use-life is on the order of years without maintenance.

Its disadvantages are:

  • It cannot be used to cleanup brackish or saline waters
  • Some metals are only partially treated
  • A few organic chemicals (but not microbes) are resistant
  • The nano-titanium process cannot be manufactured on-site or locally, and
  • It is new and so has not been tested in all possible water supply conditions, so some caution is prudent.

Water for Empowerment is eager to take this new technology and use it to empower local communities and local people to develop clean water systems to reduce disease, lower work time and effort (from hauling water), and support local business that depends on clean water.

Visit Puralytics YouTube Channel

We’re Partnering with WaterAid America

Water for Empowerment is partnering with WaterAid America to energize a new program in Nicaragua which develops micro-enterprises for young women living in poverty and without access to clean water and sanitation.

The pilot program has proven effective but it needs a caring sponsor. That’s why Water for Empowerment has committed to raising $90,000 ($30K each year for 3 years) to support and improve access to clean water and hygiene in peri-urban areas of Nicaragua. Specifically, the project will fund:

  • The improvement and disinfection of existing hand dug wells
  • The drilling of borehole wells
  • The promotion of household filters
  • Hygiene promotion
  • The installation of eco-friendly pour-flush toilets

We are very excited to be launching our new organization with this worthwhile project to empower young women in Nicaragua who need our help.

WaterStep: Two Days That Opened My Eyes

Special Guest Post by Kevin Sheward, Research Consultant for Water for Empowerment

Before I joined the Water for Empowerment team, I was probably very much like you. I had heard the statistics: Over 3 million people dying a year from water borne illnesses. 1,400 children die per day due to diarrheal diseases linked to unsafe water. 875 million people are living without access to safe drinking water. When I heard about Water for Empowerment, I felt inspired to learn more about what can be done to bring safe water to individuals who desperately need it.

Through Water for Empowerment, I had the opportunity to participate in a two-day training with WaterStep, a great organization working that brings safe water and proper hygiene practices to communities all around the world. WaterStep, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the leaders in a movement to help communities create their own safe-water.

During their two-day training I learned about the chlorination process and how it can be used to create safe drinking water for thousands of people. WaterStep has created a special chlorination unit and it was remarkably simple to construct and maintain. Myself and the other participants were able to practice building a chlorination unit that can be deployed all around the world. With a handful of table salt, a battery and a little ingenuity, WaterStep has found a low cost way to provide reliably safe water for thousands of people at a time.

I also learned that safe water, while extremely important, is only part of the solution to ending water borne illnesses. That is why the other half of the WaterStep training is dedicated to learning about how water borne diseases are transferred and the simple ways we can prevent them. The training we received is just like the training development workers teach in areas all around the world.

Before I joined the effort to help bring safe water around the world, it seemed like an impossible task. I was one person and didn’t know how I could possibly get involved and be a part of the solution. What I discovered is that solutions to this problem can be inexpensive and that there are many ways to participate. Whether it is joining a WaterStep trip and installing a chlorination unit, or donating old shoes to help raise funds for their work, there are many great ways to be a part of the solution. WaterStep is just one great organization that is making a difference, there are many others than are in need of our time, gifts, and talents. The first step is to get informed and find your place.

WFE Update

This first year of our board has been dedicated to investigation of opportunities for us to train in development work and water technologies. We are developing ourselves as we develop our mission. To that end, some of us have completed either pump repair or water hygiene training– assembling and operating a chlorine generator that uses common salt as a water disinfectant at WaterStep in Louisville, KY. WaterStep trains volunteers, charities like us, as well as stakeholders on the ground, people with an investment in their own survival.They are also addressing Disaster Relief.

Our mission is not to offer services ourselves but to support organizations on the ground who have access to populations in need of clean water, sustainable farming, and training and education of girls and women as the water keepers. Our model for helping in sustainability is B2B. Here is an organization in Niger in desperate need.

We have concluded that we cannot go to the Sahel region of Africa because of the political climate and extreme danger. That’s why we are investigating the opportunity to work with other organizations in areas and countries with some infrastructure where development work can operate more openly. Meanwhile, we will seek help, raise money, and help develop resources for inaccessible populations like those of the Azawak served by AmmanImman as we continue to train and develop ourselves in safer regions. Please be aware that just $5 can help either WaterStep or AmmanImman address starvation and death from waterborne illnesses.

Official Incorporation

On June 10, 2013, Water for Empowerment, Inc. was officially incorporated in Indianapolis, IN as a charitable organization. Our goal is to join the world community to help secure and maintain clean water for communities exposed to water borne pathogens.

We will educate and train community members on the sustainability of clean water sources with a focus on training young women and girls in water sciences so that they may be valued enough for inclusion in the educational cycle and not sold into human slavery.

The cycle of poverty often ends in human slavery both inside the United States and outside. We thank NuMali and its board members for inviting us to the remote village of Bankoni to witness the humanity of the villagers and the daily threat of death by disease and starvation.

Inspired by the plight of Bankoni and by efforts of the World Health Organization to inform and influence policy, practices and infrastructure at all levels of society, our new board will begin training in preparation for our first mission in 2014. We will study non-profit management, sustainability and water technologies, human trafficking, and scalable models for building businesses based on clean water with a variety of experts in the months ahead.

2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. Board Members include Brent Huber, Environmental Attorney-at-Law at Ice Miller; Dr. Charles Beck, Jr., D.O., Osteopathic Vision; Shannon Zumbaugh, Marketing Manager at Courseload, Inc.; and Susan H. Dugan, Health Communications Specialist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.