Friendly Water for the World seeks to expand global access to low-cost clean water technologies and information about health and sanitation through knowledge-sharing, community-building, peacemaking, and sustainability. Website: friendlywater.org.
Friendly Water for the World has branched out to work with communities on implementing multiple water-centered technologies, including BioSand water filters, rainwater catchments, MicroFlush toilets, interlocking stabilized soil blocks, multipurpose soap, rocket stoves, and permagardens. Critical to Friendly Water’s work is that communities get to prioritize the programs they wish to pursue.
Recently, in Matsakha, Kenya, more than 100 people, including the leaders of ten different villages (most of whom had never met each other before) came together for three full days of community engagement activities. Through a process of appreciative inquiry, they were able to enumerate the community assets they could bring to any undertaking and evaluate which technologies best fit their community (they want all of them). They then formed their own development group and chose to start with multipurpose soap.
Schools are reopening, but many lack a source for clean water and have limited or poor-quality soap for handwashing, both critical in times of COVID-19. Community members are now trained to make soap, and they are utilizing a sustainability plan mutually developed by all the program partners. Friendly Water is planning to partner with the people of Matsakha on more technologies, such as building their own rainwater catchment tanks that connect to their school buildings and provide schools with their own source of water for the first time.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Friendly Water for the World initiated a series of “Friendly Chats” on Friday afternoons to keep friends, supporters, and partners around the world connected to each other. Participants came from throughout the world, from New Zealand to Tanzania to Wales.
The one-hour chats have covered low-cost, appropriate technologies that are part of the organization’s platform: BioSand water filters, rainwater catchment/ferro-cement tanks, interlocking soil stabilized bricks, permagardens, and rocket stoves. Other chats included the deployment of these technologies in programs and projects in Asia and Africa. Still others highlighted community engagement efforts, the causes and impacts of waterborne illnesses, and the history of Friendly Water’s efforts. There have also been COVID-19 check-ins with communities far and wide. The chats, which are open to everyone, will continue to be held on the last Friday of the month at 12 noon, Pacific Time.
Clean water and soap are critical in the fight against COVID-19, and many communities around the world lack access to one or both. Friendly Water has been training communities to manufacture their own liquid soap alongside BioSand filters, and to distribute it to orphanages and schools.