In 2005, WaterAfrica Co-Founder and President Bill Savage traveled with a team from Lake Grove Presbyterian Church on a World Vision trip to Zambia. In rural Sikuteke Village, Bill walked with a woman to a dry stream bed where she used an old hardhat to scoop water from a small, muddy, debris-filled hole.

Sikuteke Village

As she scooped water to fill her bucket Bill remembers: I looked at it, thought of my newly-born grandson and asked the woman if she boiled the water before she gave it to her kids to drink. She told me she didn’t because she didn’t have enough fuel. She was giving this water to her kids. She had no choice. Something happened to me. I felt I had to do something to help. 

Bill’s wife, Diane, traveled with a Lake Grove Presbyterian Church team the following year. That group had the opportunity to watch World Vision’s drilling team strike water in a rural community and they came home to tell stories of the life-giving, life-changing celebration. These trips were transformational for Bill and Diane. As they worked to better understand the problem of unsafe water in rural Zambia they soon became part of the solution.

Bill & Diane Zambia
Bill & Diane Savage in Zambia, October 2008

The Savages networked with other interested people and began fundraising for World Vision to drill freshwater wells in the villages. They called their volunteer group WaterAfrica. In the spring of 2008, WaterAfrica volunteers held a Walk for Water in downtown Lake Oswego. The event drew 100 participants and raised $6,000 for World Vision’s water program in Zambia. 

In 2008, a team of WaterAfrica volunteers traveled to Zambia with World Vision, specifically to learn about their water program and its life-changing impact on Zambian villagers. WaterAfrica’s volunteer base grew as more people became aware of the problem and got involved with the solution. Volunteers staff information tables at a variety of events and speak at churches, schools, and other organizations. WaterAfrica initiatives have included Water Concerts, a Film Festival, an event in partnership with the World Affairs Council of Oregon and of course the annual Walk for Water in downtown Lake Oswego.

WaterAfrica incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in October 2009, and in 2010 made a 5 year commitment to raise at least $100,000 per year to support World Vision’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) program in Zambia. This commitment impacts over 2,500 people each year, most dramatically changing the lives of women and children. Thanks to our volunteers and generous donors we are delighted to be ahead of our fundraising schedule this year!

WaterAfrica is uniquely shaped by a remarkable volunteer base. Three different volunteer teams have now traveled to Zambia; the most recent trip was last summer. WaterAfrica travelers come home with stories from the field. They report on World Vision’s WASH projects and trace WaterAfrica donor dollars to a successful, sustainable program.

Through the years we’ve expanded our understanding of the unsafe, inaccessible water problem in rural Zambia, even as World Vision’s solutions have evolved to more fully and effectively create change. We no longer think of the program only as a Water program, but we’ve learned that adequate Sanitation and Hygiene resources and training are critical to the success of a Water program.

Today is World Water Day and with many people around the world we celebrate access to safe clean water. Yet for the villagers in rural Zambia who must still scoop water from a small, muddy, debris-filled hole we join together to Raise Awareness, Raise Funds and Transform Lives.

WaterAfrica’s 6th Annual Walk4Water will be held in Downtown Lake Oswego on April 27. Last year we had over 400 participants and we raised $55,000. This year our goal is $60,000. We can’t do it without your help!

Walk4Water5
Walk4Water5 | Lake Oswego | April 2012











Celebrate World Water Day by making plans to Join Us for Walk4Water6: April 27!

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