The Water Project, Inc.

Concord, NH   |  https://thewaterproject.org

Mission

The Water Project unlocks human potential by building and connecting global networks of local leaders, communities of generous supporters, and an informed public to provide sustainable water and sanitation programs to needlessly suffering communities in developing countries.

Ruling year info

2008

President & Founder

Mr. Peter Chasse

Main address

PO Box 3353

Concord, NH 03302 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

26-1455510

NTEE code info

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Globally, 1 in 9 people still have no access to clean water. But in the communities we serve, it's 9 out of 9. Water is a daily and crippling challenge. Without water you can't grow food, you can't build housing, you can't stay healthy, you can't stay in school, and you can't keep working. Children and women often bear the burden of walking miles each day to find water in streams and ponds, full of water-borne disease that is making them and their families sick. Illness and the time lost fetching it robs entire communities of their futures. Access to safe water is foundational to the development of any community. Safe and reliable water restores hope and unlocks potential.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Kenya - Water and Sanitation Programs

The Water Project's Kenya water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs are focused in Western and Southeastern Kenya.

The Water Project’s WASH program in Western Kenya aims to access, protect, filter, and purify the abundant waters that are available through two seasonal rains, prevalent springs, high water tables, and deep aquifers in the region. WASH projects in communities, schools, and churches in Western Kenya include protected springs, rainwater catchment systems, water wells, handwashing stations, and toilets. This program emphasizes the power of strategic geographical saturation of projects, effective hygiene and sanitation training, and relational networking between NGOs, health workers, local politicians, and educators.

The Water Project’s WASH program in Southeast Kenya aims to restore water access for communities living in a semi-arid environment through the construction of sand dams, hand dug wells, and 104,000-liter rainwater catchment systems. Innovative climate-smart farming, education, hygiene and sanitation training, and reliable access to clean drinking water are key components of this regional program.

Ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and resolution is integral to each of The Water Project’s WASH programs. The Water Project monitors all completed projects, provides ongoing service and support to communities, and posts the real-time status of all past and present water points on their website: https://thewaterproject.org/our-water-projects

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults
Children and youth
Families

The Water Project's Uganda water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program is focused in Western Uganda.

The Water Project’s WASH program in Western Uganda aims to push the limits for local ownership of clean water access points and behavior change in sanitation and hygiene practices through contextual water development. WASH projects include protected springs and water wells aimed at village-wide impact through complete-coverage water access and household level analysis of sanitation and hygiene practices. This program features an innovative approach that combines the Water User Committees (those with the responsibility to care for water point maintenance) with a Village Savings and Loan Association.

Ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and resolution is integral to each of The Water Project’s WASH programs. The Water Project monitors all completed projects, provides ongoing service and support to communities, and posts the real-time status of all past and present water points on their website: https://thewaterproject.org/our-water-projects

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults
Children and youth
Families

The Water Project's Sierra Leone water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program is focused in Port Loko District, Western Sierra Leone.

The Water Project’s WASH program in Port Loko district, Sierra Leone consists of a concentrated network of new, rehabilitated, and maintained water wells. Projects remain at or near 100% functionality because of quality implementation, customized hygiene, sanitation, and maintenance training, and reliable monitoring, evaluation, and resolution relationships.

Ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and resolution is integral to each of The Water Project’s WASH programs. The Water Project monitors all completed projects, provides ongoing service and support to communities, and posts the real-time status of all past and present water points on their website: https://thewaterproject.org/our-water-projects

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults
Families
Children and youth

The benefit of safe water is only realized is water continues to be reliable and safe. For The Water Project, reporting on ongoing functionality can and should be just as tangible as the projects, themselves. The Water Project has monitoring plans in place for all current work, and much of our past work, and that data is transparently reported on report pages and our project map: https://thewaterproject.org/our-water-projects

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults
Children and youth
Families

Where we work

Accreditations

Charity Navigator: 4 star 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of people receiving safe drinking water from community systems

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Mobile Monitoring of Water and Sanitation Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

On average, the known # of people receiving water each day. Non-functional or un-monitored sites are excluded. Crews regularly and actively respond to disabled water points to resolve problems.

Percentage of water projects actively monitored at the time of report

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Mobile Monitoring of Water and Sanitation Programs

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

% of active water points in our database. Mobile monitoring is conducted across our program areas wherever possible. Data excludes projects graduated to community care.

Percentage of water projects functional or partially functional at the time of report.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Mobile Monitoring of Water and Sanitation Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is a snapshot of data. This figure changes daily, based on real-time data from the field. Crews regularly and actively respond to disabled water points to resolve problems.

Number of activily monitored water projects at time of report

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Mobile Monitoring of Water and Sanitation Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is a snapshot of data. This data changes regularly based on active monitoring across our water programs. Figures exclude historical water projects graduated to community care.

Number of water projects completed in prior calendar year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of water projects that were physically constructed in the calendar year.

Prior water projects considered under "Community Care"

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Mobile Monitoring of Water and Sanitation Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Running # of water projects considered under "Community Care" or monitored by third-parties through prior arrangements (older than 3 years). Projects were functional at last visit.

Total # of people who gained access to safe water historically across our programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes recipients at water project sites both actively monitored and those considered under the community's own care. This is an estimate of historical impact.

Front-line COVID-19 Response Program - Trainings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth, Extremely poor people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

In partnership with local governments, front-line community trainings on preventing the spread of COVID-19, construction of hand-washing stations, hygiene and health training, & homemade mask making.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Water Project is focused on providing reliable, ongoing water and sanitation service and support to communities around the world who suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation.

The Water Project invests in safe water and sanitation projects that benefit small rural and urban communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Who We Serve

Nearly 1 billion people still lack access to safe water worldwide. While governments and larger NGOs often focus in urban and peri-urban centers, our work focuses on the least and last served in the rural countryside of Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone.

Providing access to clean, safe water helps capable and determined people realize the hope they have for their own futures and has a dramatic, measurable impact in four key areas.

Education: Key to future development
443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases. When students are healthy, they can study. When students are freed from gathering water, they return to class. With proper and safe latrines, girls stay in school through their teenage years.

Food security: Knowing where your next meal is
84% of the people who don't have access to improved water live in rural areas, where they live principally through subsistence agriculture. Access to water reduces crop loss. Schools can feed students with gardens, reducing costs. Crop production drives economic development.

Health: Clean water...clean hands
In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. With better access to water and sanitation, time lost to sickness is reduced and people can get back to the work of lifting themselves out of poverty.

Poverty: A symptom of broken foundations.
The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; the same as an entire year's labor in all of France! Lack of access to water hobbles development. Access to water is the foundation of almost any effort to grow. Access to water unlocks people's true potential. It can break the cycle of poverty. The communities we serve are ready to grow. We can't wait to see how they choose to do it.

Here at Home
We create tools, educational materials, and media that individuals, small groups, businesses, schools, and churches can use to learn about, act on, and then see the tangible impact they can have by providing access to clean water.

Proving It
We believe that everyone should see every outcome, every time. We publish the results of each water project, as it happens, to our online directory. GPS-based maps, photos, and stories from the specific community they served are shared with every donor to a water project.

The provision of safe water through new wells, rehabilitated wells, sand dams, rain catchment systems and spring protection schemes is combined with thorough hygiene and sanitation training to ensure maximum health and economic benefits are achieved in a particular community.

We recognize that simply providing one-time access to safe water does not produce the kind of impact that is often portrayed alongside work like ours. Water doesn't change anything. People do.

Knowing this, The Water Project works within our global netowrk to ensure that the communities we serve are deeply engaged in their own water projects, from day one. This commitment to building relationships is crucial to instilling the values and education necessary for a community to manage and maintain a water point over time. At the same time, we work hard to avoid creating unhealthy dependencies that might otherwise undermine the long term impact of any water point.

Since no one partner or implementer can master every aspect of water provision and community development, another of our primary objectives is to provide a conduit for information sharing and best practice development. We maintain a portfolio of partners with varying levels of skill and specializations to accomplish this.

Over time, our global network grows and learns from one another with our assistance and investment. One example of this might be sharing community training materials across our program that one partner has created and finds particularly effective. Another might be discussing the sourcing of water project components or construction techniques. Sharing knowledge must be done purposefully, as most everyone is too busy to engage in it without regular motivation.

The truth is, anyone can dig a hole. Anyone can send money to Africa to fund a well. Anyone can take a picture of water flowing and claim success. But it takes trained and committed teams working in collaboration to build a water project on a strong foundation that ensures lasting worth and life changing impact.

A comprehensive, sustainable water project costs time, commitment, investment in people, a willingness to measure and admit both success and failures, and a passion to care for people more than hardware.

The Water Project has worked for over 15 years to develop resources to inspire investment in this work, to identify and develop strategic and valuable relationships with our implementing partners, and to understand the true impact of our efforts.

Our program staff are well trained and have many years of experience in water project implementation and evaluation. Working both in the field and from our base in the U.S. they regularly engage with our partners to learn and to teach. Working on collaborative teams with other NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) in the Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Sector, our staff is constantly improving our capabilities and reach.

Our relationship with local leaders is perhaps our best asset. Our local teams know the people and places we serve. They are our eyes, ears, and hands. Our job is to provide them with the resources they need to focus on the excellent work they do. By distilling new information, best practices and methods of impact assessment for them, we can achieve efficiencies that translate to more people being served.

Our supporters generate the funds needed to do it all. Nearly 100% of our funding comes from public donations. Individuals, small groups, businesses, schools, and churches raise funds to build water projects. We show every-one the specific impact of their gifts through GPS-base maps, photos, and stories from the community they served.

To date, The Water Project has funded over 2,190 water projects in seven countries with nine partners. Over 575,000 people have access to safe water. Today, these communities are breaking the cycle of poverty.

We have received countless stories of gardens being planted, children returning to class, test scores improving, health recovering and more. The time returned to women and girls especially, relieved from gathering water from long distances, is returning large dividends in their families and villages.

Recently, a hospital in Western Kenya leveraged the investment we made in digging a borehole well, by connecting it to the building's internal plumbing - installed decades ago but never connected to a water source! The maternity ward is now properly cleaned, patients have a safe source of drinking water, and the doctors and nurses work with a renewed vision of hope.

There are many other great stories to tell.

But there is also much left to be accomplished. We are continuing to strengthen our internal processes and to better quantify our impact. We're adding staff to meet the administrative demand of tracking hundreds of projects. We are developing our next strategic plan to refocus our efforts where the greatest impact is being seen.

Developing our implementing teams is a never-ending process, by design. The work of building local capacity means not beginning at perfection. As each partner matures, we'll add new implementers to help extend our reach. All along the way, we are constantly improving and sharing what we learn.

Still, there are countless villages that lack access to clean, safe water. To meet the demand, we need significant additional investment. We're working with our current supporters to deepen their commitment to this work and to introduce us to others who can help. And we're constantly seeking new ways to engage people with the cause of clean water.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Rural communities and institutions without convenient, reliable access to safe water within geographically focused program areas in Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Kenya.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, The Water Project monitors/collects regular feedback from every community/institution we work with.,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Data collected during monitoring/feedback visits allow us to understand how our water points are performing over time. These quarterly visits also help us maintain relationships with the schools and communities that we serve and provides an opportunity for our beneficiaries to give feedback on a regular basis. Recently, our monitoring data on water availability and functionality helped us identify a service gap for school rainwater tanks during seasonal dry periods in Western Kenya. In response, we revised our vetting criteria for new school projects, introducing a borehole option for schools with high student populations, and are reinvesting additional water points in schools where past projects are no longer providing adequate quantities of water.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners, All feedback data is posted, real-time, on our website.,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Our monitoring/feedback programs recognize and invest in the agency of those we support and serve. We believe that the timely responding to data is critical for an actual shift in power. As we work with communities to make water reliable over time, and focus ongoing water service and support programs within the acceptance that communities, and water needs, will naturally change over time (water usage changes, population changes, water tables, etc), communities realize that they - not a water point - are the focus of our relationship/program. As communities experience that our standards might initially be higher than their expectations, trust is formed, relationships deepen, and communities further accept, and operate within, their own agency.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Real-time feedback is best - and challenging - for ensuring uninterrupted, daily access to water. ,

Financials

The Water Project, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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The Water Project, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 8/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Todd Bourgeois

No Affiliation

Term: 2020 -

R. Peter Chasse

The Water Project, Inc.

Amy Karjala

RevJen Group

David Sacra

Adam Chace

Curriculum Associates

Tony Biaggne

Axon

Jeanne McKinley

Todd Bourgeois

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/12/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/12/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.