International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security

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

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EIN

26-1455510

Cause area (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

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 programs are focused in Western and Southeastern Kenya.

In Western Kenya, our teams work within current or new community social networks (called Self Help Groups), implementing boreholes, well rehabilitations, spring protection and rainwater harvesting solutions.

In arid Southeastern Kenya, our teams work in and through Self Help Groups towards the installation of rainwater harvesting tanks at schools and community sand dams (which have a proven ability to restore water tables in drought prone areas and allow for farming to return to the region). Shallow wells are installed alongside each dam project, allowing for accessibility to safe water.

Hygiene and Sanitation training is a key focus of each project - and The Water Project has implemented VIP and EcoSan latrines at schools in both program areas.

Each project receives ongoing monitoring, evaluation and resolution.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
General/Unspecified

The Water Project's Uganda program is currently focused in Central Uganda. Our program is rooted in a strong working relationship with the local government and community based partnerships (called village partnerships). Safe water projects include improved hand-dug well construction and the drilling of boreholes at schools. As with all our programs, a key element to each project is hygiene and sanitation training - as is a robust monitoring and evaluation program.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
General/Unspecified

The Water Project has been active in Port Loko District and Waterloo, Sierra Leone, since 2010. Since inception, our program has focused on water provision, robust hygiene and sanitation training, Child Health Clubs and innovative sanitation facilities at institutions. We’ve watched Child Health Clubs lead community health trainings to slow the spread of disease during cholera outbreaks. Communities have mobilized around their own sanitation because of the impact they have seen from school sanitation facilities. Faith communities have found relationship, purpose and partnership in work benefitting the common good of the area. Clustering of past work, strong coordination with multiple country Ministry offices, desperate need for reliable water service and the absence of other NGOs led The Water Project and our partner to narrow our geographical focus in 2014 to Port Loko District. Port Loko District is approximately 2,208 square miles and is home to over 500,000 people. The Water Project’s focus is now expanded to new boreholes in areas where previous water projects are not enough to keep up with community demand for water service. We continue to rehabilitate wells. Our anchor into communities continues through the faith community, community led hygiene trainings and Child Health Clubs.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
General/Unspecified

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.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
General/Unspecified

Where we work

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

General/Unspecified

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

General/Unspecified

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

General/Unspecified

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

General/Unspecified

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

General/Unspecified

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

General/Unspecified

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.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

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 12 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.

A picture of water flowing from a new well is a beginning, not an end. It's the beginning of a new way of life for a community and it's the beginning of our measuring the outcomes of what we do.<br/><br/>Monitoring and Evaluation<br/><br/>Monitoring water projects helps us understand the hardware we install and how much it might cost a community to maintain it. It usually means going back to a water project periodically to be sure it's still working. In the near future it may also include remote monitoring using new cellular based technologies. Regardless of how we check up on these projects, it costs both time and money. Because we believe it essential to plan for and fund this effort, it is included in the cost of every implementation. <br/><br/>Most simply, evaluation is about making sure that the work we do is the best we can do and that it is having a measurable impact in the community. Are more people washing hands? Have water-borne disease rates decreased? Have test scores or attendance in schools improved? We evaluate indicators like these through interviews, questionnaires, and by observing the communities in which we work. This happens at all stages of a project, and helps identify potential improvements and best practices (what's working).<br/><br/>We expect that the dialog with a community that began each project will serve as the catalyst to open and honest discussions of the outcomes - good and bad - throughout it. We're committed to seeing that the work of monitoring and evaluation is done in collaboration with and for the benefit of the communities we serve. It will involve discussions, workshops and many visits by us and our partners. After all, in the end, the communities are the most important stake holders. These are their water projects from day one and will be for many years to come, if we all do our job well.

To date, The Water Project has funded over 2,100 water projects in seven countries with nine partners. Over 520,000 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.

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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The Water Project, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 4/13/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. David Myers

No Affiliation

Term: 2010 -

David Myers

No Affiliation

R. Peter Chasse

The Water Project, Inc.

Amy Karjala

RevJen Group

David Sacra

Ingersoll-Rand

Adam Chace

Curriculum Associates

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

Keywords

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