“Clean-Water Initiative Blesses Lives around Globe,” Ensign, Sept. 2005, 75
In an effort to combat the sickness, discomfort, and danger facing the more than one billion people worldwide who don’t have access to clean water, the Church has established a clean-water initiative that has already helped people in 31 countries across the globe.
The initiative, created in 2003, is designed to improve health by providing sustainable clean-water sources in places where clean water isn’t available.
The initiative allows the Church to provide potable water and improve public health in a number of ways. Among the methods the Church uses to supply clean water are building and refurbishing wells, setting up rainwater captures, purifying river water, and capturing clean water from natural springs.
Church Humanitarian Services has also delivered tanks of clean water to places in need. A recent project in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu saw tens of thousands of liters of clean water delivered in tanks to provinces in the country.
While the program’s main goal is to provide clean water for those who need it, the Church has also strengthened and established relationships with government leaders and citizens of the countries in which the initiative has been carried out.
When making plans for a clean-water project, the Church meets with local leaders and citizens of the area to map out a project that the community will be able to maintain.
Church humanitarian missionaries who serve in places that need the clean-water program often alert the Church of the opportunity. After approval is given by the Area Presidency that presides over the area, Church service missionaries in the United States serve as short-term specialists and work with the area’s humanitarian missionaries to make sure the project runs smoothly.
There are currently seven couples who serve as short-term specialists in the clean-water initiative. Their duties range from giving direction over the phone or by e-mail to traveling to a country to make sure the project gets off the ground.
In addition to working with local governments and including citizens in the planning process, the Church also holds a ceremony upon the completion of every project. Government and Church leaders typically attend the ceremony, during which local members often perform cultural songs or dances to celebrate the occasion.
Many projects have taken place in Africa, but countries in Asia, Europe, the Pacific, and South America have also been blessed by the initiative.
Some of the donations that are made to Church humanitarian services are used to help fund the clean-water initiative.