For many communities in the developing world, it’s a daily struggle to find drinkable water.
Waterborne diseases strike down the most vulnerable, killing children who have no other option except the bucket-drawn water from polluted rivers or streams.
According to a 2006 report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization, this global tragedy claims 5,000 children daily.
Water4, a nonprofit organization based in Oklahoma City, has dedicated itself to the development of communities in these crisis areas by creating access to clean drinking water. This has been achieved by drilling wells while simultaneously empowering locals with knowledge to create ownership of the solution.
Husband and wife team Richard and Terri Greenly co-founded the nonprofit in 2008. Their strategy was to build hand pumps on-site in developing areas. The wells would then need to be drilled, providing jobs to local communities.
It’s a unique approach that gives hope for the future of the developing world.
“Wouldn’t it be great if they (local communities) could actually make money doing this, and we could eventually, after we’ve supplied them and resourced them and trained them ... that we could just kinda back out of the picture and the thing runs on its own?” Richard Greenly asked.
Richard’s epiphany to help on a global scale began after a trip to southern China to install a solar pump.
“I remember thinking, ‘This is the best feeling I think I’ve ever had in my life,’” Richard Greenly said. “We have changed that village of 350 people’s lives forever.”
Terri Greenly traveled with her family to Zambia, a country on the African continent, while filming began on a documentary, This Is Normal. The film highlights the struggles of obtaining clean water.
Water4’s success garnered it the attention of like-minded nonprofits. One of those, World Vision, is a nonprofit geared toward helping children fight hunger by educating about nutrition and agricultural solutions. Word Vision is now partnered with Water4, and the pair have projected the creation of 7,000 wells in eight countries in Africa, making it the largest well project in history.
“When we’re through with the pilot project, there’ll be a whole infrastructure set up that trains people, [grants] contracts, drills the wells, manufactures the pumps, manufactures the drilling equipment,” said Terri Greenly. “Our goal is to get 1 million wells in Africa in 10 years. That would basically fix Africa.”
Water4’s second annual gala will include special guests, including Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb and Congressman James Lankford, and former U.S. Senator Don Nickles and his wife, Linda, will chair the event.
There will be a special screening of the award-winning documentary This Is Normal, with director Derek Watson in attendance. The gala will feature a silent and live auction featuring unique gifts, including a guitar signed by Taylor Swift. Nadia Dajani (The Carrie Diaries, The Good Wife, Ugly Betty) will make a special guest appearance.