How did Water for Humanity get its start?
At the 1991 American Society of Dowsers? Annual National Convention, then in Danville, a raffle was held partly to benefit ASD and partly to fund a donation to Catholic missionary Brother James Kimpton and his organization "Reaching the Unreached", in India, to develop well sites he had located by dowsing. This evolved into a raffle solely to support similar activities around the world, under our original name, The Third World Water Fund.
What are the objectives of the Water for Humanity Fund?
Our main objective is to fund the development of water resources in areas of critical need. Usually that means rural areas of developing countries where there is lack of access to adequate supplies of clean and potable water. It may also apply to areas of natural disaster. Secondarily, our purpose is to demonstrate the practicality of the dowsing art, and thirdly, to engender respect for this precious resource of water.
What is the specific problem that WFH is working to address?
Our aim is to target those areas of the most desperate need and improve water resources in terms of quantity, quality and accessibility. In such areas, the only available water might be an open pit of stagnant and contaminated water, which one might have to walk miles to find. The work of carrying water falls overwhelmingly to the women, and thus we work to reduce their burden as well as so much time which they can put to better use.
What kind of water resources projects have been funded so far?
We fund primarily drilled wells with hand pumps, but also dug wells, rain catchment systems, and spring source capitation. A drilled well is the method of choice, as it reached deeper into the water table and being hygienically sealed, is safer. We also train in the operation of portable drilling equipment which we supplied, the construction of composting latrines to conserve water and the fabrication of water filtration devices to purify the existing supply.
Does the WFH Fund have a philosophy or a set of guiding values?
We feel that the philosophy or values that guide us are consistent with the spirit of Vermont and other businesses and organizations on the leading edge of social and environmental responsibility. Briefly, our values guide us to support projects which are environmentally sustainable, technologically appropriate and culturally sensitive and respectful.
What is the make-up of the WFH Committee?
The WFH Fund operates under the auspices of the ASD, and its committee is composed of nine members. Five of those members are members of the Board of Trustees, office staff or other ASD committees to assure accountability. The other four are members-at-large, and we have two advisors as well. We are an all-volunteer staff, which allows us to maximize the percentage of donations that go directly toward actual well or water resources development.
What kind of budget have you operated on?
From our humble beginnings as a raffle that collected $300 for Brother Kimpton, we have now grown up to $15 -20,000 annual funds raised & awarded to projects. The majority of this still comes from the 4,300 membership. Because all the committee members donate their time, over our 14 years we have averaged only 4% per year for office expenses. Also, presently, general funds only go to actual well or water resources development, and not for travel. Those who travel for the benefit of furthering WFH?s projects do so at their own expenses or find funding from other sources.
How do you decide which projects to fund?
First of all, a complete and professional proposal shows good planning and organization. Above that, we look for community participation, willingness to match our funds, and that training for programs, maintenance committees and repair funds have been set up. Also, we give priority to those projects where the most people are helped per donation dollar. In addition, we look for local organizations which are legally registered as non-profits within their own countries, preferably with a US liaison.
Do any of the committee members actually travel to these projects?
Yes. Steve Herbert, currently WFH Secretary, was in fact the second recipient of a grant, while a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. This allowed him to locate well sites for other PCVs, villages, missionaries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) all over that country. Also, he has traveled six times to date under sponsorship of the US Partners of the Americas program to Central America and the Caribbean; primarily to Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti. The initial trip was to Honduras to help the victims of Hurricane Mitch, as Vermont and Honduras are paired up under that program.
What kind of activities did he conduct on those trips to LatinAmerica?
He trained rural farmers and villagers to locate the best sources of water by dowsing, dowsed water well sites myself, trained them how to operate portable drilling equipment, instructed in casing and pumping, showed them how to conserve water with composting toilets, guided them in constructing water filtration devices and gave workshops on how to write grant proposals.
Are there other ASD or WFH members doing similar projects abroad?
Yes. Richard Roy is an ASD member from Quebec who is fluent in French. He has been several times to Haiti on water resources development projects. And Don Nolan of Wisconsin, who is a WFH committee member, has made several trips to Nicaragua, also under the sponsorship on the Partners of the Americas program to conduct projects similar to Steve?s. Richard Roy can be contacted at: (450) 975-9357 * email@example.com * 360 boul Lvesque est, apt 209; Laval, Qubec H7G 4P4 Canada
How do you envision WFH evolving in the future?
Our goal is to increase or expand our funding base beyond the ASD membership to include the general public, corporations and foundations. The more we increase our own resources, the greater is our ability to help others.
How can others be involved?
They can learn more about us by exploring this website WFH or contacting any one of the committee members listed. Raffle donations may be sent to the headquarters of the ASD in Danville, Vermont, and monetary donations may be sent to the attention of the WFH Treasurer at the same address. We also encourage people to donate their time and expertise.
To contact us, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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