Web link

www. WaterForHumans.Org

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Global Washington: Changemaker- Rick McKenney

Clean water, social justice, and sustainable business: Rick McKenney of Water for Humans

By Anamika Ved;;;A
Rick Mckenney Water For Humans social entrepreneur, mechanical engineer, a physicist, material scientist and a keen advocate of social and economic justice are few words that describe RicMcKenneyey, thcofounderer of Water for Humans. Having started his career as a budding entrepreneur during his high school days, Rick’s passion for implementing social change eventually gave birth to the non profit social venture enterprise that is called “Water for Humans”.

In 2006, while traveling in Mexico during the summer, Rick noticed the elderly struggling with water jugs, people getting drinking water out of five-gallon jugs and trucks carrying jugs of clean water. He realized that people understand the value of clean water; they recognize that drinking tap water can potentially lead to serious medical problems and even death. With multinational companies and other private enterprise mushrooming in the profitable business of potable water sales and distribution, Rick saw people spending 25% of their income on buying expensive bottled water. Those with less financial means were drinking water that was insufficiently treated and not safe for human consumption.

Water For HumansHe also saw raw sewage flowing directly into the sea and onto farmers’ fields polluting the ocean and human consumption crops. With fields getting flooded by raw sewage, farmers could only grow animal feed commodity, which has less financial value than human consumption crops. His exposure to this socioeconomic reality made him decide to work towards saving people from the deleterious effects of these unsafe water and sanitation practices.
Born in Southern California, Rick was imbued with both the business and engineering skills to start a private enterprise. While in high school he started and successfully operated his own business, a small manufacturing outfit, before he sold it to pursue his undergraduate degree in Solid State Physics and Mechanical Engineering.

After working in military industrial complex where he was “conflicted by the lure of science and the application of technology,” he joined Boeing as physicist and materials scientist. During his eighteen years at Boeing, he worked on many classified projects; however, he wanted to do something in line with his core values. He wanted to give back to the society. As a first step, he went to Vancouver, B.C. and for four years worked at Ballard Power Systems developing hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

Water For HumansRick was interested in social entrepreneurship from social justice perspective. He wanted to use his engineering and business skills for environmental, economic and social causes. He wanted to do, as he says, “Business for good.” With that thought in mind, he joineBainbridgeBainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) in the fall of 2004 to get his MBA in Sustainable Business Practices in June 2007.

and unemployment. He also studied social justice and business and started lBainbridge some ideas relating to it.

In his effort to start a social enterprise for safe drinking water and sewage, Rick was greatly supported and encouraged by Gifford Pinchot, the co-founder of Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Gifford connected him to Paul Hudnut, a social entrepreneur and founder of Envirofit, an enterprise-based model that represents a more sustainable approach to tackling the global IAP/cook stoves problem.

Rick also drew inspiration from Fabio Rosa, a Brazilian social entrepreneur whose initiatives focused on rural electrification and the use oPinchotinable energy resourBainbridgear to Rosa’s “The Sunshines for All,” which delivHudnutow cost electricity to millions of ruraEnvirofitans, Rick decided to come up with what he calls “a reliable, low cost, culturally acceptable technical solution that could provide sustainable sewage treatment systems, and access to clean water.” This, he thought, would reduce pollution for people of all economic classes. He also understood the importance of proviSunshinesnancial mechanism via a social venture enterprise. A social venture enterprise, according to him, was important to ensure that infrastructure, such as sewage treatment systems, have adequate financial resources to provide continuous operations and maintenance for areas where local governments do not have the capacity to deliver such services. This led to the birth of Water for Humans, a social enterprise that strives to insure local public control of water resources and the deployment of low cost water purification systems to the 1.1 billion people in the world who lack safe drinking water.

According to Rick, “the strength and vitality of a community is based on its ability to provide food security and economic vitality to its citizens.” In order to accomplish his vision to bring about social and economic justice, Rick wants to ensure the safety and quality of the local food sources and help local economies thrive.

Water For HumansRick also stresses on the importance of collaborative working model, which resonates with one of Global Washington’s four principles of aid effectiveness i.e, local ownership. According to Rick, collaboration or partnership with the local communities, NGOs, and government has been the mainstay of their organization’s success. “Strong and deep connections to key community partners have allowed us to grow and increase our impact,” he says. Their most recent project, aimed at designing and building a constructed wetland for sewage treatment in Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla, is an example of such collaboration. In this endeavor, Water for Humans isNGOstnering with a local internationally-recognized NGO, Instituto de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad de Oaxaca (INSO). The goal is to develop this watershed project 20Km NNE of Oaxaca City, as a model that communities throughout the world can study and emulate. In addition, they are also working onSantoinwater catchmenBajodEtlaer treatment, and composting latrine program within Oaxaca City. There many sections of Oaxaca City that do not have adequate water aInstitutotden sNaturalezand theSociedadrdeng hard with the community to implement a cost effective solution to this chronic water shortage issue.

Rick emphasizes partnerships between small non-profit organizations and agencies like USAID and thinks that Global Washington can help make such connections. He appreciates the role played by Global Washington in increasing the “visibility of the member organizations.”

Excited about launching the first watershed project in the Oaxaca Valley, Rick continues to work towards implementing social change, using his scientific skills and strong belief in social and economic justice. Let’s wish him success in this laudable objective as he fulfills his dream to “affect people in the most positive way.”

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Growing Water Deficit Threatening Grain Harvests

Lester R. Brown

Many countries are facing dangerous water shortages. As world demand for food has soared, millions of farmers have drilled too many irrigation wells in efforts to expand their harvests. As a result, water tables are falling and wells are going dry in some 20 countries containing half the world’s people. The overpumping of aquifers for irrigation temporarily inflates food production, creating a food production bubble that bursts when the aquifer is depleted.

The shrinkage of irrigation water supplies in the big three grain-producing countries—the United States, India, and China—is of particular concern. Thus far, these countries have managed to avoid falling harvests at the national level, but continued overexploitation of aquifers could soon catch up with them.
Read more

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bremerton Rotary Club Grant to Water for Humans

Water for Humans (WFH) received a $500 grant from the Rotary Club of Bremerton (Washington) to further their mission in Oaxaca, Mexico. The grant will be used to provide for a water filter for the Valentin Gomez Farias Elementary School in Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla, twenty km northwest of Oaxaca City. The school initially came to WFH and INSO (Instituto de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad de Oaxaca), our NGO partner in Oaxaca, for assistance in this matter. Money currently used to buy expensive bottled water will be used to purchase badly needed school supplies. Water for Humans will be working with the Antequera Rotary Club (of Oaxaca) to implement this project.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A better loo? Gates gives $42M to improve toilets

Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya —
At dawn every Sunday, Joseph Irungu leads an army of 50 men pushing hand carts fitted with old 42-gallon oil drums through the narrow alleyways of one of Kenya's most populous slums.

With their bare hands, they use buckets to draw the feces from the pit latrines in Korogocho, fill the oil drums and push them to a river to deposit the waste. Every trip leaves the men with splotches of sewage on their faces and hands.

Irungu has been leading this sanitation brigade since 1998, when the Nairobi City Council refused his request to drain the pit latrine at his plot of rental houses.

"It was too much," he said. "I had to do something, so I picked up a bucket and drained it myself. I realize that many other landlords were facing similar problems and a business opportunity presented itself."

Irungu's enterprising spirit was echoed across the continent Tuesday, when the world's largest charitable foundation announced its newest venture: an effort to reinvent the toilet to bring safe, clean sanitation to millions of poor people in the developing world.

At the AfricaSan Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced $42 million in grants to encourage innovation in the capture, storage and repurposing of waste as an energy resource.

More than 2.6 billion people around the world don't have access to safe sanitation. Instead of using toilets connected to sewer lines, most leave their waste on the ground or in a ditch or pit. The result is unsightly, unsanitary and contributes to illness.

Some 1.5 million children die each year from diarrhea-related diseases. Because the Gates Foundation believes most of these deaths could be prevented with proper sanitation, safe drinking water and improved hygiene, foundation officials are in Africa this week to launch this new initiative.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Water for Humans Receives 501(c)3 Status

The IRS approved Water for Human’s application for 501(c)3 status. All contributions directly to Water for Humans are now tax deductable. We were classified as a Public Charity as of May 14, 2011, the date we submitted our application. We will immediately take steps to remove ourselves from the fiscal sponsorship of A W.I.S.H. (A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity).

We would be amiss without thanking the Seattle University School of Law for all their help in filling in the application accurately and thoroughly which put us on the IRS fast track for approval. In early January, Judy Andrews, a practicing attorney and professor at Seattle University, saw our need as an opportunity for two of her third year law students who were talking a course about nonprofit corporations. The two students, Misha Sandusky and Joseph Helt, did the bulk of the work, making sure that we had our application and all supporting documentation completed before they finished their course in May. Judy has been available for assistance since their graduation. A big thanks from Water for Humans to all three of them for their help in obtaining this milestone for us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Saludos (Hi) from all of us at Water for Humans!

The families of Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla and Victor Bravo Ahuja district of Oaxaca City have come to Water for Humans for assistance in securing clean safe water access.

Today, we are calling for your action to make a difference! boys at table

Imagine your child having to drink Coke in place of safe water.

That's what many Oaxacan families resort to.

The primary school in Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla has foregone buying school supplies in favor of providing expensive bottled water for its students.

They've come to us to ask for help to install a water filtration system instead.

Meet the students of Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla and Prof. Rosendo Barragan Mendoza

Mendoza Students-Outside Professor Rosendo Barragan Mendoza teaches grade 6 at Valentin Gomez Farias Elementary School located in the village. Prof. Mendoza said, "Sometimes when we run out of water jugs and children are still thirsty, they have to drink water from the tap and this causes many diseases." He tells us that clean filtered water would allow the school to stop buying expensive bottled water - and spend the money instead on school supplies.

How is Water for Humans helping the children, and the school?
In continuing collaboration with INSO, Water for Humans will install a water filtration-purification system on the elementary school's water tank.

Estimated Project Cost: $500

How to Help

1) Spread the word about our efforts:

via our new CrowdRise site. Invite your Facebook friends and email contacts to join in our funding efforts (by clicking the icons to the left of the "Donate" button on the crowdrise webpage).

Crowdrise is a fast growing engagement tool/network that is helping many great causes fund the work that needs doing. If you have any question about how to join or set up a Team on Crowdrise, please Contact Us.

2) Give to Water for Humans directly at our CrowdRise site.

Thank you!
You are a person who cares about the world we live in and you have demonstrated that by supporting Water for Humans. Our new friends in Oaxaca's Central Valley say, "Muchas gracias!"

PS: Learn how your generous support will impact lives in Oaxaca and elsewhere by following the Water for Humans' Blog, our You Tube Channel and looking for updates on Facebook. We invite you to join the nearly 300 people who are "Followers" of Water for Humans on Facebook!

You can always donate directly at CrowdRise

Monday, July 11, 2011

Water for Humans' Welcomes New Webmaster

Two volunteers now make up our web development team. Water for Humans is glad to welcome Jitendra Joshi as our new webmaster. Jitendra comes to us with a Master of Science degree in Computer Applications and experience in web and software development. He is very interested in supporting our quest to bring more clean water solutions to the underserved in the world. Jitendra resides in India from where he has supported a number of American companies.

Carl Herman, our second web development volunteer, hails from Seattle, WA. He is a student at the University of Washington, majoring in history and economics. He has limited experience with web development, but is passionate about growing his web skills and knowledge. He will be working closely with Jitendra and is excited about furthering Water for Humans’ mission.

We look forward to working with both Jitendra and Carl.