Sharon welcomed everybody and talked about the importance of water for life and how this realization can create a more positive and proactive an outlook. She reminded listeners that they are the ecosystem, that their footprint is their legacy and that they can improve their legacy by living in a way that is health producing, self-sufficient and in harmony with the environment. Without water, she concluded, there is no life. But with water, we can save lives.
Guest: Kinoti Meme, Ph.D.
Kinoti Meme, Ph.D. (San Luis Obispo, CA), Lifewater International - "Safe and Abundant Water for the Third World"
Sharon introduced her first guest, Dr. Kinoti Meme of Lifewater International, a Christian organization that assists local groups in Africa, Asia and South America to develop and maintain community water projects and implement water and sanitation education programs.
Dr. Meme was born and grew up in a small village in Kenya where women and children spend hours each day carrying water from a river (in which animals often bathed). He ended up attending the University in Kenya, then receiving a Ph.D. from a Christian College in Southern California. After working for WorldVision for six years, he became employed by Lifewater. His organization acknowledges a connection between abundant safe water, health, education and spiritual growth.
Sharon noted that previous guests had talked about the problems of unsanitary water, and how the necessity to spend hours each day carrying water has hindered the education of women in developing countries. She said that in general, the importance of water is not stressed nearly enough and that in the U.S., we are very fortunate to be able to flush the toilet and wash our hands afterwards. However, even in the U.S., not all water is safe.
Dr. Meme explained the Lifewater program as empowering (organizing, encouraging, educating and assisting) local communities to understand the importance of abundant and safe water, and to help them organize to bring this about. They have determined that water from wells is the safest untreated water source and that a single water well can provide safe water for up to 200,000 people. Projects are implemented though volunteer "Field Trainers" from the U.S. and other countries, who have been trained to work with the agency’s local partners. Locals are then trained to provide school classroom instruction on sanitation, the need for water and how to keep it clean and safe (using locally developed curricula); repair and maintenance of community pumps, community organizing, etc.
A good well costs $10,000 to $20,000 and the community must find this money, and also work together to maintain and finance it once completed. Lifewater also works with UNICEF and WorldVision. Dr. Meme suggested that even in the U.S., it is a good idea not to waste good water.
Sharon suggested that everyone could use education in the importance of water to health and how to conserve water and make sure that it is kept safe.
Dr. Meme gave the Lifewater website at www.lifewater.org and encouraged Americans who wish to volunteer to contact them.
Categories: Bodies of Water, International Health Orgs, Outdoor Recreation