GFA World: A Non-profit that Offers Water Solutions
Water is essential to life, yet it’s estimated that 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to a drinkable source.1 In developing regions, such as Asia and Africa, many people rely on surface water for their daily needs. This water is often contaminated and can lead to a host of waterborne diseases. In response to this crisis, various types of water solutions through technology are being investigated and implemented.
- Some solutions focus on technological advances, such as desalination and even extracting water from the air.2
- A few companies are exploring innovative options to utilize untapped resources, such as icebergs, or to recycle water that has been previously used.3
- Other organizations are focusing on conservation and promoting better stewardship of the earth’s limited water resources.
- Some non-profit organizations, such as GFA World, focus on providing water solutions to individual families and communities in need.
The majority of people without access to clean water live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.4 GFA World has been serving the “least of these” in South Asia since 1979 and has recently expanded efforts into Africa.
In these areas, the lack of clean water impacts people’s everyday lives. Many people—typically women and girls—are forced to walk 30 minutes or more, often twice a day, to collect water for the family’s daily needs.5 This chore drains precious time and energy that women could be using to generate income and girls could be using to gain an education. In addition, the water they collect is often contaminated by fecal matter, arsenic or other pollutants.6 Drinking such water often leads to illness, such as cholera, typhoid, polio, diarrhea and dysentery. According to the United Nations, “Unclean water and poor sanitation are a leading cause of child mortality.”7 Every year, 1.8 million people, mostly children under the age of 5, die from diarrheal diseases.8
GFA World’s clean water initiatives seek to prevent such deaths and improve people’s health as part of its overall efforts to transform communities with Christ’s love. When adults are sick, they can’t provide for their families, which can further entrench them in poverty. When children are sick, they can’t attend school and obtain the tools they need to rise out of poverty. On the other hand, providing access to clean drinking water solutions can transform lives and communities.
Suhana’s village received one of GFA World’s first Jesus Wells.9
Over the course of two decades, Suhana has witnessed the well become a stabilizing force in her community, enabling her and her neighbors to provide better futures for their children.
Before the Jesus Well was installed, the village faced many hardships because of their lack of clean water. Their only source of water was a dirty pond that evaporated in the summer.
The villagers rejoiced when a Jesus Well was installed and began providing clean water year-round.
Suhana and her neighbors soon came to rely on the Jesus Well for their cooking and cleaning as well as for watering their crops and for other daily needs. With their basic needs taken care of, Suhana now had time to earn enough money to send her children to school, and with a reliable source of clean water, her children weren’t as sick and missed fewer school days. People throughout the village could better grow their crops. The Jesus Well brought stability and health to the entire community.
In Vimal’s agrarian village, water scarcity threatened people’s very livelihoods.10
Most of the locals were farmers who relied on small ponds to irrigate their fields and sustain their livestock. But these farmers faced drought for four months of every year. As a result, they would fight over the only other water source in the area—a single well nearly a mile away that was the source for villagers’ daily cooking, bathing and cleaning needs. This increased demand exasperated the water crisis and led to conflict among neighbors waiting in line for water. There simply wasn’t enough to go around.
The water that was available to them was contaminated. One of Vimal’s relatives developed stomach aches from the unsafe drinking water. He soon died. A young boy in the village developed severe diarrhea. He also died. People in the village struggled with sickness and death.
Then a GFA missionary learned of the villagers’ need and arranged for a Jesus Well. An answer to Vimal’s prayers, the Jesus Well provided clean water even in times of drought. The community’s health improved tremendously, and there was enough clean water for everyone.
Another water shortage problem and solution that GFA World provides is BioSand water filters.
In some areas where GFA serves, there is a sufficient water supply, but it is contaminated. These filters remove 98 percent of biological impurities, protecting individuals from waterborne diseases and greatly impacting lives.
Keeva, for example, suffered from persistent stomach aches.11
Though she knew the stomach aches were caused by unclean water, there was nothing she could do about it. The only water source in her village was a single well that was contaminated and caused various health issues. Keeva and her husband couldn’t afford to purchase a water filter. Their meager income went to food and sending their three children to school.
Then the family received a BioSand water filter from a local GFA missionary. Finally able to drink clean water, Keeva gained relief from her stomach aches. Her suffering has been alleviated and her health dramatically improved.
These lives—and many others—have been impacted by access to clean water. More than 38 million men, women and children have gained such access through GFA World’s clean water initiatives.
1 “Water Supply & Sanitation.” World Water Council. https://www.worldwatercouncil.org/en/water-supply-sanitation. Accessed November 22, 2021.
2 Lisbona, Natalie. “Finding answers to the world’s drinking crisis.” BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57847654. August 2, 2021.
3 Lisbona, Natalie. “Finding answers to the world’s drinking crisis.” BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57847654. August 2, 2021.
4 “Water Inequality.” National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/water-inequality/. October 1, 2019.
5 “Water Inequality.” National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/article/water-inequality/. October 1, 2019.
6 Luby, Stephen. “Water Quality in South Asia.” Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2740663/ . June 2008.
7 “Water.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/water. Accessed December 6, 2021.
8 “Water Supply & Sanitation.” World Water Council. https://www.worldwatercouncil.org/en/water-supply-sanitation. Accessed November 22, 2021.
9 “New Bride, New Village, New Well. GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/new-bride-new-village-new-well-wfr20-03/. March 2020.
10 “Jesus Well Relieves Water Crisis.” GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/news/articles/gfa-world-jesus-well-relieves-water-crisis/. March 2019.
11 “Filtering Out Sickness.” GFA World. https://gospelforasia-reports.org/2020/03/filtering-out-sickness/. March 9, 2020.