Water First International (Water 1st)
Since 2005, the Water1st community has given $15 million to fund 2,051 water projects, transforming the lives of 172,000 people.
Water1st was started in 2005 by a group of professionals with solid experience in the water and sanitation and fundraising sectors. Our focus was simple: build an organization from the ground up with the ability to consistently implement high-quality water and sanitation projects that provide permanent solutions for the world’s poorest communities. At that time there were very few non-profits focused solely on water and sanitation. There were even fewer that were consistently implementing projects that really addressed the underlying issues of access to water and toilets. For the sake of the world’s poorest, the status quo had to change. Addressing the water and sanitation needs of the world’s poorest is the one activity that, when done properly, generates benefits that can lift a community out of extreme poverty. There is no exaggeration in the statement: supporting and implementing water and sanitation projects properly is the best investment and best hope for the world’s poorest.
Why did the world need a new water and sanitation organization? Because 35-50% of water projects fail in the first 5 years. That appalling statistic has remained true for the past 30 years. Why? Because fundraising for new projects often takes priority over monitoring the old projects. This means that less than 10% of projects receive any follow-up attention after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and that organizations are not learning from past work and improving their outcomes. We knew it didn’t have to be that way – our experience proved that we had a method that was successful and provided permanent solutions to people’s water and sanitation needs.
Water1st was created to support water projects that would last. Our vision was to support local, on-the-ground organizations (our partners in this work) with a proven track record of implementing effective, long-lasting water and sanitation projects. And since most international nonprofit organizations do not follow up on their projects, we would be different.
In a world that entices us with new technologies, new inventions, and new gadgets, we have remained steadfast to our approach and mission. We have 2,051 projects still functioning today, proving that this respectful approach works.
Today, we are a grassroots organization of more than 7,000 supporters across the country, each doing what we can in our individual lives and communities to bring clean water and toilets to the world’s poorest people.
We invite you to join us in this exciting movement for effective, long-lasting change in the world – one water project, one community at a time.See more