New Global Women for Water Mission

Radio Host Sharon Kleyne has announced a new global women’s mission to educate the world about water shortages, water recycling and the need for governments to work together to solve water problems. The mission will be called “Women for Water”. Kleyne made the announcement during an interview on her radio show, the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water®, while interviewing guest Jerry Wiles, President of Living Water International. Wiles and Kleyne had been discussing the critical importance of women to the success of his agency’s many water projects around the world.

As a woman entrepreneur, researcher and educator, Kleyne has been an outspoken water advocate and activist for over 30 years. Kleyne is a member of the International Woman’s Association.

Living Water International was founded in 1990 to bring safe and reliable water to rural areas in developing nations in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. As of 2014, with an annual budget of $28 million, the organization has constructed over 14,000 water wells. Jerry Wiles, PhD, was President of Living Water International for 12 years and is now President Emeritus. The current president is Gary Evans.

During the interview, Wiles noted that historically, women are far more impacted than men by water shortages and unsafe water. In rural villages in developing nations, the task of fetching water each day from the nearest creek or pond is considered “woman’s work.” This sometimes entails carrying water for several miles. The women usually bring their children, and young girls are trained to fetch and carry water at an early age.


“For I Was Thirsty and You Gave Me to Drink”

Dr. Wiles is Director is Living Water International, a Christian organization that provides water to rural areas, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South America. He began his career teaching at the college level, then became involved in missionary work. He was recruited by Living Water seven years ago.

The organization was founded in 1991, with the original intent to build churches until they discovered the terrible worldwide need for reliable and sanitary water. Since then, they have funded 7,000 wells, serving 7 million people.

Although much of their financing is by volunteer help and private donation, they also have corporate sponsors, including oil companies. Oil and water well drilling have many transferable concepts and often, in desert areas, finding water can be of greater economic importance than finding oil.

Dr. Wiles pointed out that without good water, there can be no economic development or meaningful health care. A village can get by with no electricity but must have water. Currently, one billion people in the world (of 6.8 billion) lack access to abundant and safe water. 2.8 billion lack basic sanitation (toilets and sinks).

The Living Water program involves numerous women who would otherwise spend their entire days walking to get water (usually from a contaminated source such as a river or lake) and carrying it back. Freeing women and children from this task is also a human rights issue. Women become free to involve themselves in the community and children are free to go to school. LWI also provides hygiene training (such as hand washing), training in health and sanitation and training in well maintenance and water quality monitoring (well water is less likely to be contaminated than surface water but water from deep wells can contain toxic minerals).

Sharon talked about the humidity in the air and the importance of water in oxygen absorption by the lungs and skin surface.

LWI mostly supplies hand pumps, which break frequently (there are currently over 100,000 broken hand pumps in Africa) and do not supply toilets or sinks (But it’s the first step). Currently, LWI receives ten times more requests than they can handle. They have built wells, and founded community based organizations to administer them, in over 70 countries.

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