Here at Miami, and in the United States at large, we are lucky to have access to a supply of water that is both clean and abundant. Clean water is so ubiquitous for us that we hardly ever stop to think about how uncommon it is in global terms to have fresh water constantly at our fingertips.
Think about how many times you use water every day: to drink, to wash your dishes, to clean your clothes, to shower and to go to the bathroom. In the developing world, the story is completely different. I met with Jordan Griebner, the founder of the Wells Project chapter at Miami, to talk about her organizations’ efforts to help make easy access to clean water a reality for more people in developing countries.
The Wells Project’s mission is to save lives through building clean-water wells in developing countries. An offshoot of Living Water International, the Wells Project was founded at Texas A&M and currently has chapters in around 20 schools across the nation, mostly concentrated in Texas. Griebner was inspired to found the Miami chapter last year after being involved with Living Water through her church at home. It is currently the only chapter in Ohio. Griebner told with me that she was really motivated to continue her work with clean water when she learned more people die from problems stemming from a lack of clean water (diseases, dehydration, etc.) than from war and AIDS combined.
The Wells Project’s main fundraiser, the Ten Days Campaign, takes place in the fall. This campaign challenges Miami students to drink nothing but water for ten days while reallocating the resources that they would have spent on other beverages such as coffee and sports drinks toward well-building efforts. This fall they raised around $1,300. This is significant, because $20 can provide clean water for one person for a whole year. All of the proceeds go toward helping villages in Rwanda build wells for easier access to clean water.
On April 19, the Wells Project will be hosting a “Walk-A-Thon” challenge on Slant Walk. Students will be challenged to carry a five gallon can about half way down Slant Walk in order to raise awareness about the plight of women and children in developing countries that often have to walk up to eight miles a day with one of these cans, which can weigh about 50 pounds, in pursuit of water that is often contaminated. This summer, the organization is also sending four members to Guatemala to build a well there.
The Wells Project currently consists of about 15-20 regularly attending members. If you’d like to get involved, meetings are on Monday nights at 7 pm in Upham 163. You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Written by: Kayla Chapa