At Altruic Advisors, we work exclusively with nonprofit organizations. After spending so much time with these amazing organizations - and the dedicated people who make it all possible - we can’t help but want to share their stories! Placing these organizations on firm financial footing is a meaningful and rewarding task, and our Client Spotlight series demonstrates how each of our nonprofit clients is special in their own way.
Freshwater Project International supports the implementation of community-led water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in Malawi, Africa. From their office in Golden, Colorado, Freshwater Project International partners with health-focused NGOs, government agencies, and local communities to provide clean water and safe sanitation in villages, schools, and health centers in Malawi. Read on to find out what YOU can do to help Freshwater Project International create good!
What is Freshwater Project International's core mission? How are you trying to “create good” in the world?
Our global family in Malawi drink, cook and bathe with dirty and diseased water, even though fresh aquifers lay just under the earth. Young girls have no toilet at school and choose to stay home to avoid the embarrassment of open defecation or menstruation. Water-borne diseases are spread through lack of hand-washing facilities.
Our mission is to change that reality in Malawi by providing people in rural communities with access to fresh, clean water, safe sanitation, hand-washing facilities and proper hygiene training so that they can enjoy good health, attend school, provide for their families and improve their life quality.
How did Freshwater Project International get its start? When was it founded?
Heidi Rickels met Charles Banda, a water professional from Malawi, through her work with a Denver-based medical supplies nonprofit. Getting to know Charles and learning about the staggering presence of preventable waterborne illness in Malawi inspired Heidi and led her to co-found Freshwater Project International in 2012 with filmmaker Amy Hart. (Hart made a documentary about the global water crisis called Water First, which features Charles Banda.) Although Charles passed away in 2013, Freshwater Project International continues to bring water to his home country. Currently, Heidi runs the outreach and administration from Golden while Henrick Kunkeyani, the new Country Director, leads the project implementation and government and community relations in Malawi.
What are some of your current projects? Do you have any upcoming events you’d like to share?
One of our current projects is providing comprehensive water and sanitation to five schools near Lilongwe, Malawi. Each school will receive latrines, a well, hand-washing facilities, menstrual hygiene stations, hygiene education, and Procter & Gamble Water Purifier Packet distribution. We plan to begin drilling the five boreholes this August. The project is in partnership with the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, Procter & Gamble, and H20 for Life.
Meanwhile, here in Colorado we have two exciting events coming up: Walk for Freshwater in Golden on October 8th and BBQ for Freshwater in Castle Rock on September 24th. These events are ways for people to be engaged with the water and sanitation crisis and contribute financially to practical solutions with FPI. Come join us; find out more here!
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about your organization?
Freshwater Project International’s projects originate with a request and commitment to help from the local community. We place a heavy importance on community ownership, not only during construction but in maintaining the project. Community contributions typically look like manufacturing bricks or helping supplying concrete. Each community also establishes a Water Point Committee, comprised of at least 60% women, which will take charge of the project construction. This level of community-led activity is absolutely critical for meaningful and sustainable impact.
How can people support Freshwater Project International?
Anyone can participate or donate to our two upcoming events: Walk for Freshwater in Golden and BBQ for Freshwater in Castle Rock. Specifically for Walk for Freshwater, we are looking for fundraising leaders and participants for this family friendly event. The day will include a 3K walk with activities that help people understand daily life in Malawi. Participants will also enjoy music, food, and prizes. Visit our event site to sign up now!