What inspires and motivates us?
Kite4Water grew from the recognition that NGOs, businesses, and volunteer travelers could be rallied together to fight the global clean water crisis. We were founded by travelers and humanitarians who were inspired by global NGOs that work to provide clean water for all. Our team discovered how to leverage their passions – traveling and kitesurfing – to give back to the water-stressed families and communities in regions where we, and so many others, travel.
Clean water is a basic human right. Yet, those in underserved areas are at a steep disadvantage. They are more prone to develop illnesses as a result of unclean drinking water. Children are most at risk. Each year diarrhoeal illness kills 760,000 children under five. The risk is higher after natural disasters, when government and aid agencies can struggle to reach these remote areas.
Using proven, innovative technology and strategic partnerships, we employ a low-cost method to make clean water a reality for everyone. We like to think of it as it clean water equality. The broad impact this technology has already had in over 70 countries around the world is what energizes and motivates our team.
We are creating a global network of NGOs, community leaders, and volunteers who deliver portable hollow fiber membrane (HFM) water filtration systems to communities in need of clean water.
This network revolves around efficiency: our core team works with volunteers already traveling on their own dime to fundraise for filtration systems, which are distributed to established local partner organizations in their destination. These travelers help us exponentially increase awareness of the clean water crisis.
On the ground, Kite4Water and local NGOs work with “community liaisons” to direct projects, conduct follow-up visits for efficacy and effectiveness, and liaise with Kite4Water when filters – eventually – need to be replaced.
The HFM filter technology removes virtually all bacteria and protozoa. Filters last for 1,000,000 gallons and can bring a household 20+ years of clean water. The filter’s high flow rate is ideal in disaster relief, yielding 500+ gallons of water per day.
What systemic challenge does our solutions address?
Lack of clean water access severely disrupts the quality of life, with detrimental health, economic, and social impacts. When a community’s water source is contaminated, people become sick, parents cannot work, children cannot attend school, social inequities are inflamed and life expectancy and quality plummet.
Many affected communities are in rural, hard to reach areas with unreliable infrastructure, and are out of reach of government and privately-funded water infrastructure projects. Kite4Water’s partnerships with in-country NGOs and community liaisons allows us to deliver filters to those remote areas, filling a systemic void.
What are our expected outcomes and impact?
It is critical to us that we provide a complete solution for remote communities without reliable access to clean water. At a minimum, we will place one water filtration system into every household, school, and community center in the areas where we commit to work. Our local partners will develop a baseline estimate of the number of filtration systems needed to achieve this outcome. After delivering filtration systems, the community liaison will play a major role in ensuring that this objective is fulfilled and communicating any unmet need in the community to our Project Director so additional systems can be purchased and delivered.
We expect to see several long-term impacts from this approach: by eliminating the risk of waterborne diseases, illness and death will be measurably reduced; better health will improve the economic circumstances of each household; and by providing clean water access to everyone, we won’t inflame socio-cultural inequities.
There are points within a broader system where one shift can create cascading impacts throughout. How does our solution work as part of a broader system to create impact?
Imagine the good that could happen when one organization with a small staff works toward the goal of clean water access for all. And how much greater will the impact be if that organization engages hundreds of global travelers in the process? That is the cascading impact we are working towards. Our strategy is to sincerely and deeply connect volunteer travelers – beginning with kitesurfers – to the places they visit by making them stakeholders in the outcome.
Our Program Coordinator will engage travelers throughout the process on how to run a fundraising campaign, leverage their personal donor network, and manage the logistics of transporting filters across the world.
We are creating a conscientious network where individuals can have a massive, cumulative effect. To recruit travelers, we will develop marketing materials and short documentaries of current projects that will be widely promoted on social media and among the target traveler community.
How will we evaluate our results and impact? Metrics, outcomes, and other indicators.
We are committed to doing this right. Before distributing filters, we will work closely with in-country NGOs and government agencies to identify communities that can benefit from this specific filter technology. We will collaborate with them to develop a customized parts and distribution plan to ensure we raise funds to purchase the correct associated components (faucet adapters or buckets) depending on water availability and storage needs.
We will work with in-country partners to identify a “community liaison.” This person will play a key role in the success and sustainability of each project. Working alongside the Project Director, the liaison will distribute filter systems, train recipients in proper usage and cleaning, use GIS tracking to record where filters are being used, and administer a brief survey on household usage and other drinking water sources.
Two weeks after initial delivery, the liaison will conduct follow-up visits to ensure the systems are being used properly, and will administer a second usage survey to evaluate the impact metrics developed by our team. The survey will measure statistics on: type of site (private or multi-use), the user (number, gender, age), comparison with prior water purification method (if any), and persistence or eradication of waterborne illness.
Who is our priority target community?
We assist underserved communities in South Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and Central America that experience a systemic lack of clean water access. These communities are often remote and clean water is not reliably piped or the clean water infrastructure is broken, unreliable, or nonexistent.
How will our solution create transformational impact for that community?
Clean water is a building block to a thriving community. Water means life, health, school, and jobs. Children suffering from chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and other more serious waterborne illnesses miss school and learning opportunities. Adults often struggle to work and care for their family. Healthy members of a community place less strain on overburdened medical centers, allowing doctors to focus on other health priorities. Safe drinking water can also be empowering. Losing fewer family members to premature death caused by waterborne disease creates a virtuous cycle in which families have a basic opportunity to achieve a better quality of life.
What scale means for our solution
Scale for us means three things. First, growing our network of volunteer travelers. They will complete their own fundraising to buy filters and pay for expenses, which exponentially increases the number of people that are working towards, and even just aware of, this monumental mission. Second, developing meaningful, lasting partnerships with on-site NGOs. Third, leveraging key private sector and celebrity partnerships to help us reach larger audiences of volunteers and financial supporters. Together, these three components will create a network that will deliver more filters to more communities in need.
What is our plan to scale the magnitude of this solution?
Beginning from year 1, the Program Coordinator will develop and implement the volunteer traveler program. This includes recruitment materials, volunteer application, suggested fundraising plan, safe packing and travel guide, liaising with all volunteers, and coordinating logistics of filters and components to be delivered.
The Project Director, staff, and advisors will research and vet on-site NGOs in our target regions that have experience with WASH projects, establish initial partnerships and begin to identify target communities that can benefit from portable, long-lasting filter technology.
The Project Director will continue to develop partnerships with the private sector and celebrity personalities in the travel, kiteboarding, and surfing industries to reach their following of potential volunteer travelers and humanitarians. We have a strong partnership with Sawyer Products to obtain filters below wholesale cost, and are already utilizing cameras provided by GoPro for a Cause to film and create documentaries publicizing our work.
What skills, capacity, and partnerships will allow us to deliver on our solution?
We are creating a broad network of NGOs, travelers, and partners in silicon valley that are highly valuable because they are the mechanism to raise funds and deliver solutions to those in need.
Our core team is comprised of experienced world travelers, who are experts at relationship building, training, and identifying leaders. Our solution involves working side by side with leaders in each community to head these projects. We are committed to every project for the life of our organization, and this means building strong connections that allow us to provide clean water access and stay up to date on filter performance and community impact. Thriving relationships are the key to success and sustainability, and also key to respectfully interacting with communities according to their cultural expectations.
Our partnership with Sawyer Products has allowed us to acquire filters at 33% of wholesale value, enabling our funds to go further.
Why is our solution bold? How is it different from other efforts addressing similar issues or efforts in this field?
We aren’t the first ones to try to provide solutions to the clean water crisis, but we are the first ones to put a plan in place to bring NGOs together. With this powerful new filter technology and strategies, we can all provide solutions at a much faster rate, more efficiently, and at a greater scale.
Our goal is not only to bring together ALL NGOs working in water filtration, sanitation, and hygiene, but to empower travelers to give back to the communities they visit around the world.
In addition, by working together we can bring more awareness to the problem and the root of it, reduce the spread of waterborne illness, and save more lives. We have a multi-pronged solution that not only brings clean water access to those in need all over the world, but exponentially increases the number of people that are working towards this monumental mission, and increases awareness of the clean water crisis as well as other hardships that rural and underserved communities face.