Grant Supports Strengthening Municipal Water Systems and Schools in Abaco Islands
Water Mission Contact Gregg Dinino
Public Relations Director
N. Charleston, SC – July 24, 2020 – Water Mission, a nonprofit Christian engineering organization, has received a $250,000 grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) to support ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. The grant is part of CDP’s 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund, which supports a joint rebuilding effort between Water Mission, UNICEF, the Government of The Bahamas, local authorities, and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
Water Mission’s partnership with UNICEF began in the early days of post-Dorian. Besides a financial contribution of $1.2 million made available for emergency interventions in water and sanitation sector, UNICEF also ensured a “build-back-better” approach in the project’s design in coordination with local authorities such as Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) and the Ministry of Education for the long-term sustainability of the projects.
The CDP grant for Water Mission contributes to two priority community-based projects. The first will create one of the largest solar arrays in the Bahamas, providing disaster resilience for WSC’s municipal water systems in the Marsh Harbour wellfields in the Abaco Islands. Marsh Harbour was one of the hardest hit communities in the Bahamas, with homes and infrastructure destroyed within hours of Hurricane Dorian making landfall. Innovative solar technology will integrate with the local power grid, providing consistent energy output to 22 of 25 wells. The solarization effort is focused on restoring a previously-fragile water delivery system and ensuring reliable water access for thousands of citizens in the event of a future storm.
The second project provides safe water for six area schools. Water Mission is partnering with Friends of the Environment to install rainwater collection systems, safe water storage capabilities, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) education for school children, which includes best hygiene practices to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Water Mission will also install a rain catchment system at the Kenyon Research Centre, which is owned by Friends of the Environment and aims to facilitate research on Abaco by providing lower cost housing, storage, basic lab facilities, and logistical assistance.
“WSC’s Marsh Harbour water systems will be more resilient and reliable in the face of any future storm thanks to the Abaco Sunny Waters project,” said Water Mission CEO, George C. Greene IV, PE. “Our commitment has remained constant to the people of Abaco, starting with our immediate response in the first days of Hurricane Dorian, through the ongoing recovery effort strengthening water access for the citizens of Abaco, and safe water and WASH education to local school children.”
Additionally, Water Mission’s recovery work in the Abaco Islands is a part of a government-led program supported by UNICEF on the Marsh Harbour solarization project. The first phase of the project is well under way with local crews pouring the concrete for the ballasts that will hold hundreds of solar panels providing the surrounding community with a more energy-efficient, and reliable water system that is strengthened to endure future storms. Approximately 300 of 1,000 solar panels will be installed in the first phase of the project, providing 122 kilowatts of power to WSC, helping to increase operational water production pump efficiency at Marsh Harbour’s 25 wells by up to 33%.
Water Mission was one of the first disaster response groups on the ground when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas 11 months ago, quickly providing safe water and sanitation solutions. This category 5 storm devastated the Abaco Islands requiring an extensive ongoing recovery effort. Water Mission’s presence has been constant throughout starting with a disaster response in the immediate days after the storm hit, to important ongoing recovery project work bringing safe water, sanitation, and WASH education solutions. To learn more and follow project updates, visit watermission.org.
About Water Mission
Water Mission is a nonprofit Christian engineering organization that designs, builds, and implements safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions for people in developing countries and disaster areas. Since 2001, Water Mission has used innovative technology and engineering expertise to provide access to safe water for more than five million people in 56 countries. Water Mission has 350 staff members working around the world in permanent country programs located in Africa, Asia, North, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. Notably, Charity Navigator has awarded Water Mission its top four-star rating 13 years in a row, a distinction shared by less than one percent of the charities rated by the organization. To learn more, visit watermission.org.
UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to protect the rights of every child. UNICEF has spent 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families. UNICEF is on the ground before, during, and after emergencies, working to reach children and families with lifesaving aid and long-term assistance. UNICEF country teams work inclusively with governments, civil society partners and donors, to improve WASH services for children and adolescents, and the families and caregivers who support them. To learn more, visit unicef.org.
About the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP)
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to leverage the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that strengthen the ability of communities to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. CDP manages domestic and international Disaster Funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localized grantmaking. For more information, visit: http://disasterphilanthropy.org, call (202) 464-2018 or tweet us @funds4disaster.