WATER FOR LIFE
can provide clean water
Clean and safe water is the key to a life well lived.
It is the key to immunity and health, helping families prevent disease and early death. It is the key to ensuring children are able to go to school and grow into their full potential. It is the key to empowering girls and women to reclaiming their health, dignity, safety and success.
You can be part of this amazing story, and it all starts here. With water.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The best charity is giving water to drink.” [Ahmad]
Water is essential to life. It means food can grow, people are healthy and life can flourish. A person can only survive on average three days without water, and if the water they have is dirty and contaminated, fatal diseases spread quickly and the effects are devastating.
We believe in providing water for life.
When we build a water system, we want to ensure that after we leave, the locals never need to ask for help accessing water again.
That’s why we take a carefully tailored approach in each area. In some areas there is no groundwater, so digging a water well won’t work – we build a system which catches rainwater instead. In countries which have wet, rainy seasons followed by long, dry periods, we construct micro-dams and reservoirs to store the water safely for use all year round. And to save women and children the difficult physical task of pumping water by hand, we harness natural energy with solar powered wells.
It isn’t just about building systems – it’s about building people too. We train local people to take care of their new systems, as well as teaching them how to use water safely to improve health and hygiene, so that when we leave, they have truly been given water for life.
Clean water helps with:
“When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.” – The Prophet (PBUH)
A continuing charity – sadaqa jariya – is one of the most valuable acts we can do in this life, which continues benefiting us in the afterlife. The Quran describes the reward of spending in charity as “a grain of corn which grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains” (2:261).
Water projects are a true example of how one act of charity keeps multiplying, bringing infinite benefit and reward. We hope that our water projects are not only a continuing charity, providing water for years to come, but also include beneficial knowledge for generations to come, teaching communities to access water and keep themselves and their children healthy.
If you’d like to build an entire well or water system, please contact us or email [email protected]. Wells start at $10,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
Islamic Relief primarily builds two types of wells – shallow tube wells and boreholes.
A shallow tube well is generally less than 50 feet deep and is beneficial when there are shallow water tables. Shallow tubes are also beneficial in areas that have naturally polluted deep water. Also at times, water found at deeper depths may have increased salinity and be too salty for human consumption, so shallow tube wells are a better solution.
A borehole, also referred to as a deep tube well, is over 50 feet deep. Boreholes can either have their own hand pump or be connected to a solar mini yard. Boreholes drilled through solar power come with a water tank. The water is pumped directly from the well to the reservoir tanks through the power provided by the solar panels. The water is then distributed to surrounding communities through water points.
In recent years, we have shifted our focus to boreholes because they are more sustainable and can last for more than a decade.
There is no standard cost due to different types of wells across countries and even regions within countries. Generally, the cost of a water well project can start from $5,000 to over $100,000, depending on the region and community’s needs.
For example, a borehole in Somalia can cost over $400,000, while a borehole in South Sudan around $55,000. For example, this is due to the depth that the well must be drilled to, based on the geophysical features of the land.
Costs vary due to a variety of factors. The main reasons include the geophysical aspects of the land, how deep the well needs to be drilled to reach safe water, the remoteness of the well’s location, and the cost of the required equipment, as well as transport, within that country.
Another major factor involved is also currency fluctuations. For example, at the onset of a project, it may cost $180,000; however, over the course of several months, project costs may increase to over $200,000 due to fluctuations in currency exchange.
When supporting the development of a well, a variety of costs are included. Costs of a borehole include installation and construction of the well, along with associated material costs, fuel, cement, and water quality testing. Furthermore, the cost includes the training of a water committee that oversees that maintenance and operation of the wells to make them more sustainable in the long term. Administration costs for logistical and personnel needs that are required for a water well project are also included.
Although it can be difficult to cover the entire cost of the well yourself, you can still indirectly cover the entire cost of a well by fundraising the amount within your community. This can be through Islamic Relief supported online tools like LaunchGood crowdfunding pages, or other independent efforts.
If you would like to contribute partially to building a well, you can donate any amount of your choice towards our Water for Life fund. Through this fund, you can support multiple water, sanitation and hygiene projects. Kindly note however, that we cannot provide any individual well reports if you opt for the general fund option.
WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. The main goal of WASH projects is to increase access to and use of safe water and sanitation. This generally includes the installation, construction and/or rehabilitation of wells in addition to building latrines and hand washing stations. This process involves conducting a geophysical survey to determine the well location, the purchase of necessary equipment and material, the transport of the equipment to the site of the well, the drilling and/or rehabilitation of the well, the water quality analysis, and the construction of external well structures, such as the hand pump, the solar panels, and/or the water tank
All our WASH implemented projects include culturally-sensitive hygiene and sanitation awareness sessions and the formation and training of community WASH committees. This ensures the sustainability of the project, as community members are trained in the operation and maintenance of the well. Donating towards the general Water for Life fund also goes towards funding shallow tube wells.
Islamic Relief builds wells primarily in Africa and Southeast Asia. Countries include (but are not limited to) Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Malawi, Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia, Niger, and Pakistan.
The reporting standards vary depending on the type of project. For any independently funded boreholes over $5,000, we provide an initial report and a final report to our donors. This will include a photo of the well, along with its location and the impact it has had on our beneficiaries.
For donors who choose to donate towards the general Water for Life fund, we send a more general report of completed and ongoing WASH projects implemented during the year.
Please note, we do not provide independent well reports unless an entire well is funded.
Water well projects can range from six months to 1-2 years. This time frame depends on whether the well project is stand alone or part of a larger, integrated project.
For example, a Niger project in which the sole purpose is the construction of a well can be completed within 9 months. On the other hand, for a bigger water system project in Mali where the well is just one of many components, the implementation can take around 2 years. Such a project typically includes a sustainable livelihood component through which the wells are constructed alongside irrigation systems and agricultural training. These wells would provide water for domestic use, but also for agricultural purposes and ultimately build a source of income.
Another factor that affects time frame is accessibility, which can slow down the completion of a project. This could look like security issues that prevent access to the project location, poor road infrastructure to the well site, or the impacts of natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes.
We typically implement various water projects in different countries. The prices tend to be higher than other organizations because our projects include much more than just building a simple well. It includes the installation and construction of the well, along with associated material costs, fuel, cement, and water quality testing. It also includes the costs required to establish a water committee which oversees the maintenance and operation of the well after the project is completed to ensure it is sustainable in the long term. Administrative costs for logistical and personnel needs are also included.
Additionally, the price usually ranges depending on the country and the region we work in. We make a conscious effort to work in regions that have low water levels, which means that access to water is very hard. Most of the areas we currently work in are drought-stricken areas in countries like Sudan and Niger which means that we need to drill deep to reach safe and clean water.