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Friday, April 19, 2024

Davis 1000 Wells Project fundraises to build wells in Africa

Imagine walking miles every day to collect water for your family, only to return with dirty and unsanitary water that you must drink to survive. This is a very realistic situation affecting over 2.5 billion people, and exactly what the Davis 1000 Wells Project is working to prevent.

The Davis 1000 Wells Project is a faith-based organization that works to fund the construction of clean and sustainable water sources for sub-Saharan African communities and to raise awareness in Davis. The Davis chapter was founded in 2005 by Tyson Babayco, a UC Davis alumnus, and has since been credited with the construction of two new wells, as well as the rehabilitation of six existing wells, in Lira, Uganda.

Nadine Custis, a senior international relations and Spanish double major and head coordinator of the project, said that their efforts have been successful so far.

“Considering that the cost of installing a new well can be up to $18,000, and up to $1,500 for repairing an existing well, the work of the Davis chapter has had very real implications on the success of the project,” Custis said in an e-mail interview.

The Davis 1000 Wells Project is a branch of the 1000 Wells Project created by the national nonprofit organization Blood Water Mission. Founded by the band Jars of Clay, the organization launched the project in 2005 with the goal of raising enough money to construct 1,000 wells to provide clean water and sanitation to 1,000 different communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Beyond merely constructing wells, the project strives to educate members of the African community about sustainability.

“This project is not about a big American company going in, installing a well and leaving, but rather integrating the African community into the research and implementation of the well,” Custis said. “This provides employment opportunities in the local community and ensures that the well will be maintained for years after its installation.”

As of December 2010, the 1000 Wells Project fulfilled its goal, and as a result, over 600,000 individuals now have access to clean water, allowing for improvements in health, sanitation, education and employment.

Though its main goal has been achieved, the Davis 1000 Wells Project is still actively fundraising for its cause. Its biggest fundraiser of the year, the Two Weeks of Sacrifice campaign, began on Saturday. For two weeks, participants will only drink water, instead of spending money on other beverages like coffee, juice, milk and tea.

“Everyone keeps a tally of the money they are saving and then donates those savings to 1000 Wells after the two weeks,” said Temidayo Odusolu, a junior English and economics double major and the coordinator of the campaign, in an e-mail interview. “The Two Weeks of Sacrifice campaign is a really great way to stand in solidarity with people across the world, and to spend two weeks really appreciating how blessed we are to have easy access to clean water.”

Students are encouraged to stop by the Davis 1000 Wells Project table on the quad between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. until April 30 to pick up a packet and wristband and to learn more.

“It’s crazy that $1 can provide a year’s worth of water for one person living in Africa. It’s so easy to help out,” said Luke Therien, a first-year undeclared life sciences major who visited the table on Picnic Day.

Odusolo is excited about the campaign, and optimistic about the future of the group.

“My hope is that the Davis 1000 Wells Project will continue to play a part in bringing clean water to communities in sub-Saharan Africa,” Odusolu said. ” I hope that our group will grow as more and more people realize the need for clean water and how easy it is to make such a profound difference.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the 1000 Wells Project, check out bloodwatermission.com, or contact the Davis chapter at davis1000wells@gmail.com.

RACHEL RILEY can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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