Self-promotion alert! Need I say more? Of course not!
In the August issue of National Driller Associate Editor Valerie King has a piece, 'Sustainable Approaches to Water Well Charity' in which she interviews yours truly, friend and colleague Steve Schneider, and Richard Greenly about hydrophilanthropic work involving groundwater and well drilling. It's a very good piece and I am grateful to Valerie and ND for the opportunity to wax profound (??) on a topic dear to my heart. I know Steve and Richard feel the same. They, too, are 'true believers'.
A few clarifications.
The article leaves the impression that my foundation, the ACJ Foundation, funds water-well drilling projects in Central America. I likely left Valerie with that perception, especially since the photo I provided involved the Embera Indians of Panama drilling a water well that I had provided them, but not through my foundation. These days the ACJF pretty much works exclusively in Honduras in an area where groundwater is not a viable source for potable water and drilling wells would be extremely difficult.
Valerie begins her article thusly:
More than 600 million people around the world lack improved drinking water sources, according to a June 2015 UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) report on sanitation and drinking water. The Joint Monitoring Program (JPM) formed by the two organizations has monitored sanitation and drinking water progress since it set the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 15 years ago. The MDGs challenged the global community to reduce the proportion of the population without safe drinking water and basic sanitation by half. Although the global target for drinking water was met in 2010, the least developed countries have yet to meet it.
She is not to blame for citing sources that do not adequately distinguish between 'improved' and 'safe' drinking water sources. The two terms are not synonymous.
Valerie begins with this about Steve Schneider:
Speaking of charity, which is naturally how many people view and express the act of bringing water wells to those without reliable water, the concept is a bit problematic, according to Steve Schneider, a certified master groundwater contractor who published 'Water Supply Well Guidelines for Use in Developing Countries.' He says his objective isn’t to go to developing countries, drill wells for them and return home; it’s to teach them how to do it themselves. “I can impact more lives teaching somebody to fish than I can going and fishing for them and it’s true in well construction.”
Richard Greenly also feels strongly about teaching:
Greenly also views teaching as a vital step in the charity water well process. Water4 trains people to drill. The foundation has one manufacturing facility and training facility in Ghana and one in Ethiopia. They use the location to manufacture rigs and pumps, train drillers, sell supplies, share contracts with franchise drillers and offer drillers loans to carry out drilling contracts. “It’s a complete market-based approach,” Greenly says. “It’s way different than anything else that’s out there.”
Shill alert! Valerie does a superb job discussing the important issues and interweaving information from three sources. Be sure to read her entire piece.
“Don’t just go there and lecture. Absolutely do not do that. Have demonstrations. We do drilling fluid demonstrations, we do chip bentonite hydration demonstrations, we have PowerPoints and things like that, but we also ask if the locals can participate.” - Steve Schneider