A World Water Corp volunteer assignment: Malawi



Every day, nearly 6,000 people die from water-related illnesses, and the vast majority of them are children.  On October 14th, 2011 I will be headed to Malawi with 4 other team members for a 2-week assignment with the World Water Corps (http://www.waterforpeople.org/programs/how-we-work/world-water-corps/), the international volunteer arm of Water for People (WFP).  WFP is a nonprofit supporting the development of locally sustainable water resources and sanitation in developing countries (www.waterforpeople.org). I am a geologist with Taber Consultants (www.taberconsultants.com) and have been working on domestic groundwater remediation projects in the environmental consulting industry for three years.  I\'m thrilled about this opportunity to utilize my skills in a developing country!

Malawi is a small country in Southern Africa and one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. My assignment is a water, sanitation, and hygiene mapping exercise to determine the level of services in communities and public institutions as part of a continuous monitoring process. One of the many things that sets WFP apart from other organizations in the water and sanitation nonprofit sector is dedication to life long, sustainable change. Our task will include visiting and interviewing community members in 95 villages to collect such data on:

-their level of access to safe water

-household access to improved sanitation

-level of water services

-level of household hygiene behavior

-status of water point functionality and management

The data we collect will be tethered with a GPS location and uploaded to the FLOW (field level operations watch) database in order to produce a GIS map and a summary report exemplifying the real areas of greatest need for water resources and sanitation development and education.  The report and map will go to the WFP headquarters in Denver, CO to support decision making at the next level of resource development projects with UNICEF and UNESCO.

Check it out for yourself (this map shows exactly what I will be doing):


Using Android cell phones, combined with GPS and Google Earth software, FLOW facilitates monitoring and evaluation that is essential to fully understanding the progress of work, and implementing proactive changes that reduce development time and improve success.

Read more about FLOW here:http://www.waterforpeople.org/programs/field-level-operations-watch.html

Read more about the WFP's work in Malawi here:http://www.waterforpeople.org/programs/africa/malawi.html


Since the World Water Corps is entirely volunteer based, I have to cover all costs of this volunteer mission.  I need to raise at least $3000 to cover airfare, vaccines, lodging, and food.  As a volunteer for the World Water Corps, I am sworn to complete this mission even if fundraising goals are not met; I am responsible for fronting the difference. Please use this site to donate whatever you can give and you too will become part of delivering a positive change.  Without the work of World Water Corps volunteers, millions of villagers in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Malawi, Nicaragua, Rwanda, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, and Uganda would continue to live in the wrath of the world water and sanitation crisis without hope of change.


In order to raise awareness about this volunteer assignment and the world water crisis, on July 9th, 2011 I attempted one of the most challenging California bike events, The Death Ride (www.deathride.com).  I wasn\'t able to complete the entire ride given it was my first year, but after 8 hours of riding, I completed 75 miles and 9500 feet of climbing before calling it a day!  It was a successful day!  This ride was the largest physical challenge I've ever undertaken, but it will never compare to the challenges faced by those living with the world water crisis.  Every day women in developing countries spend countless untold hours finding, collecting, and carrying cans of water.  Women can\'t aspire to do anything, such as seek an education or medical attention for themselves or their children, when countless hours are spent collecting water that is likely unsafe for consumption. Around the world, 884 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion are without adequate sanitation facilities. 


Please donate now.  When it comes to helping bring safe water to remote villages in developing countries:every dollar helps!!!  


For those dedicated to making a change and able to dig deep:

$65 donations will receive individual email updates and photos:

$120 donations will receive a DVD with all of the above:

$200 donations get ALL of the above plus beautiful Malawi souvenirs! 


Think, how much do you spend per month on bottled water? As summer approaches and temperatures rise your body will start craving more water. Consider all the clean water you use daily: drinking, cooking, showers, brushing your teeth, washing our hands, etc.  What if you had to walk 20 miles for a gallon of water?  This is more than a matter of being thirsty; it's a matter of life or death. 


Donate, please. ANYTHING helps.  Seriously, anything helps!  Help me bring positive change to the villages of Malawi.




With deepest gratitude and a thirst for change,


Sierra Nelmes

[phone redacted]

[email redacted]

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Sierra Nelmes 
Sacramento, CA
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