The mission is simple: get clean water to every person who needs it.
Access to clean water improves personal and civic well-being, increases overall health, reduces poverty and increases opportunities for education and employment, contributing to the overall advancement of individuals and their communities. We work on the front lines to provide access to clean water through the distribution of portable water filters, the digging and renovating of wells, and the construction of rainwater harvesting and storing systems in places where groundwater is not accessible.
Founded by Jon Rose in 2009 as a way for travelers do what they love and help along the way, Waves For Water launched with a program called Clean Water Couriers -- a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) distribution network of travelers who carry water filters with them in their luggage, eliminating the distribution challenges faced by philanthropic aid programs. Since then, the Waves For Water programing has touched over 7 million people in more than 27 countries, including Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Brazil, Liberia, Mexico, India, and Colombia. The organization was also the first non-profit to team up with a U.S. Military battalion, in an active war zone, to help people in need along the Kunar River in Afghanistan.
In addition to our primary focus around clean water, we coordinate and execute natural disaster relief efforts around the world. Over the past four years, we’ve responded to almost every major global disaster, earthquake or tsunami: in Nepal, Bosnia, Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti, Japan, and Chile; in Pakistan, India and Mexico; and on the east coast of the United States with a comprehensive initiative in response to “Superstorm-Sandy."
Do What You Love and Help Along the Way
Waves For Water’s philosophy is rooted in “doing what you love and helping along the way.” It’s about following your heart and plugging purpose into your passion. We encourage people to look at aid-work or humanitarianism as a lifestyle, rather than a component of doing good and giving back. It’s a paradigm shift in the way we currently think: you do what you love - sail, surf, bike, hike, etc.... and then plug in a purpose along the way. Not only does it create a very vital existence, it enhances everything you do.
Guerrilla Humanitarianism is about taking a no - nonsense, stripped down approach to determining the essentials needed to complete a task: you take matters into your own hands, bringing a solution directly to a problem, under the radar and around the red tape. Encouraged by the proven efficiency of this model, Waves For Water is focused on effecting a global change, one that addresses the challenges faced by philanthropic initiatives in a more decentralized way.
Help the Helpers
Based on our experience of developing and empowering local networks, Waves For Water partners with organizations, corporations, and/or individuals to implement our programs through those who choose to use their skills to step up and take on leadership roles in their respective communities. This process enables us to truly connect with people, establish a sense of trust and rapport, and provide a high level of individual attention and personal care to all of our projects. It’s our belief that collectively we have the ability to stand as one.
As a professional surfer for 13 years, Jon Rose traveled the world in pursuit of perfect waves. His adventures led him to some of the most breathtaking and remote locations in the world and he was aboard a boat off the coast of Sumatra during a surf trip in Sept. 2009 when he felt a slight shake.
He had no way of knowing that a 7.6 magnitude earthquake had destroyed the city of Padang – with more than 1,000 lives lost and 100,000 homeless – until he came to shore and saw the devastated city.Jon happened to be en route to Bali to deliver 10 water filters for what would have been his first Waves For Water mission. But with tragedy striking Sumatra, he made his way through the crumbled buildings in the early hours after the quake to get water filters into the hands of rescue workers to help the overwhelmed country and wounded victims in need of clean water.
It was at that moment Jon’s life would change – and in turn, so would the lives of others who would soon have access to clean water. The eye-opening experience solidified the need for Waves For Water.
Not long after, tragedy had hit Haiti. The devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and injured 250,000 more. Jon quickly teamed up with relief organizations that allowed him to work with partners such as the United Nations in getting water filters to communities in distress. Over the last 5 years over roughly 3 million Haitians (with a population of 9 million) have been touched by our programming, through over 15 partnerships. And our work continues there today.
The Waves For Water objective is to identify the problem and quickly connect an existing user-friendly solution. The long-term goal for Waves For Water is to be proactive, rather than reactive. There is no reason anyone should die from lack of clean water, people have already done the hard work and have developed technology solutions that help eliminate senseless deaths. It is our job to make sure that technological solutions and quality education are in the hands of those who need them. In addition, individuals who are traveling to areas in need can easily eliminate the distribution challenges most bureaucracies face in philanthropic aid programs.
One in six people still do not have access to clean water and that is ridiculous, we strongly believe that as a group, as a movement, we can solve this problem in our lifetime.