PWW: 20+ Years of Evolution

PWW’s mission is to improve lives by empowering people with access to life’s most basic necessities…safe water and sanitation. PWW partners with underserved communities, delivering critical technologies and education to establish sustainable safe water, hygiene, and sanitation programs. With these essential tools and practices in place, children, families and communities are empowered with the life-changing foundation for health, hope, and opportunity.

In 1994, Peter Abell (pictured right, center), a dentist from Vermont, was on a medical mission trip to serve children and families in rural El Salvador. Mr. Abell was deeply moved by the poor living conditions, especially the lack of clean water that was critical to his efforts and the health of children. He returned to Vermont determined to make a difference. A dedicated Rotarian, Mr. Abell engaged members of his club to help, and the Brattleboro Rotary Club launched a project to provide potable water to rural villages. The project’s success exceeded the club’s capacity, and, in 1999, Pure Water for the World, Inc. was established as a 501(c)(3) organization.

When the project began, the goal was to simply provide people in rural areas with access to clean water. During the initial efforts, the group installed solar pasteurization units in community schools. However, due to the high cost and requirement for sunshine, they set out to find a more efficient, effective purifying method. After reaching out to experts and researching options, keeping in mind the limitations of the regions in which they were working (no electricity, no running water, no stores for parts, extremely limited income), the biosand water filter was selected. The team learned how to build the filters, source the sand and gravels, and train the beneficiaries to properly use them.

With the filters in place, families were experiencing much needed change. The team gained invaluable experience and feedback about the filter project, and it became evident that there are many more layers to providing effective, long-term safe water programs in communities. This understanding led to an expansion beyond the filter that continues evolving to this day.

Over the last 20 years, the PWW WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) program has grown exponentially, integrating multiple layers and steps to deliver a comprehensive, sustainable solution. The PWW team regularly tests and evaluates the programs and services, always seeking opportunities for improvement in program efficiency and impact.

This diagram demonstrates the many components that go into implementing a safe water and sanitation program. Each of the components integrates with one another to provide a solution that supports the elimination of waterborne illnesses in communities served. As a result, children and families are empowered with a foundation for health that opens new doors to their future.

Stay tuned to our website for more stories sharing PWW’s evolution through the years.