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Water for People

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, International, International Development, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Rural Economic Development

Mission: Founded in 1991, Water For People is a Denver-based private, nonprofit international humanitarian organization that supports the development of sustainable safe drinking water resources and improved sanitation facilities in developing countries.

Results: We help build communities that are funding, building, maintaining and replacing their systems when needed. We’re focusing on lasting solutions by leveraging local resources, testing innovative ideas and monitoring our work over time. We're creating a current of change.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2008 - 184,705 ; 2009 - 365,000, 2010 - 218,457

Geographic areas served: Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Malawi, Nicaragua, Peru, Rwanda, Uganda

Programs: During 2014, water for people supported safe drinking water projects in africa, asia, central and south america serving 195,156 beneficiaries. During 2014, water for people supported sanitation projects in africa, asia, central and south america serving 108,393 beneficiaries. During 2014, water for people supported hygiene education in africa, asia, central and south america serving 269,642 beneficiaries. During 2014, water for people completed work in 213 schools, 4 health clinics, and 539 communities throughout the world. Country program support: (see schedule o)africa:programs operating in malawi, rwanda and uganda supported safe water for 101,420 beneficiaries and sanitation for 52,185 beneficiaries. Typical water projects included afridev hand pumps, communal water kiosks, piped water supply and rainwater catchment systems. Sanitation included improved ventilated pit latrines and ecological sanitation latrines. Initiatives included sanitation as a business and water as a business. Central america:work in guatemala, honduras and nicaragua supported safe water for 5,239 beneficiaries and sanitation for 3,573 beneficiaries. Typical water projects were gravity-fed water systems, including a storage tank, underground distribution network and household connections with micro-meters. Some systems also included electric pumps. Sanitation consisted of pour flush and flush toilets, ecological sanitation latrines and ventilated improved pit latrines. Initiatives included local water resource management, sanitation as a business, and the school water, sanitation and hygiene plus community impact (swash+) program. India:water for people worked with 256 communities and 107 schools in six districts of west bengal and sheohar, bihar in india to support safe water for 82,087 beneficiaries and sanitation for 51,834 beneficiaries. Typical water projects included tube wells with phe six handpumps and drinking and handwashing stations in schools. Sanitation facilities implemented were household pour flush latrines and sanitary blocks in schools. Innovative initiatives included a sanitation as a business, school wash and a mobile mechanics program. South america:water for people worked in bolivia and peru to support safe drinking water for 6,410 beneficiaries and sanitation for 801 beneficiaries. Typical water systems are household rainwater catchment or gravity-fed schemes including a storage tank, underground piping and household connections with micro-meters. Some systems included electric pumps. Sanitation technology consisted of primarily pour flush and flush toilets and ecological sanitation latrines. Initiatives included local water resource management and sanitation as a business.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I am a big supporter of the Mission of Water for People. I am a bit interested on why Pope Francis is pushing Water.org? Any feedback on possible reasons.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The thing that sold me on Water For People is they are in the business of making the communities where they work NEVER need another NGO ever again. That is real development, and that is why I support them.

5 Meghan L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I saw a negative comment on here of 1 star and I wanted to make a statement to clarify that they are actually a LEAN organization and nowhere near a 1-star status. My cousin works for Water For People and she talks so highly of the organization that when I was looking to donate to a worthwhile organization I started doing my research on them, and I can say it, they are a GREAT transparent and accountable organization. They have never gone over 19% of overhead (Management and fundraising expenses). In fact, in reviewing the 990 from 2009 (which the 1-star comment refers too) they actually only spent 17% on overhead expenses. Even more, Water For People’s comment states they actually had 150 employees in 2009, I would say that many employees getting paid out of $3million alongside other management and fundraising costs… and with the impact they had in 2009 and continue to have in the places where they work…. Um, I would say THAT IS A HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION and a FIVE-STAR status.



Rating: 5

In response to Robroy, I am sorry you must have misunderstood the form, and it is something to be carefully read. Your facts may be inaccurate. This organization has fervently been helping and building itself to get crucial water for peoples of countries and areas that do not have the luxury of tap water at hand for the majority of us, or a quick stop at the convenient store for a bottle, or freely put on tables at restaurants, many of do not even drink! I suggest you watch "The Flow of Water" and rethink and reread this document. See how a major corporation who manufactures many of the products you probably consume, has bought so much land the water comes from in many regions of India, then charge them for it. India makes no money on this. Water for People is NOT a corporation and is of a humanity base. Strictly out of compassion and love for humanity. We should all be like this. Please read again and see it all deeper. I have seen the passion of Water For People.. Thank you.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This organizations recent (2009) Form 990 indicates that about $3 million goes to salaries, for an organization with 5 employees, out of their $8 million revenue. Something doesn't make sense here. Simply the fact that about 38 cents of every $1 of revenue goes to salaries in the organization is concerning- why the high overhead? And for only 5 employees? Where is the $3 million in salary & compensation going? This organization needs a full and transparent audit before I even consider donating.

Comments ( 1 )


waterforpeople 10/03/2011

Water For People has about 150 employees throughout 10 countries. Not sure how the miscommunication was caused, but we completely welcome any questions about costs and compensation. Transparency is of utmost concern for us. Please check out the 2010 990: http://www.waterforpeople.org/assets/pdfs/financials/2010-form-990.pdf. To contact us, please email info@waterforpeople.org. Thank you

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

Around the world, developing countries are littered with broken down wells and abandoned latrines. Clean water and safe sanitation are truly compelling needs. However, it does little good to meet these needs if systems quickly break; if girls have to return to a life of carrying water, and babies are again dying from preventable waterborne illnesses. Water For People goes beyond just counting how many people have services that first year. It places greater emphasis on how long those systems last—if they are truly sustainable in future years. Our family foundation has made several major gifts to Water For People. Our due diligence has revealed a well run, transparent, and honest organization However, the key differentiation is that their monitoring and evaluation results are compelling. The tangible proof of sustainability shows that our funds money and time are well invested.

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

Last spring I was fortunate to visit Uganda. While there, I had the opportunity to visit some of the rural communities where Water For People is working with local groups to provide safe water and sanitation. It was truly moving to see the respectful manner with which Water For People staff worked with the local community members. But even more moving was seeing the impact that clean water and sanitation had on the lives of people in the community. It really does change lives.