From Jed Snyder, a summer intern with our implementing partner on projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, World Water Relief:
Coming back to Atlanta to finish my second year of graduate school at Emory, I take pride in getting the opportunity to work for an organization like World Water Relief. I am pursuing a masters degree in global-environmental health and often in my classes, we are presented with the challenge of international program sustainability. It’s times like these that I take the opportunity to advocate the work that World Water Relief does. They are truly unique in their commitment to the projects that they implement in each school. My colleagues always seem surprised when I tell them that World Water Relief guarantees ten year maintenance on their water filtration systems and that they have local staff that visits each project site weekly to make sure the systems are functioning properly.
Many of my colleagues have spent years working or volunteering abroad for different kinds of organizations. They find World Water Relief’s commitment surprising because they have been witness to countless program interventions that have failed due to limited maintenance and educational support. I too, was witness to this during my time spent in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. You see remnants of work from NGO programs but you rarely see the presence of the NGOs themselves. This is different with World Water Relief. When working with World Water Relief, you feel a part of the community and this is because you are. This community acceptance is, no doubt, attributed to the amazingly-dedicated in-country staff of World Water Relief. When the community sees the dedication of Sola checking the filtration systems in Barahona every week, Roodlin and Solo walking to each school and mentoring the kids in Haiti and Steffani and Yesenia working countless hours with the schoolchildren in the Bateyes, it can be contagious. It is this dedication that brings the success to World Water Relief programs and it is this dedication that will help change the culture of hygiene and sanitation in these communities.
It is very humbling to know that you can be a part of something that is going to change the lives of kids for more than ten years. In your mind, it’s almost impossible to picture the true impact that that is going to make. But during my time spent with World Water Relief, this impact was as clear as the water that they are supplying. As a part of my study, I had the opportunity to visit many different communities. The stark difference between communities where World Water Relief works compared to those that it does not, was surprising. The most noticeable difference was the confidence in the kids. You could see the confidence build in the kids involved with World Water Relief’s hygiene and sanitation clubs. This is easily the greatest impact that an organization can have. World Water Relief not only improves the health of the kids that it works with, but it opens their eyes to opportunities that could change their lives and in-turn change their communities.
I spent 87 days working in the Dominican Republic and Haiti with World Water Relief and right away I knew that the experience would go by too quickly. It’s hard to put in words, the experiences and emotions that I had during this time but I can say, it is something that I know has changed me as a person and has given me memories that I will never forget. I would like to thank everyone at World Water Relief that gave me this opportunity. Above all, I want to thank the donors. You are truly making a difference and none of this would be possible without you.