World Water Day 2017


In the age of social media, we’re suddenly aware of every silly celebration like International Talk Like A Pirate Day and urged to celebrate “accAHRRrrdingly”. While I’m just as much of a fan of National Send A Card To A Friend Day as I’m sure you are, today we wanted to stop and really focus on why today, March 22nd, World Water Day exists.

Naturally this is an important day to us here at Water To Thrive. Sometimes it’s more fun to focus on National Cake Day (November 26th in case it’s not on your calendar like it is on mine), than to stop and think about not having clean water, which is the reality for so many globally. WWD was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. Currently over 663 million people worldwide are living without a safe water supply close to home. That’s an overwhelming statistic that is hard to comprehend let alone know how to react to. The UN however, didn’t designate today as WWD just in an effort to raise awareness. They designated it as a day of action.


It’s easier to feel like you’re contributing by biking to work on Earth Day or buying chocolate for a loved one at the grocery store for Valentine's Day. But how do you “celebrate” World Water Day? We’ve all been at this point of overwhelmed inaction at some point. The gravity of the problem is so big that we get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing because it’s easier. We get it, 663 million is a big number. But so is 400,000, which is the number of lives Water To Thrive has been able to impact through the wells we’ve built in remote villages in Africa. Each well that we build costs $5,000 to fully fund, another big number. What we so often forget is that numbers are made significant by the context of time, quantity or bigger amount they are put into. For instance, 20 years is much harder to wrap our minds around than 1 year. 663 million people is basically impossible to fathom, but 7 people is manageable. Depending on who you are, $5,000 might seem like a fortune, but $70 for some of us is the coffee budget for the month.


Today, on this day of action, we don’t want to focus on the big numbers - sometimes it’s more than we know what to do with. But a number is constructed of lots of smaller numbers working together to get to the bigger number, and that’s where our focus lands. Our reality, and our focus today, is that $70 provides clean water for a family of 7 for 20 years. Those are 3 small numbers with a huge impact - not on numbers, but on people’s lives. If $70 is still too large for you to consider, what about just $10 which provides one person the gift of clean water? We’re all human and we’re all responsible for each other. Today we’re not focusing on wells, we’re focusing on people.


On this World Water Day, commit to changing lives through clean water. Whether you help 7 people today or just one, know that it ALL matters. You have the power to make a difference. Donate now by going to


Happy SXSW


If you’re here in Austin, TX with us this week, then you may be enjoying all the SXSW festivities. Music has become such a big part of the culture here in Austin, that it got us to thinking about how music plays such a big role in people's’ lives across the globe. An experience we always love is getting to immerse ourselves in the the Ethiopian culture when we go visit the wells we’re working on in Africa. We’d be lying if we said that the singing and dancing that takes place for all occasions there isn’t one of our favorite parts of our trips.


If you’re heading to any concerts this coming weekend, you’ll have a wide range of styles to choose from. While music is loved in our society, it doesn’t have quite the same traditional cultural roots that it does in many other countries. Ethiopia is a country that is a musically traditional country. While in addition there is still contemporary, or popular music, these musicians and artists still sing the more traditional songs of the country as well. Here in the U.S. people tend to have a music genre they prefer, where most audiences in Ethiopia still choose to listen to both popular and traditional styles of music.


The survival of more traditional music could be attributed to the lack of availability. Much of Ethiopia is extremely poor and the remote villages are hard to access. Because of this, tribes and different ethnic groups are associated with their own unique sounds. Click on the image below to view a video that Jazzy, our Communications Coordinator, took while visiting the Dorze Tribe in Ethiopia in November.




As expected in the bigger cities, like Addis Ababa or Dire Dawa, a wide variety of artists and music is more readily available. Internationally, artists like Gigi have brought Ethiopian music to a more popular and wider audience in more recent recent years, especially here in the United States. Check out The Best of Gigi here to get a better idea of the variety of Ethiopian music today. In true cultural form, Gigi also continues to sing the traditional songs she was raised on. Click here to listen to Gigi sing the the traditional song "Gole" from her 2003 album Zion Roots in Agaw, the language of Gigi's father's village.


  So this weekend when you’re out amongst the SXSW crowds, stop and listen to a new artist you might not have made time for in the past. Or if you’re ready for a new experience altogether, dive into the sounds of an exotic new country like Ethiopia.




We're Ready for an Exciting 2017

Happy New Year! Yes, we know we are nearly a month in, and the timeline for the greeting has passed. However, with our first blog post of the year, we wanted to welcome you accordingly.

At Water to Thrive, we’re in full swing getting ready for an exciting year ahead. So, we wanted to take a moment to formally invite you to come on our journey with us this year. It’s going to be full of excitement and possibility, and we want each of you along for the ride.


This year we’re excited to provide regular blog updates, so you can keep up with all that we have going on here in Austin, the U.S., Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda. We are able to bless people with the life-giving gift of clean water, because all of you have blessed us. It is with this grateful heart that we embark on the endeavor to keep you up to date on all the ways your generosity is impacting others, both near and far. We plan on having lots of fun along the way too!


If you‘ve been following our Facebook and Instagram accounts, than you already know that we have three trips currently in the works. If you didn’t know, here’s what you missed:


  • We are thinking about visiting Germany to experience some of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and then on to Ethiopia. This trip would take place in the latter part of May to early June, however, for this trip to be viable, we will need at least 9 travelers.


  • The second trip of the summer will be 2-3 weeks in June or July. We will travel to the Tigray region of Ethiopia and visit many of our completed projects, as well as some yet to be constructed wells.


  • Finally, we have been working on a Global Grant for ten Rotary-sponsored well projects in Ethiopia. In November, we would love to take a group of Rotarians along with us to experience firsthand the impact that Rotary is having on people across the globe.


If you're interested in our 2017 trips, please email us at, and follow our accounts to stay up to date. You can also find more information about these trips in our January Newsletter. We’re excited to have some of you along, while the rest of us stay connected virtually through our Travel Blog.


We are so excited to share with you what is certain to be an exciting year! Check back regularly for updates, stories, travel posts, and so much more. As always, please feel free to share our posts with your friends and family. We want to partner with you in educating, and inspiring, others about the work God is doing through clean water in rural Africa. Looking forward to connecting with each of you again soon... Here we go!



Water to Thrive Selects New Executive Director

 AUSTIN, Texas -- Water to Thrive, a faith-based non-profit dedicated to relieving the water crisis in rural Africa, is pleased to announce the selection of Susanne Wilson as its new executive director. Wilson, chosen by Water to Thrive’s board and current president after a lengthy selection process, will be the first executive director in the organization’s six-year history.
“After six years of volunteer leadership, the Board of Water to Thrive believes that it is time to have a full-time, dedicated Executive Director leading the organization,” said Dick Moeller, president and founder of Water to Thrive. “This appointment will dramatically increase our ability to serve more people, giving us greater capacity to reach those with a heart to support our mission and providing continuity of leadership to ensure Water to Thrive’s long-term success.”
Wilson comes to Water to Thrive from an eight-year appointment as Executive Director of Henderson Community College Foundation in Henderson, Kentucky, and as board chair of Companion Community Development Alternatives and a member of Rotary International, has been deeply engaged in work to alleviate the global water crisis.
“Susanne is a great match for Water to Thrive,” Moeller said. “She is an experienced, successful non-profit Executive Director, and her work to address the water crises in Africa and Central America demonstrates her passion for serving people in developing countries. We are excited about the future of Water to Thrive under Susanne’s leadership.”
Wilson’s years of experience in non-profit and education leadership include executive planning, administration, communications and marketing, development, financial oversight, and higher education. She received her MBA from Auburn University and is further certified in fundraising management by the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Philanthropy. In her work with Rotary International, she served as chair of an international water project and on the board of Rotary Club of Evansville.
“Joining Water to Thrive gives me a tremendous opportunity to align my passion for making an impact with my background in philanthropy,” Wilson said. “I have witnessed what having access to clean, safe water means for people in developing nations – it provides hope and unlocks human potential. I look forward to taking the mission and service of Water to Thrive to new heights.”

How New Water Technology Can Shape Africa’s Future.

Progress is on the way for many African nations along the Nile River. It is unprecedented for the government, the private sector and for the welfare of the people to be put side by side, except for in the new and innovative plan created by the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan. New ideas are bringing modern water technology to a region where change has slowly been advancing into the communities through small projects. Water to Thrive is one of just a couple non-profits dedicated to solely bringing in new water technology (water wells) to the communities in need  while at the same time specifically meeting their individual water problems. Although the agreement is preliminary, but this is a step in the right direction to bring basic needs to rural Africa. W2T is anticipating for these changes to happen in the next couple of years so that we can better help the communities through the new dam that the Ethiopian government is constructing along the Nile River. Be on the lookout for news about these countries incredible partnership! Read more on the Egyptian based news source, Egyptian Streets.

You don’t have to wait until the project begins to help, you can start right now! Water to Thrive accepts donations and campaigns year-round from schools, churches, individuals, or maybe just a group of friends and family members that want to raise funds towards a good cause. Contact to begin!



A Little Time Makes a Big Difference...The United States 100 Years Ago: Then and Now

Have you thought of how much has changed in the world around you? Health, economic, and social statuses have continued to improve in developed countries for the past couple of years. It’s time for W2T’s partner countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania) to get in on this too! Now imagine what is possible for Africa. Global aid flowing into Africa can catapult the start to changes that are capable of occurring! Here are a couple of interesting facts of the U.S. 100 years ago to put into perspective:
·       The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
·       Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
·       Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
·       The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
·       The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
·       More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
·       Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent
of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Many of these are occurring in Africa today: low life expectancy, low literacy rate, and low income. But with continued progress by outside organizations dedicated to improving the basic needs such as clean water and good health, the countries can see some change! Clean and accessible water wells play a huge rule. The literacy rate increases when there is more time to spend on going to school than in walking long distances to get water. Extension of life expectancy because there is clean water!! And income may increase because of the greater opportunity to go to school.

Let’s see what just a couple of years can do to impact Africa! 

Ebola and Clean Water: The Connection

Read the article below on Ebola and the clean water crisis.  Water to Thrive knows clean, safe water can help during a health well as help prevent a health crisis. You can make an impact. Get involved with Water to Thrive today!

(Read the article here)

Coffee Coffee Coffee

Monday was National Coffee Day, and Water to Thrive continues to celebrate.  To be honest, every day is "coffee day" for Water to Thrive.  Our office loves coffee (some of us have over 5 cups a day...don't judge!), and we appreciate a good brew.  

Where is the best coffee found?  Well, an article was shown to us this morning by our good friend (and fellow coffee-lover), Bishop Mike Rinehart: The Definitive Top 10 Coffee-Growing Countries in the World, Ranked By Experts 

You'll see one of the countries we serve as #1 on the list.  Which country do you think got the top spot (and are you ready to travel with us to taste it in person)?!

**W2T sells fair-trade coffee.  Buy some today to enjoy and support the mission at the same time!


Texas Nonprofit Summit

Last week, Water to Thrive attended the Texas Nonprofit Summit.  Over 700 nonprofit professionals and community leaders gathered to experience an energizing, two days of learning and networking. Click here to learn more about the conference.  But first, we’d like to highlight a couple of our top moments from The Texas Nonprofit Summit below. 
·      Keynote Speaker, Bill Strickland:
-Bill Strickland presented a humorous picture slideshow of his journey.  He explained how helping poor children in urban areas has to be done by giving them love and surrounding them by what you want them to become.  Positive, productive, beautiful environments produce positive, productive, beautiful youth.  Bill explained: “all people are assets, and we have to start looking at them that way.”  His solution has been to build state of the art schools in poor urban areas.  Children should have great opportunities no matter where they live, and Bill is making this possible.  He knows these children are capable, when given the resources and support to succeed.  “We studied poor people, the only thing we found wrong is they have no money!”  He strongly inspired conference attendees to continue towards their goals….even those serving very difficult communities.  To learn more about Bill Strickland, his efforts, philosophies and here.   
·      Networking & Visiting the Exhibitors:
-There were a variety of wonderful, helpful exhibitors from all over the U.S. at the conference.  Click below to see a full list of the organizations Water to Thrive networked with!

Water to Thrive is Linked...In!

Water to Thrive is on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and now...LinkedIn! We know you love our newsletters, blogs and social media posts, but LinkedIn is a great way to stay connected with W2T and see our professional supporters, events and network. So follow us today!




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