Sustainable Solutions to the Water Crisis

David Morgan | July 25, 2017 | Featured

We’re in the thick of summer here in North America, which means short-term missions season is in full swing. While these trips are well-intended, they have the potential of falling into familiar patterns of aid and charity that often do more harm than good.

You’ve probably read When Helping Hurts, or at least heard of it. Maybe, like me, you’ve wondered “Okay, so how can helping actually help!?”

Hold that thought for a moment and let’s switch gears to clean water.

You’ve seen the statistics; nearly 800 million people still don’t have access to safe water. This is more than a humanitarian issue, it’s a crisis, and it demands a response. Surely, it’s better to pass out free water filters all day long than to do nothing. Right?

But is there another option, a third way that meets the needs of those in poverty without patronizing them or harming their economies? Better yet, is there a way to create sustainable solutions that are locally owned and led?

Since you’re reading the Partners Worldwide blog, you already know the answer: Yes, it’s called business, and it was created by God as a way to serve others and worship Him.

Business is not just about making money. It’s also a powerful opportunity to transform lives and communities, provide meaningful employment, and indeed, end poverty.

So how are clean water, Biblical business, and short-term missions related? The answer can be found in the story of Business Connect, one of our longest-standing partners.

By shifting away from an aid model, Business Connect is changing the way communities provide and receive clean water solutions. In 50 countries around the world, they have pioneered an entrepreneurial approach to the water crisis by working through local distributors.

Their model is quite simple: they supply top-quality water filters to local business owners, who then sell those filters for a small profit.  In some cases, such as disaster relief or extreme rural poverty, the filters may be given away at a free or minimal cost.

Business Connect’s model helps foster local economic growth, empowers local leaders and entrepreneurs, and creates desperately-needed jobs in communities facing high unemployment and poverty. 

This distribution model is, in some ways, obvious. Of course local business owners should be the ones who provide clean water solutions! But in other ways, it’s subverting an empire of aid that often harms local businesses and economies.

My friend Jereme, Co-owner and Director of Business Connect, was reflecting on the wave of summer missions trips, and how many of them bring suitcases stuffed with free water filters. A good thing in addressing immediate needs? Yes. But a long-term solution that edifies the local economy? Probably not. As you know, it’s difficult for a business owner to compete with “free.”

So if you are reading this and resonate with the idea of using business to create long-term solutions to issues such as the water crisis, reach out to us. We would love to dialogue about how we can build up local enterprises and local solutions to pressing issues like water scarcity.

If the global water crisis pulls on your heart and you desperately want to “help without hurting,” drop Jereme a note at He knows so much about water filters it’s scary, and has built up an amazing network of local distributors who not only save lives but also create jobs.

We would love to journey with you and align good intentions and generosity with business solutions that truly end poverty for good.

David Morgan

David Morgan

Partnership Operations Manager

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Please select a language or country:

Partners Worldwide Canada together with Partners Worldwide aspires to end poverty so that all may have life and have it abundantly.

Partners Worldwide Canada is a Canadian charitable organization registered with the Canada Revenue Agency since 2011. As part of the global network of Partners Worldwide, PWC engages Canadian entrepreneurs, business professionals and farmers to partner with Local Community Institutions and the business people they serve.

To get involved in the work of Partners Worldwide Canada, you can contact Derek Hoogland, Director of PWC, or fill out a Connect Profile. You may also donate to Partners Worldwide Canada by clicking here.

We invite you to learn about Partners Worldwide and our work, discover your passion and calling, and find where you fit in our global network.

Explore the Partners Worldwide Website

Meet the Partners Worldwide Canada Team

330x400Derek Hoogland
117-350 King ST E
PO Box 75042
First Place PO
Hamilton, ON L8N 4G6

Bienvenue sur le site de Partners Worldwide. Nous apprécions votre visite aujourd’hui afin de vous informer d’avantage sur nos travaux destinés à mettre fin à la pauvreté afin que tous aient la vie et l’aient en abondance

Puisque vous avez sélectionné Français, vous aurez la possibilité de visualiser notre site en Français. Dans le but de rendre notre site plus accessible, nous utilisons le Traducteur de Google; de ce fait, la traduction peut ne pas être précise. Nous vous prions de nous excusez pour tous manque de précisions étant donné que nous travaillions dans le but de vous satisfaire

Nous vous invitons à apprendre sur notre travail, decouvrir votre passion et appel et surtout trouvez une place dans notre reseau global.

Explorer le site de Partners Worldwide

Bienvenido al sitio web de Partners Worldwide. Nos alegra que nos esté visitando hoy para conocer nuestro trabajo de acabar con la pobreza para que todos puedan tener vida y tenerla en abundancia.

Ya que usted eligió al español, podrá ver nuestro sitio en español. Con el propósito de hacer que nuestro sitio sea mas accesible, utilizamos el servicio de Google Translate; sin embargo, la exactitud de la traducción varia. Le pedimos su comprensión con cualquier error mientras trabajamos para servirle mejor.

Le invitamos a conocer nuestro trabajo, a descubrir su pasión y llamado, y a encontrar su lugar en nuestra red global.

Explore el Sitio Web de Partners Worldwide

欢迎光临全球合作伙伴 (Partners Worldwide) 网站。很高兴今天您能来访问我们,了解我们消除贫困的工作,以便所有人都能生存下来并变得富有。




歡迎光臨全球合作伙伴 (Partners Worldwide) 網站。很高興今天您能來訪問我們,了解我們消除貧困的工作,以便所有人都能生存下來並享有富裕的生活。