The Water For People Board of Directors announced plans to expand its international development program to five additional countries, which will significantly increase Water For People's impact in the developing world.
The countries targeted for expansion over the next five years are Ecuador, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Uganda and the Dominican Republic. These new program locations will strategically complement existing work in Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Malawi. The adoption of these countries will double the number of countries served by Water For People and will position the organization to reach its target of directly benefiting 1,000 new people per day by 2011.
The unanimous decision was reached a year after the Board of Directors adopted its five-year strategic plan, which calls for aggressive expansion of its sustainable program model to more people in countries who need safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene education.
The five countries were selected following a careful review of 10 countries identified in earlier desk studies. Each of the 10 countries was carefully evaluated by a team of World Water Corps volunteers, who conducted extensive scoping studies during April and May 2007. Volunteer teams visited each country to assess needs, meet with potential partner organizations, and evaluate the potential for the successful implementation of Water For People's community-based model. Volunteer teams presented their findings to the Water For People International Programs Committee and the Board of Directors at its June 23 meeting in Toronto.
Water For People plans to launch work in Ecuador and Nicaragua in 2007, followed by Rwanda in 2008. Work in Uganda and the Dominican Republic will be initiated over the next four years, as resources allow.
"It was a difficult decision as all of the countries under consideration have a real need for Water For People's work," said Fred Elwell, Water For People president. "The countries selected fit with Water For People's model of community involvement and demonstrate a high potential for success, which guided much of the decision-making process. A great deal of credit is owed to our World Water Corps volunteers and the members of the International Programs Committee, who did an excellent job in researching the need and potential of each country."