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Rev. Reyes meets with families at Tyumanem Lutheran Church to discuss the community water system rehabilitation project.
Rev. Reyes meets with families at Tyumanem Lutheran Church to discuss the community water system rehabilitation project.

Water Pipes
Nearly four miles of pipe will be used to carry clean water to families in Kaputian and Binugawan.

Safe and Sustainable: LWR works with Lutheran church in the Philippines to provide clean water

By Loren Hyatt

Rev. Antonio Reyes, president of Visayas-Mindanao Lutheran Church Philippines, knows the significance of water — not only in the Bible, but also in his own community. That is why he and members of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church of the Philippines in Mindanao are partnering with Lutheran World Relief to help families access safe drinking water.

In the communities of Kaputian and Binugawan, on the island of Mindanao, families often fetch water from open dug wells, rivers and streams. They use this water for cooking, bathing, watering their crops and, most importantly, for drinking. To fetch water, many community members, particularly women and children, must walk up to three miles to reach the nearest water source.

As if that weren’t difficult enough, nearby water sources are highly prone to contamination, particularly during heavy rains and flash flooding, when contaminants — such as silt, sewage and solid waste — wash into the water. It’s no surprise, then, that families in Kaputian and Binugawan often suffer from waterborne diseases, like diarrhea.

To help, LWR is working with Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church of the Philippines to increase access to safe drinking water for more than 100 families in Kaputian and Binugawan.

Managed by local Lutheran church leaders in Mindanao, LWR’s project will rehabilitate a local water system and equip community members to operate and manage the system.

Rev. Reyes, along with other church leaders, are talking with the community about the new system and what it will take to maintain it. Community members have contributed labor to the rehabilitation process and plan to pay a water user’s fee, which will help to sustain the water source.

LWR has also supported the formation of a community water association. So far, the association, which includes both men and women, has selected officers, established policies and bylaws and begun monitoring the operation of the rehabilitated water system.

In addition, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church of the Philippines is coordinating closely with municipal water district authorities, as well as the provincial sanitary inspector, to regularly test water quality, ensuring that water is potable and its quality is monitored at the community level through the water association.

Very soon, families will no longer have to walk miles for unsafe water. They will have a safe, reliable source of water closer to their homes, which means they will have more time to spend on other important tasks.

Your support of Lutheran World Relief makes access to safe drinking water a reality for families living in rural areas of the Philippines. With your support, we are engaging local churches and communities to address the underlying causes of poverty in communities around the world. Thank you!

Loren Hyatt is LWR’s Program Associate for Emergencies and Communications in Asia and the Middle East. This article was written with input from Jerick Axalan, LWR’s Program Officer for Development Programs in the Philippines.

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