Together with associates, the sisters formed a Sister Water Project committee. After years of extensive research, including a trip to Africa, the Sister Water Project partnered with Safe Water for Life and Dignity (SWLD) out of Morogoro, Tanzania, in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, over 40% of all people globally who lack access to clean drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa. It was that need that prompted James Anthony Nyangas and five of his colleagues with the help of Fr. Dan Pekarske at Salvatorian Institute, Morogoro, Tanzania, to start SWLD in 2007. Their aim has been the promotion of human dignity, by providing safe and clean water to poor rural communities. "Each well built in Tanzania affects 500 people," said Fr. Pekarske. "A one-time donation has lasting benefits. The contribution to the Sister Water Project is just once but people will use that well every day."
In Honduras, the Sister Water Project worked with Mission Honduras and Catholic Relief Services to create additional portions of rural water systems in Honduras in two villages. When safe water became accessible in one Honduran village, daily diarrhea decreased by 47% within 30 days.
That lofty goal of raising $40,000 in 2006 has been far surpassed as the Sister Water Project has touched people's hearts. In 2013, the sisters held a celebration in honor of having raised over a half a million dollars to help provide clean water to the people of Tanzania and Honduras. But the work continues. "This is not the time to abandon our commitment to those who still live without clean water," said Sr. Carol Besch at the celebration. "We are not going to rest on past successes. We are confident that God is still doing something new in us."
Click here to watch a video of our mission trip to Honduras in 2011.
How you can help
We ask you to please consider a gift to the Sister Water Project. Click here to donate online or mail your donation to The Sisters of St. Francis, c/o Sister Water Project, 3390 Windsor Ave., Dubuque, IA 52001-1311.
As of July 2014, we have completed/restored over 61 well projects in Tanzania and two water systems in Honduras. To see a complete list of where our projects are located, click here.