The founder of a nonprofit east of Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, is taking a determined stand for clean water in Liberia: Camping out on a handmade barge until he raises $2.29 million. However long that may take, the dedicated quest, with support from Sawyer International, will help make Liberia the first developing country in the world to have border to border access to safe drinking water.
Dr. Todd Phillips, founder and president of The Last Well, will embark on the nonprofit’s Hope Floats initiative on Lake Ray Hubbard beginning at 10 a.m. on Oct. 10. Texans driving by on the I-30 highway bridge, sailing on the lake, or enjoying the lakeside views of The Harbor in Rockwall, Texas, will notice Phillips’ simple stand for clean water in Liberia, West Africa.
“Every single human being in this world deserves access to safe drinking water,” said Phillips. “We hope our efforts will open up the dialogue on clean water initiatives and bring this notion to fruition – not just for Liberia, but across the globe.”
The Last Well, a nonprofit in Rockwall, Texas, is committed to bringing safe drinking water to the entire country of Liberia by 2020. When the mission is complete in two years, Liberia will be the first developing country with access to safe drinking water from one border to another. The Last Well’s Hope Floats campaign will bring their team one step closer to providing safe drinking water to the entire nation by Dec. 31, 2020.
“Since 2009, our teams have been on the ground in Liberia drilling wells and distributing Sawyer International PointOne water filters to families and teaching them how to use and maintain them,” said Phillips. “When we’ve completed our mission, history will be made – going into the rural areas of a developing country from border to border and providing every single human access to safe drinking water within a 15-minute walking distance of their home.”
While on the barge in the middle of the Texas lake, Phillips will solely use Sawyer water filters to filter lake water into drinkable water, as well as use Sawyer sunscreen and bug spray. Phillips hopes his message resonates with others that the water often taken for granted in the United States is desperately needed by men, women and children across the world – and that every drop counts toward the group’s fundraising goal.
“We are proud to be part of The Last Well’s efforts to help bring clean water to all Liberian families,” said Darrel Larson, international director of Sawyer Products. “When we heard about its founder and president, Todd Phillips, camping out on a barge east of Dallas, Texas, we immediately wanted to support the cause and show how our water filters and the training can be the puzzle pieces that solve the infinite clean water issue across the globe.”
To help achieve the Last Well’s goal in Liberia, Sawyer International has donated nearly 120,000 Sawyer PointONE water filter systems that teams are distributing in communities and rural areas in Liberia, as well as teaching Liberians how to use and clean the filters while tracking health and economic outcomes through a GIS system. Since the Sawyer water filter distribution, Liberia has experienced a steep decline in waterborne illness-related diarrhea, decreasing from 36 percent to 1.5 percent.
“We would not be able to come close to accomplishing this enormous effort without Sawyer International,” said Phillips. “Because of these water filters and the training that is involved, we have seen a massive improvement on overall health conditions in Liberia – not just for a few hundred people – but hundreds of thousands of people are being affected and now have better health because they have a clean water source.
“With 27 months to go, the finish line is on the horizon,” Phillips added.