Co-founded by the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning band, Jars of Clay, and activist and author, Jena Lee Nardella, Blood:Water Mission began as a call to personalize the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Nardella and the members of the band were committed to share the often-untold stories: those of creative, compassionate, hard-working Africans bringing health, hope and healing into their respective communities.
Blood:Water Mission first stepped into funding a late stage AIDS hospice and discovered the vital link between living with HIV/AIDS and the need for clean water. As a result, Blood:Water Mission launched the 1000 Wells Project in 2005 as a nationwide effort to raise enough money to provide clean water and sanitation to 1000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa based on the equation that $1 provides one African with clean water for an entire year.
Since its launch, Blood:Water Mission has raised millions of dollars from individuals seeking to make a difference. They have partnered with more over 800 communities in Africa, providing life-saving water and health needs for over 500,000 people in 13 different countries. Along the way the 1000 Wells Project has expanded holistically to include a variety of clean water solutions and sanitation and hygiene training, as well as funding health clinics, community health workers, and support groups, which help in the prevention, treatment, care and support of communities affected by AIDS, incorporating HIV/AIDS-specific programming alongside ongoing water programming. One such example is a clinic in Lwala, Kenya which is now independently operated and community-led. The Lwala clinic is the focus of the award-winning feature documentary, Sons of Lwala. Sons of Lwala.
The results of Blood:Water Mission's efforts paints a new picture in these communities. Village leaders have the resources and training to bring clean water, sanitation and healthcare into their communities. Stomach aches, skin diseases and diarrhea have disappeared. Women and children no longer walk several miles a day to carry filthy water. Children are able to return to school. Those with HIV are living longer, stronger lives.
The 1000 Wells Project is Blood:Water Mission's main project, which has a goal of providing 1,000 communities in Africa with safe drinking water.
Jars of Clay and other artists (Sara Groves, Christopher Williams, Derek Webb, Forever the Sickest Kids, Sixpence None the Richer, Brandon Heath, Matthew Perryman Jones, Relient K, and many others) as well as authors (Jena Lee Nardella, Donald Miller and Anne Jackson) have been raising funds for the 1000 Wells Project during their concerts since 2005. The organization completed their goal of 1,000 wells in late 2010.
With the September 2006 release of their album, Good Monsters, Jars of Clay partnered with The Global Water Challenge and the Coca Cola Company to donate $1.00 toward the provision of clean water in Africa for each of the first 100,000 copies of Good Monsters sold.
Blood:Water Mission's core purpose is to build community through creative social action.
Related to Christian observance of Lent, volunteers raise money while refraining from drinking beverages other than water for 40 Days. Money raised helps build clean water projects for communities in Uganda. Another campaign, Two weeks of Sacrifice takes place over only 2 weeks versus 6.
A group of volunteers raise money for water and sanitation projects for underdeveloped regions in Africa, where young people must travel to natural water sources every day. A water walk can be a very literal and impactful way to "walk a mile in someone else's shoes."
The cost of not having access to clean water is higher than just the loss of health, but it includes the loss of opportunity for education. Blood:Water Mission's "Back to School Campaign" encourages people to help provide the funds necessary to ensure that a child does not have to walk miles to collect water each day, but can instead spend that time in the classroom.
The Ride:Well Tour, powered by Venture Expeditions, is a cross-country cycling campaign to raise money and awareness for clean water & HIV/AIDS support in Africa through the work of Blood:Water Mission.
In the past two years the Ride:Well Tour has raised close to $300,000 to provide clean water projects, clinics and educational opportunities for people in Africa while educating people in countless communities across America about the water & HIV/AIDS crises many Africans face every day.
This year they will be cycling across the southern half of the United States and north along the Pacific Coast to provide people in Marsabit, Kenya with clean drinking water, hygiene & sanitation education and latrines.World Health Organization: Water and Sanitation
UNICEF: Water & Sanitation
United Nations: Water for Life Decade
World Health Organization: HIV/AIDS
United Nations: HIV/AIDS
Africa Water drilling projects relief missionary drill training