It feels disheartening to learn that today, 2.2 billion people still don’t have access to safe drinking water. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, a child dies from a water-related disease every 2 minutes.
The major reason for such a dilemma is the insufficient infrastructure.
It was a dire need to put an end to this dilemma that led to the inception of a USA non-profit organization named Water 4 Mercy.
Water 4 Mercy, Inc. is a result of Nermine Khouzam Rubin’s constant efforts to provide African regions water, food, and hope. The organization was set up with a strong mission to uphold human dignity by eradicating thirst, hunger, and poverty.
Let’s unveil how Water 4 Mercy is ending the vicious cycle of poverty in Africa.
How It all Started?
In 2017, when her teenage daughter Samantha was invited to Dodoma, Tanzania for mentoring the students there, Nermine accompanied her and witnessed the poverty of the families due to a recent devastating drought. She expresses, “I got to experience up close the suffering lives upended by famine. The villagers had no water, no food, no work and had lost all sense of hope. I tried to figure out how to offer another kind of work training program, perhaps a different kind of job would restore the villagers, but the problem was not their job skill, they are farmers, the problem was water. That meant wells – utility stuff – a government problem, not anything I could help with.” Or so she thought.
Having a heavy heart, she returned back home. She happened to get the book ‘Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World’ by Seth Siegel, where she learned of Innovation Africa (IA) an Israeli Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with world-renowned expertise in solar and water. She states, “I read about IA’s revolutionary remote live monitoring system to ensure that each village is 100% successful – forever! Then lightning struck: I could partner with Innovation Africa to implement and maintain our water projects. I would contribute my personal funds and make it my mission to raise funds so we can implement cutting-edge technology for well digging and have ‘boots on the ground’ project support through IA and their monitoring systems. I could get water to Dodoma and rebuild the lives of the villagers there!” Boom! Water 4 Mercy was born!
As Founder & CEO of Water 4 Mercy, Nermine is providing remote African villages with sustainable water and farming solutions to restore human dignity and permanently end the water and poverty crisis.
She has two Master’s Degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Health Science (MHS) from the University of Florida. She stepped into the corporate world in Strategic Planning & Marketing with Bayfront Medical Center and has also served as the Vice President of Business Development at Gresham Smith and Partners Architects.
Impacting People’s Lives
Today, Water 4 Mercy is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization bringing Water, Food & Hope by utilizing the added-value of advanced and innovative Israeli solar, water, and agriculture technologies and expertise, adapted to unique circumstances in Africa to positively impact many people’s lives.
In transforming the cycle of poverty into ‘Cycles of Success’, the organization developed and is implementing Agricultural Innovation & Technology Centers (AITeC) to sustain through education the changes that Water 4 Mercy is bringing to numerous villages. The intent of AITeC is permanent self-sustainability throughout Africa by ‘Teaching the Teachers to Teach’ and bringing desert-tested Israeli solar, water, and agricultural knowledge and training via the largest Catholic skills training school in the world.
A Novel Solution
Water 4 Mercy provides the ‘One-Two-Three Punch’ to permanently end thirst, hunger, and poverty in the world by providing water, food, and HOPE!
Here’s how it works:
It all starts with water. The organization contracts with Israeli NGO, innovation: Africa to be Water 4 Mercy’s partner in its water projects. They use their innovative Israeli technology that has received multiple awards from the United Nations to build solar-powered wells capable of pumping an average of 30,000 liters (~8,000 gallons) of water a day to the locals.
Next comes agriculture (food). Once water is flowing, Water 4 Mercy brings in agricultural advancements to provide food and income. CultivAid, a world-renowned Israeli Agricultural NGO focuses on implementing innovative agricultural practices and developing local experts through knowledge and technology transfer. Drip irrigation systems are installed so that minimal water usage results in larger crop yields.
Now for the HOPE. The AITeC model- Water 4 Mercy’s Agricultural Innovation and Technology Centers- takes the water and agricultural systems in place and with the world’s best Vocational Training Centers – Don Bosco Technical Institutes- creates a self-sustaining farm to provide practical hands-on training in modern agriculture. AITeC develops skilled professionals and agro-business initiatives for sustained food security and economic growth.
Empowering Villagers During the Pandemic
Nermine mentions that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for Africa to be self-sustaining and NOT be dependent on ‘aid’ or other forms of imports for help. She says, “Our projects thrived and our villagers were able to grow their own food and not have to rely on any type of ‘foreign handouts’. Moreover, our villagers within our self-sustainable projects exhibit a sense of dignity and are extremely proud that they are able to work and provide for their families. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of empowering individuals – and it all starts with water. This is KEY!”
A Roadmap Ahead
Water 4 Mercy’s goal is liberating Africa from poverty to instead be on the road to economic prosperity. One of its biggest future aspirations is to open an AITeC in every one of the 106 schools in the Don Bosco Tech Africa (DBTA) network. It has provided a permanent water source to over 30,000 people, and their agricultural projects are in the works. Water 4 Mercy is always seeking to impact more lives by bringing its self-sustainable water and agricultural solutions to more villagers that are dying of thirst, hunger and poverty.
Bringing the Change
“Myself, I did not believe that our village would ever have clean water flowing. Before this project, I would climb a large mountain to reach the dirty water. I was always afraid I would fall and I have seen so many other women injured. Thanks to you, we no longer are living at risk and danger. We have fresh water right outside our houses. Clean water changes everything. I have more time to spend on my livelihood, earning money with my fish business and farm. We suddenly feel free of burden. May God bless you.”
This quote from Upendo Mlugu, a mother of 5 children and a fish farmer in Mapinduzi Village, shows how Water 4 Mercy is bringing the change.
A Child Named After Her
Nermine’s work can be reflected through the happiness of villagers.
For example, a villager from Mwinyi named her daughter “Nermine”. She had clean water to drink during her pregnancy and that is why she named her Nermine to show her gratitude to Water 4 Mercy. Today her baby is healthy because of having clean water.
Nermine provided water and drip irrigation for Mwinyi Village in Dodoma region of Tanzania. And Mwinyi is the first village that Nermine chose to personally fund; $50,000 for the solar/water project plus $25,000 for the drip irrigation for Mwinyi’s farming; $75,000 total.
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