Learn more about H2O for Life

1. Tell us about your mission.
H2O for Life offers a service-learning opportunity designed to engage, educate and inspire
youth to take action to solve the global water crisis by raising awareness and funds to support
implementation of water, sanitation, and hygiene education (WASH) projects for global partner

H2O for Life activates U.S. youth to fight the global water crisis. We do this by engaging and
educating youth about water issues and the water crisis and they implement local actions and
lead service-learning projects that bring awareness and funding for WASH projects for schools
around the world.

H2O for Life’s unique program allows U.S. youth to be key partners in promoting solutions for
clean water locally and for their peers around the world. Through activities and projects, such
as “walks for water,” youth raise money to support clean water projects. H2O for Life’s student
to student, school to school approach allows youth to recognize that they can change the lives
of others around the world.

2. How is The West Foundation supporting your mission?
Thanks to the generosity of The West Foundation, H2O for Life has been able to continue
pursuing and amplifying our mission to impact youth around the world. The West Foundation’s
support allows us to increase our recruitment of U.S. schools, teachers, and students, and helps
us create new educational resources for our stakeholders. The materials that we have created
broaden the impact of water resource conservation education around the nation.

H2O for Life involves students and educators in the design and dissemination of innovative and
compelling service-learning projects that raise awareness and funds to support WASH for our
global partner schools. These service-learning projects usually entail engaging the larger school
community in the conversations of water conservation and access. The more people that our
youth service-learning projects reach, the more assistance we can provide to schools in need
around the world. West Foundation’s support has been critical to increasing out impact.

3. Considering your impactful work to eliminate poverty, how is the West Foundation’s
philanthropic support providing you with sustainability and mobility?
The West Foundation’s support with a two-year grant helped us become more sustainable and
allowed us to plan better for the future and be nimble when we needed to be. This spring when
Covid-19 spread throughout the world, H2O for Life was ready and adjusted quickly to the new
reality of distance learning. Our staff created new virtual tools and action activities that could
be done by individual students and shared with their school teams. Multi-year funding is critical
for the sustainability of nonprofits nationwide.

4. How are you realizing your potential?
This year has been a challenging year for everyone and especially for educators and global
humanitarians. There have been so many unforeseen and sudden challenges since the
beginning of the pandemic. However, we have been able to navigate and pivot to better meet
the needs of our stakeholders.

We have realized the importance of having easily accessible online educational materials for
students and teachers, so we have created an online program, “Water Guardians” that is
launching this school year focused on water scarcity and the conservation of water for grades 5-
8 that will inspire students to change their behavior and become champions of water and role
models for peers, parents and the community.

We have also recognized that there are certain communities that have been hit especially hard
by the pandemic, so we have focused a lot of energy and focus on projects in areas like the
Navajo Nation.

H2O for Life has always been able to help others learn about and engage with issues that are far
away. Now more than ever we need to be willing to learn about and help others at a safe
distance. We have the potential to keep teaching about the global water crisis and keep fighting
for clean water and sanitation at a time when people are realizing how desperately important
those issues are.

We have seen that students who participate in H2O for Life’s U.S. programs gain a personal
connection to the importance of water, cultural competency, and empowerment to be agents
of change. U.S. students develop critical thinking, problem solving ability, and project
management expertise. These skills are crucial for success in school and future careers.

5. What’s one important thing you want others to know about your organization?
We would like people to know that the work we do is not just about water. Our organization
might be called H2O for Life, but water is simply the start of the conversation. What we do is
teach students about the importance of being aware of global issues and to care about how
those issues impact other people just like them. What our students learn is that water connects
to education, public health, economic prosperity, gender inequality, poverty, environmental
sustainability, and these issues impact people throughout their life. H2O is the start of our
organization’s name, but the “for Life” part is what we are all about.

History has shown us that youth education and activation are the most effective tools in driving
long-term change. H2O for Life is educating a generation of global citizens who are bettering
the world.

6. How can people reading this help you?
Since 2007, H2O for Life has educated and impacted over 723,000 U.S. youth about the global
water crisis who have raised over $3.7 million for nearly 1,000 water, sanitation, and hygiene
education projects for schools in the developing world helping over 414,000 global students
have clean water and sanitation.

Still, nearly half of the world’s schools lack clean drinking water, toilets, and hand-washing
facilities, putting millions of children at risk of disease. The problem is immense, and we need
to scale our work to solve the water crisis. If you are…
• A parent, prompt the idea to your student’s teacher about connecting with H2O for Life.
• An educator, consider bringing our program into your classroom.
• A student, bring our service project to your student council.
• A donor, please consider supporting our work! The ripple effects of donations spread
further than you think!

7. What are your deepest needs as an organization?
H2O for Life would like every student in the world have access to clean water, sanitation, and
hygiene by 2030. With climate change, population growth, and other factors putting pressure
on water resources around the world, it is imperative that we teach young people about the
importance of water conservation and water quality and empower them to be leaders of

H2O for Life is inspiring students to be global citizens and leaders in their community through
taking local and global actions around water. But we need help to reach more students who can
impact their local community and raise funds to provide WASH to those in need around the
world. Please check out our website and resources at h2oforlifeschools.org and get involved.

Photo courtesy: H2O for Life