What is Life 4 Water?
Life 4 Water, Inc is a small, low profile but high impact non-government organization (NGO) based in Iligan City, Philippines. It was founded in Dec. 2002 by young professionals passionately committed for social change. It was later incorporated and registered at Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission on November 5, 2003.
It aims to enable communities develop, manage and nurture water resources because water is the most essential in any community development processes.
Though it's a small organization and a tight budget, Life 4 Water able to serve many local government units, remote villages and other non government organizations and even individuals in many parts in Mindanao and to some extent in Luzon where there services were badly needed.
As of September 2011, Life 4 Water had made at least 23 development interventions in at least 20 villages and municipalities and changed about 18,000 people's lives in terms of sanitation, local governance, environmental resource management, food production and poverty alleviation.
What does Life 4 Water do?
Life 4 Water has this strategy statement to share: “We help improve life to sustain water, we enhance water systems to empower people and we help empower people to gain livelihoods.” It implements W.E.L.L. program – it means water for empowerment, life and livelihood. Graphically, it means, develop and utilize water resources to empower people and improved quality of life by harnessing livelihood.
In specific terms, they train (rural) communities plan and construct their water system by hands-on method. They also train them on natural farming to increase food production, improve livelihood and increase economic resilience. Thus, improving the quality of life.
Where does it get its funds from?
Life 4 Water is a self sustaining organization. It relies its operation, mostly, from revenues collected from engineering and construction services. The municipal local government units, government agencies and Barangays Councils are its usual clients. It also earn from sales of hydraulic ram pumps and construction materials .
A foreign donor, Philippines Australia Community Assistance Fund partnered with Life 4 Water in 2008-2010 in two separate projects -- W.E.L.L.-Wakat Project in Zamboanga Del Sur and A W.E.L.L. project in Bukidnon. The partnership added cash flow to the organization and, thus, it able to implement additional projects.
Surplus revenue are used to leverage or fund other water system project or farm development projects. It is also used for organizational capacity building, too.
Where and How does Life 4 Water, Inc. operate?
Life 4 Water operates at the ground level – mostly, rural areas. Then, it always establishes partnership with local governance and other stakeholders. It also partners with other NGOs and religious formations, too.
Series of technical and skill enabling training on locals are done before water system is actually constructed; hand tools are provided to the community whenever possible. After construction is done, series of management training, which include, finance management and sustainability planning ensues.
Later, Life 4 Water, imparts to the community the technology on natural farming system and diversified and integrated farming system. This is to boost the local food production at the household level and create opportunities for potential agricultural marketing.
A stationed L4W personnel follows up the farming activities of the households while maintaining L4W's own farm. The stationed personnel serves as a consultant who walk the community through the whole development process on hands-on method.
Meanwhile, at the barangay council or municipal levels, L4W assists in crafting a realistic barangay development plan and help the barangay council harmonize this with the municipal development plan. L4W also help municipal government in enhancing its comprehensive land use plan from improving thematic maps to developing content and to assisting in conducting the whole planning process.
L4W takes the “less traveled roads.”
Life 4 Water, operates no boundary but it prioritizes the areas where government and non government services barely reach. Life 4 Water takes the “less traveled road”. Geographically it operates in the hinterlands of Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental and Iligan City.
Recently, Life 4 Water reached the provinces of Pampanga and Zambales. It helped another non government organization make feasibility studies on constructing water systems using wind mill or photovoltaic or hydraulic ram pump in four barangays. Hopefully, the project would benefit Aeta tribe in Zambales among others.
Poverty is Curable! Go Natural Farming!
Poverty is like a disease – but it’s a curable disease! Poverty starts at home then spreads to a larger and complex communities if not addressed at the roots. When it becomes complex, management would be seemed difficult. Poverty is manifested with hunger and hunger is a manifestation of lack of food. Lack of food can be attributed to lack of food production among others. Plant produces food, and so on and so forth. Farmers plant supposedly but many of them, today become wary of planting because of the prohibitive cost of farm inputs.
Life 4 Water believes, as it has shown from its own experiences, that poverty can be addressed. The only way out of poverty is to plant the food we eat; create surplus and sell it reasonably to let other poor people afford to buy them. To produce cheap agricultural products is to use natural farming system methods where, environmentally friendly farm inputs are produced at home – therefore, freeing one from buying expensive, environment-destructive commercial chemical-based farm inputs. But this is easier said than done. As proven from Life 4 Water’s experience, these undertakings will not be successful without the policy and structural supports of the local governments and financial and technical supports from non government organizations. But in the end, local government units still play the very vital and critical roles in poverty alleviation and food production.Therefore, they must do something to address poverty.
Vision, Mission and Strategy
Vision: It envisioned a society where individuals, families and communities nurture water. “A water nurturing society.”
Mission: Capacitate people and their communities to conserve and develop water resources.
Strategy: We help improve life to sustain water, we enhance water systems to empower oleo and we help empower people to gain livelihoods.
Registrations, Accreditation and Network Affiliations