Water Engineers for the Americas (WEFTA) was founded in 2002 by a group of engineers and professionals in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Based on their prior experience working with Habitat for Humanity, the U.S. Public Health Service, and Waterlines, a similar non-profit, the founders of WEFTA envisioned an organization in which they could connect donors and volunteers directly with Latin American communities in need of clean water and improved sanitation.
Clean water and sanitation are essential components of the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, at the heart of which are a set of 17 ambitious goals, which the UN has called “a plan of action for people, planet, and prosperity.” WEFTA’s work directly impacts Sustainable Development Goal #6, which is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
Since 2002, WEFTA’s reputation as a non-profit, capable of providing both professional volunteers and engineering expertise, has spread. In 2018, WEFTA received requests for assistance on water and wastewater system improvement projects in east Africa. For the first time, WEFTA volunteers expanded the range of their work and began making trips to several countries in east Africa to lend their expertise in water and sanitation projects for African communities and healthcare facilities.
Working together, volunteers, donors, and communities have developed ways to alleviate the related problems of unsafe water systems and inadequate sanitation practices that exist in many indigenous communities. By doing so, WEFTA helps support the WHO/UNICEF 2030 WASH agenda which promotes new global indicators for drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Since WEFTA’s inception, the number of volunteers has grown and now includes engineers, scientists, and water professionals from across the U.S. and around the world who work to connect donors and NGOs with disadvantaged, rural communities in Latin America and Africa.
Living Our Mission: Making Connections and Impacting Lives
- Many of us have been given opportunities in life through our education, exposure, and access to capital and the latest technological advances that others in developing countries have not. Yet, all of us, at our core, are the same. In each person lies value. In each person lies the potential to make the world a better place, and with our common focus on water, sanitation, and capacity development, WEFTA volunteers, donors, and determined community leaders help unlock that potential inherent in all of us.
- WEFTA strives to create a link between communities that lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation; professionals wanting to apply their expertise on a volunteer basis; and donors who want to share their financial resources to provide water, sanitation, and capacity development to their less fortunate neighbors throughout Latin America and Africa. WEFTA invites, encourages, and helps facilitate donors to become as involved as possible with volunteers and the communities. Once these connections are made, many lives are positively impacted.
- WEFTA organizers and volunteers seek to promote community-based, self-help projects that encourage respect, pride in ownership, and personal relationships to engage communities in the long-term buy-in required to build and maintain a water and/or sanitation system. Some of these projects entail ensuring safe and reliable water supplies and environmentally responsible solutions for sanitation, not just for the homes of the communities, but also for local medical facilities and schools.
WEFTA has passionate, professionally trained volunteers whose experience exceeds that of many non-profit organizations with paid technical staff.
Each of our professional advisor volunteers has many years of experience in the fields of engineering and/or hydrology and donates his or her work.
100% of donations go toward improving water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) resources for communities and healthcare.
- WEFTA’s professional advisor volunteers provide assistance with technical design or design review of water or sanitation systems, project verification, project funding, monitoring of projects and community long term sustainability.
- Many of our professional volunteers have experience living and working outside the United States and speak fluent Spanish and other native dialects. This gives them a cultural sensitivity, understanding and deep respect for how various communities work.
In Country Volunteers
Some of our professional advisors and partners live in-country where they can support and follow-up on current or completed projects and respond easily to inquiries from communities interested in working with WEFTA. They also inevitably are much more aware of local customs and regulations as well as the feasibility of appropriate technologies.
Water & Health
Since 2002, WEFTA has been connecting donors, engineers, and communities in Latin America and Africa, all with the common goal of ensuring access to clean drinking water for everyone.
Sanitation & Environment
WEFTA engineers help facilitate community dialog leading to solutions for inadequate sewage treatment, and its environmental impacts.
Development & Sustainability
WEFTA volunteers work with the communities we partner with to develop the local skills needed to maintain and manage the water and wastewater systems constructed.