Water & Freedom

Every year the 4th of July brings freedom to the forefront of everyone’s mind. But what does freedom really mean and how do you get it? It could be argued that freedom means being able to “be you” without outside constraints, being free to worship as you see fit or feeling safe in your own home.  

I would contend that freedom means more than that. It means not having to walk 4 hours a day for water, being able to send your kids to school, having the ability to grow food for your family & knowing that the water you and your kids consume isn’t going to make you sick. Most of us tend to be on auto-pilot when it comes to expecting these comforts and tend to take our incredible access to clean water for granted. But what if we didn’t have this freedom…

While HUGE strides have been made in regard to increased access to clean water and safe sanitation in Rwanda, there is still work to do. According to UNICEF, 25% of Rwandans still don’t have access to clean water and 26% don’t have access to safe sanitation. And rural communities feel this more than anyone. (You can read more here.)

On average, it takes about $30 to give someone in Rwanda access to clean water, safe sanitation and sanitation education. Not only that, but every dollar invested in water has a multiplied economic effect of 8xs. (Source: WHO) Every dollar you donate helps provide clean water in Rwanda and gives a bit more freedom, particularly to women and children. 

Freedom is always on my mind and here’s why: Water = Freedom. That may sound strange to most people but when you break it down, you see how every drop of water we consume each day provides us with the ability to operate more freely. Please consider DONATING to give not only clean water, but to spread more freedom! 


Thank you for being Water, and Freedom, Warriors with us!

North Texas Giving Day 2013

An Open Letter to our Volunteers, Supporters, Board Members & Advisory Board Members:

Ten for 10 | Water for Africa has the most incredible donors, volunteers & supporters anyone could ask for. No doubt about it. Together, we've created a truly impactful organization that changes lives, increases good health, allows for greater education, builds people up & gives clean water. I can imagine nothing greater we could do. So thank you for every dollar you've given and every minute you've spent with us.

Tomorrow we have a chance to once again do something incredible: Increase our giving power, our investment of time & our ability to give clean water. Because tomorrow, September 19th, is North Texas Giving Day (NTGD) in Dallas, TX!

NTGD is one-day where all donations of $25 or more made through the DonorBridge website are bonused by a portion of $1.5M in matching funds, increasing giving power and allowing us the chance to raise some phenomenal money for clean water projects in Rwanda.

I'm excited and nervous...and hope our donors show up like we think they will. 

Let's do this Water Warrior Nation! 7AM tomorrow morning we saddle up and ride! We hope to see you then.

With warm thanks,

Sheryl Coyne-Batson

The Business Of Giving Water

Recently I read an article about startups and the author asked, “What’s your business?” I started thinking about Ten for 10’s “business.” My initial thought was that we were in the business of giving water. But it’s so much more than that, because WATER not only serves its intended purpose, but leads to bigger and better things. Water gives life and changes life. It allows kids to concentrate on school work, go to university and have big bright futures. Water transforms a nation and its people in an organic way. It leads to local job creation in the form of water sellers, operators and technicians, and provides great equality for women. Water is a game changer.

If we were a for-profit company, our business model would look completely different. Our goal would be to gain entry into Rwanda for the purpose of building water systems that might use a friend’s company for the rain barrels, a business contact for stones and a big manufacturer of PVC pipe, spigots and transformers to help deliver water to communities. We would collectively strategize how to make the most money off of these projects through government contracts, tax benefits and collection of fees. And the local people would most likely be left out of the conversation and the opportunity to be involved in the process. It would be a typical case of profit over people.

Instead YOU, our supporters, are proving that people matter more than profits. YOU are the ones changing the world through your donations, volunteerism and support of Ten for 10. Are we in the business of giving water? Absolutely! But, with your help, we’re also in the business of nation building, future building and people building…one drop at a time.  


In 20 years I predict the economic landscape of Rwanda will look vastly different. And it will have all started with Water Warriors like you and the “Business of Giving Water.”

Finding Rwanda...

Day One- 

Three planes and 2 days later we finally land in Kigali, Rwanda. It's been a long journey, over 19 hours in the air, but we're excited to finally be here! 

The first thing I notice is that every Westerner in baggage claim seems to be here for some humanitarian purpose, as evidence by the large crates and boxes of goods coming off of the conveyor belt. It's easy to see how locals could view visitors from the "more developed" nations primarily as aid givers. I've been here less than an hour and that's my assessment. While I see the need for immediate and direct aid, long term solutions are important and at the core of what we're here to do. 

Very few people come to "holiday" in Rwanda and I understand that. But what concerns me is what I call "kamikaze aid", aid that provides a short-term solution but doesn't have lasting effect or get to the root of the problem. (Over 40% of water pumps implemented with this type of aid are broken within 3 years so I'm very sensitive to this idea and am excited we've taken a long term approach that empowers the local people and includes them in the conversation...but more on that later.) 

Tonight we had a quick dinner and met the rest of our group which includes 2 Engineers, one Winemaker (Environmental Engineer in another life), one Writer, a Finance Expert (our own Bryan Batson) and 3 Development/Fundraising Professionals (including myself). Tomorrow we'll have a briefing with our local partner, Water for People-Rwanda, and visit some of our water projects in the Kicukiro district. Stay tuned…exciting things are in store!