MISSION & MANIFESTO
SECOND MILE WATER EXISTS TO BRING A PERMANENT END TO THE
WATER CRISIS IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD BY INSPIRING PEOPLE
TO SOCIAL ACTION.
Your life tells a story, whether you like it or not.
You’re living a story – a collection of adventures – all your own.
When you look back one year, five years, or fifty years from now, what’s the movie of your life going to look like? What did you do, who did you connect with, how did you live? What were your great adventures?
These simple questions radically transformed what we do. At Second Mile Water, we decided that we weren’t just made to live out our days on earth, but we were created to live a story worth telling with our lives, and to help others do the same. To make a difference.
This is different for everyone; for us, our pursuit of living a better story means using everything we’ve been given to help disadvantaged people gain access to clean water and a proper toilet.
Second Mile Water provides a framework to live a better story – to adventure well, to create community, and to have an impact in the world.
As individuals and as an organization, we hope that someday, in some small way, we can look back at the movie of our lives and see that we didn’t just live. We lived a story worth telling. We played a part of a story bigger than ourselves.We adventured. We created community. We loved. We sought truth, cared for the poor, lived fully, and laughed hard. And we helped others do the same.
And we want you to join us.
For us, water is simply there. We don’t think twice about where our next drink or hot shower is going to come from. We don’t have to fetch water and filter the mud out of it using our shirt. We don’t have to boil it, treat it, or give it a second thought. Turn on the tap, and like magic it appears, clear and pure. We didn’t choose this reality, but for us, it’s simply always been there. We never worry about seeing our precious children bent double, retching with water borne disease, or living with persistent diarrhea.
But, one in eight people on the planet do have to worry about this. This is the daily struggle they’ve grown up into. They didn’t choose this, but that is where they find themselves. One in eight people – that’s almost one billion souls.
It’s easy to talk about numbers and statistics, but it’s not so easy to talk about reality. The little girl in the photo below, for example, had been sick for days when this photo was taken. It was unclear whether she would make it or not.
Thankfully she did, but there is a reason the Under Five (U5) death rate is so high in developing countries.
Everyone’s heard of the water crisis; you’ve perhaps even given to or volunteered for organizations that address it, their websites plastered with photos of smiling children and new water wells.
The thing is, no one shows pictures of old water wells. The ones proudly donning the name of the organization on the side, the ones where the photo shoot took place with the smiling kids…the ones that broke six months after they were installed.
We’re not here to highlight what hasn’t been done well, but to be real. There is a severe and deeply troubling lack of accountability in the hydrophilanthropy sector, and we’re here – we exist – to change it.
We believe that there is a better way. We believe that there is a way to work that doesn’t free people from the bondage of drinking contaminated water for only 6 months, but forever.
Second Mile Water works with marginalized people in developing countries to facilitate permanent access to clean, safe drinking water.
How? We stand on the shoulders of giants to help us see farther. We believe in transparency and integrity, and our systems show it. We believe in people and their intrinsic worth. We believe in accountability. We believe in lessons learned from the past and teachability. We believe in the power of leveraged funds, microloans, creating local jobs, and loving people. We believe that true change comes when entire regions gain access to water. We believe in dignity, and that each person deserves it. We believe in building relationships, good design, that old Toyota pickups never die, and in operating like we’re a savvy business and not a charity case. We believe that a ragtag band of passionate people can make a difference – can, perhaps even, end water poverty.
We also believe that the first mile isn’t enough, which is why we go the second mile to ensure that each community in which we work doesn’t only gain access to clean water, but that they have that access permanently. And we hold ourselves accountable to see that happen.