PHILIPPINES: On the Ground with Waves For Water

While the Philippine Islands were being struck by Super Typhoon Haiyan’s wrath, Jon Rose, Founder of Waves For Water was already hatching his plan to help. Days later, he was mobilizing to get on the ground and provide victims with access to clean water through Waves For Water’s clean water filters. Having been on site for about a week now, Jon gave CATALYST a first-hand status report on how their efforts are going, and how they are breaking through roadblocks to give aid to those in need:

"It's been a long first week here in the Philippines, but we are making good progress in establishing local networks that we can implement our program through. I have always believed in the model of empowering and facilitating locals to help their own people rather than having us, a bunch of foreigners, deciding who gets what, when, where, and how. We aren't from here, we don't know the intricacies and nuances of this culture, so why should we show up and start dictating things? I believe that our greatest role is to be a facilitator by providing new tools, along with the proper education and training, to address at least one of the many needs - access to clean water.

In order for this model to be realized we have to spend real quality time on the ground - day in and day out - developing local relationships and really seeking out the biggest pockets of need. This has been our model since the beginning of W4W and remains the same today.

We are on a good track here so far. We have done pilot sized distributions and trainings to 4 hard hit areas - Daanbantayan and Bogo in Northern Cebu, Iloilo and Antique on island of Panay, and Bantayan Island. I think we are best suited to focus on the "forgotten" pockets, so to speak. The areas that have not been the focal point of major relief efforts; there are so many islands and so much widespread devastation amongst them that I think with our "local network" based model, lean infrastructure, and targeted focus we can make a huge impact for this entire region.

The best point to get across at this juncture is how you all can help support us. We have a very different model than most organizations and I want to clarify how the program works. We do not need a fleet of revolving volunteers because our "train the trainer" local based model is all about teaching and facilitating locals to be the ones who will ultimately be doing the distribution and training of our water filtrations systems. We have a core crew from our W4W team here now, day in and day out, expanding the program by enlisting these local leaders in each region."

-Jon Rose, Founder of Waves For Water

While Waves For Water’s lean, locally empowered infrastructure continues to implement clean water filters throughout the Philippines, those not on the ground can still be intimately involved. Through our awareness, and spreading of their initiative Waves For Water will be able to gain access to more clean water filters, thus granting thousands of victims access to clean water in their time of need. Each clean water filter Waves For Water implements directly helps hundreds of Filipino citizens.

Text: Andrew Bridge & Jon Rose

Photos: DJ Struntz

Connect with Waves For Water’s Typhoon Relief.