What happens when a leadership company takes a couple of engineers to Kenya? That combination of vision and practical know-how can make magic happen and that's exactly what happened back in 2011 and WellBoring was, well, born.
"Millions of people lack clean water. We can get it to them. Why wouldn't we?"
It all started when Nigel Linacre, cofounder of Extraordinary Leadership, simply had a wish to serve schools in Kenya, initially through teaching. This seed of an idea quickly grew roots and Nigel's Global Leadership Programme was born, giving the opportunity for executives to join him for a unique experience with a purpose.
However, while working at one particular school, the water problem was apparent. Two engineers, Colin Brown and Graeme Vousden, said they could fix it, so the whole focus of their visit changed. It had to take precedence. This became the very first project for what is now an established charity, WellBoring.
"I spent most of my life on my priorities, but this makes such a big difference and we can reach so many people, it's irresistible."
Tens of millions of people lack access to clean water, fetching water from seasonal streams and polluted rivers, and suffering regular ill-health. Water-borne diseases kill tens of thousands of children in Kenya alone every year, while dehydration and water-carrying blight the lives of the rest, making further development almost impossible.
And, what happens when clean water is available? There's an immediate reduction in water-borne diseases, children can attend school, food can be grown and a safer platform is established for further development. Clean water is the starting point. We asked Nigel a few questions about his journey and WellBoring:
What's been achieved so far?
We thought it was a big deal to bring clean water to one school, and we've now completed wells at 60 schools, and can see our way to 100 within a year. We've built some great relationships and practices. When clean water arrives, children missing school falls from over 20% to under 5%, some 5,000 more children are at school every school day, which is a start. We know water is a game-changer.
Right from the start we felt we could make a difference. We've been inspired by the teachers and children who work and learn in almost impossible conditions. They are delighted to get something we take for granted and moved by our wish to serve. It was harder than we thought early on because we hadn't worked out a consistent model and we had too many unknowns, but we never thought about giving up. That was always, and remains, impossible. Now it's about scale.
How can people get involved in your project or help out?
We are developing a range of roles for volunteer strategists, enthusiasts, fund-raisers, connectors, and more. Oh yes, you can. Just go to Wellboring.org and contact us.
What are your plans for the future?
A first major corporate partner will announce their plans on World Water Day, 22nd March 2019. We are working to reach the 100 wells milestone and then kick on.
What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring changemaker?
See it, believe it, feel it and live it.