Turning Sonoma County Wine into African Water: The V2V Story
Led by David Stare, founder of Dry Creek Vineyard, members of the Sonoma County wine industry came together to develop the Vineyards to Villages initiative in 2014. V2V was created to address the terrible reality that access to potable water remains a key public health issue around the globe. Through the program, the wine industry supports clean water infrastructure, sanitation facilities, hygiene education, and community water kiosks at primary and secondary schools in western Kenya that previously had no clean water source whatsoever.
Waterborne disease is rampant in western Kenya and causes chronic illness and death, especially among young children. In 2013, only half of Kenyans had access to a clean water source. In 2011, the World Health Organization attributed global economic losses of $260 billion to the reduced productivity of disease-affected populations and the opportunity costs of time spent collecting water.
Vineyards to Villages is a story of communities helping communities and is the most “local international project you can find.” When you give to V2V, your money does not travel through a maze of agencies or governments but goes directly to our African partners implementing the projects in Kenya. Because we work so directly with communities, we can closely monitor funds and connect with people in Africa the way we connect with groups in need at home, through detailed conversations about how to best improve their health and productivity. Through V2V, the Sonoma County wine industry has merged the intimacy of local giving with the ability to meet some of the greatest global needs of our time.
Apondo Primary School
The first school funded by V2V was Apondo Primary School. Before V2V, students walked more than three kilometers to fetch water everyday. Now, they drink clean water straight from a tap linked to a 150-meter borehole well, they have sinks to wash their hands, and their families have a water kiosk for household use. Global Partners conducted a statistical analysis of the health, education, and productivity impacts of this project, and the results will be available by the end of the year.
Our African partners are in the process of implementing a similar water project at Obisa Primary School that will be complete by early 2016. Our next water project will be at Mwanga Primary School. At Mwanga, students currently gather water from a drainage ditch one kilometer away.
It is our goal to bring clean water to every school in the Kasipul Constituency, giving their students the opportunity to thrive that all children deserve.