About Us

Water For Life's aim is to provide clean water, irrigation for farming opportunities, education and other means of assistance to the Haitian people.

Water For Life's aim is to provide clean drinking water, irrigation for farming opportunities, education and other means of assistance to the people of southern Haiti.

We got our start in 1983 after our founder, Willis E. Miller from Kalona, Iowa, who had a passion for providing clean water in rural Haiti, had spent 10 years drilling for other organizations. When he started Water for Life, his plan was to keep the hand pumps maintained and serviced.

Amazingly, we discovered that the community where we got our start sat on the edge of a great underground water supply! Meanwhile above ground, conditions were close to desert-like. We drilled large-capacity wells that produced enough water to irrigate land. Since then, villagers who rent parcels of land from local landowners pay for the fuel to operate irrigation motors run by diesel generators.

In this same rural community, we were repeatedly asked if we couldn’t start a school. As a result, for many years we had a small school that went through 6th grade. Today the school is for preschool through high school, currently with over 600 students altogether.

Along with that, we operate a child sponsorship program that helps to fund the school and benefit the affected families by lowering the costs for their children’s tuition.

In 2013, we began to do mobile medical clinics from time to time. In 2015 we developed a plan to do them about every 6 weeks using Haitian doctors, nurses and other staff, becoming a team of about 25 people going to rural areas where health care was difficult to come by, providing dentistry, gynecology, ophthalmology, pediatrics and general care to the communities where we go. Currently, despite challenging circumstances in Haiti, we are still doing the mobile clinics but less often.

Our Mission
Our Mission shape

Mission Our Mission

Water For Life's mission is to demonstrate God’s love by empowering Haitian communities.

Team Water For Life Team

Here at Water For Life, our goal within our organization is to demonstrate the Love of Jesus Christ by loving, helping one another without discrimination and improving the quality of life through a democratic, honest and transparent governance.

Staff Members

Team Board Members

Board Members

FAQ Statement of Faith

To demonstrate the Love of Jesus Christ by loving, helping one another without discrimination and improving the quality of life through a democratic, honest and transparent governance.

Are you a 501 (c)(3)?

YES, since 1983

Where does my money go if I make a general donation?

It goes to the project where it’s most needed.

What is the mission statement of Water For Life?

Water For Life's mission is to demonstrate God’s love by empowering Haitian communities.

What is its vision statement?

Vision: We want to partner with as many communities as possible so they can have access to good, clean water. We want to be able to expand to other areas of Haiti and even—eventually—to other countries as well. We want to empower the leaders of Haitian churches, teaching the message of grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

and your core values?

Compassion, Integrity, Unity, Participation, Accountability, Respect, Diligence, Responsibility.

How did WFL get started?

It was started in 1983 by 2 people with a passion to help the Haitian people have access to good clean water! Willis Miller had been coming to Haiti for 10 years, drilling water wells for numerous mission organizations but was getting frustrated with seeing the wells lapse into non-usage due to lack of plans for upkeep. In fact, he decided he was on his last trip to Haiti! But someone else came along with him, an Iowa farmer by the name of Ken Grimm. Together they combined resources, got registered as a 501(c)(3) in the US, bought a used rotary drill rig which was taken to Haiti, which changed many people’s lives for the better.

Why Haiti?

Although Haiti has the illustrious history of being the first black republic in the world, it has encountered problems of all sorts almost since its beginnings—natural disasters such as hurricanes, several earthquakes, flooding, famine, erosion, in addition to political disasters such as tyrants, dictators, corruption causing extreme poverty for the majority of the population.

Tell us about your staff and operations

In Haiti we have around 25 local nationals on our staff including our director, office manager, logistics manager, well drilling teams, well repair teams, physical plant teams, plus our school administration, teachers and aides, plus support people for it.

How many wells have you drilled since WFL started?

Since 1983, through last month (August 2020) we have drilled more than 2400 boreholes. Some of these were salty or unable to be used but approximately 90% were developed as wells and are currently in operation.

How many wells do you usually drill a year?

Although in the past it has been 120-150 a year, more lately due to all the challenges we face in Haiti we've been able to drill 55-60 per year.

How deep do you normally drill?

Haiti is a mountainous small country and is very rocky and diverse which is why big drill rigs are required. The well depths we drill in the Southwest part of Haiti vary from 50 feet to over 800 feet – with 150 feet being average.

Hand pumps have depth limitations – most such as the India Mark II pump can pump a maximum of 250-300 feet. After that a pump of some other kind is required.

Are these wells free to communities?

They certainly cost someone, because there are many expenses to drilling a well. The local community is responsible for a small part of the cost; however, we seek donors to provide the vast majority of the funding. We get no government funding or grants, relying on the good will and generosity of private donors.

What is the process for a village to obtain a well?

A community person, preferably a leader puts in a request via phone, email or in person. An application form is sent to complete. Then WFL sends a person to investigate and meet with community leaders to explain their responsibilities and other details.

The community must provide the land and money for the well platform—cement, block and other materials plus labor, roughly $150US. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of a well – which is why these villages need sponsors to carry the majority of the cost of the well that they cannot carry.

This is an investment in a community that can last > 40 years…think about what other investments have this kind of duration with such a high impact?!

How does the maintenance program work?

A village leader lets our office know when the well is not working and a service trip is planned. The community members are responsible to pay a small fee towards the repair cost. WFL has 2 service crews who travel out to perform these repairs, using a truck that has a derrick and service equipment to be able to pull the deep wells. These are rural and rugged places that are accessed and need durable and heavy duty equipment. With dozens and even hundreds of people pumping each well every day, they can and do break down and need repair from time to time.

Why can’t the village repair the wells themselves?

The wells are often deep, needing a derrick and specialized equipment, and risk permanent damage if not repaired correctly; it would not be difficult for the pump or other items to be dropped down the well, especially by inexperienced people. This would cause a much greater negative impact for the community.

How is the Gospel message linked with water?

Jesus recognizes the act of giving water

We are called to have compassion on our fellow mankind. Water related deaths, diseases and poverty are well documented but are very difficult to resolve without technology, capital and humans working to answer God’s call to service.

WFL leverages the act of showing compassion and physically demonstrating God’s love for people to tell of the good news of the Gospel and saving faith in Jesus Christ. By meeting a physical need, we want people to understand we care about them as a person, and more importantly, God cares about them!

This requires team work - not everyone can go to Haiti or other countries, but God has called WFL to do this and rely on others—individuals and groups-- to pray and partner with us to carry out this work.

Does WFL do anything else besides water projects?

  1. It also funds a school of some 550 students
  2. It has a mobile medical clinic program
  3. several community irrigation projects
  4. Currently there is a plan for a ministry center where Christian evangelism and discipleship can take place, and also a plan for taking the Gospel to local communities
  5. We try to be open to God’s directing and local need.

Do you partner with other groups?

a. When possible; many groups see the need to provide clean water in rural Haiti but cannot. This is a great partnership since WFL is already following God’s call to do this. We have worked with other groups following the 2010 earthquake, or other disaster relief groups. We are always interested in partnering with other groups or individuals to further the reach of the vision.

  1. I Cor 3 – we each have a part (Paul laid foundation, others built)
  2. I Cor 12 – one body, many parts

Tell me more about the school.

This past school year we had 562 students, from Pre-K through high school. Parents pay about 10% of school expenses through tuition. The rest is paid though child sponsorships or from our general fund.

What does a sponsorship provide?

It helps with our expenses such as staff salaries, the food budget, and infrastructure costs. Also, a sponsored child pays less for tuition, which is very helpful for the parents.

What does it cost to sponsor a child?

$35 per month OR $100 per quarter/ $400 per year sponsors one child. The sponsor receives a photo of the child along with information about him/ her. The child either writes a couple letters a year to the sponsor or if too young will send a page he or she has colored. We ask our sponsors to pray regularly for their child(ren).

What do children eat at the school?

They get a meal of rice with beans, or cornmeal with beans, or bulgur and beans. Sometimes there is meat to make a sauce also. These combos create a complete protein which makes a big difference in the health status of these children.

Tell me more about the mobile clinic program.

Our program has planned for a clinic to take place every 6-8 weeks. We use Haitian doctors, nurses, and support staff to do this work. It includes specialty fields such as dentistry, ophthalmology, gynecology and pediatrics. These clinics mostly take place in schools so there are multiple rooms made available to provide at least a semblance of privacy. We also provide medications that the doctors have prescribed. We plan for about 600 people to be seen during the 2 days of clinic. The people must pay a participation fee, but it’s a small dent in our actual costs.

How can I become a part of these awesome programs?

Donate through our website or by mail to Water For Life, PO Box 456, Kalona, IA 52247.

Also, please pray for God’s favor on us and on the Haitian people!!

Water For Life in Haiti

Water For Life's mission is to provide clean drinking water, irrigation for farming opportunities, education and other means of assistance to the Haitian people.

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