3.2 MILLION+ LIVES TRANSFORMED
On November 12th, history was made. In a multi-charity effort led by The Last Well, the final village in Liberia received Sawyer filters, marking the beginning of basic clean water access, border-to-border, for the entire nation.
Liberia is the first developing country in history to reach this achievement as described by UN Sustainability Goal #6, completely rewriting what’s possible for global humanitarian aid. To understand the scale of its success, let’s take a look at The Liberia Project by the numbers:
Years to complete: 12
Wells drilled: 3,717
Sawyer Filters donated: 130,000+
Filter villages: 7,468
Diarrhea reduction: 90%+
Estimated lives saved: 150,000+
Lives impacted: 3,200,000+
Though impressive, these metrics fall short in telling stories of life change. We are unable to quantify the complexity of reaching Liberia’s remote corners, just as it’s impossible to measure the kindled joy found in Liberian communities. For these things, we lean into stories, faces, and moments captured over the past 12 years.
Reaching the corners of the rugged, West Africa nation took over a decade of scouting, methodical assessment, and determined ground teams. Discover the challenge and impact through the stories below.
The Liberia Project Recap
Travel to the jungles of West Africa to meet the Liberian communities, understand the critical need of clean water, and see the life-changing solutions at work for the first time.
Lives saved, communities transformed.
Through new technology, research teams are collecting and processing data from 100,000+ filters, showing restored monetary income and diarrhea reduction by over 90%.
How it Happened: Interview with Elijah Harlie
Elijah Harlie was a project manager and key figure in the Liberia Project. What challenges did he face along the way? What did it look like to have a network of Liberians for the project?
Reaching the Unreached
What does it take to reach every household in Liberia, even the last 20% everyone said was impossible to reach? Everything from long distance treks on foot to jungle bikes, ferries, and Land Cruisers.
The Future of Clean Water Initiatives
“If we knew what we know now, Liberia would not have taken twelve years. It would have taken four.”
Where are we going after Liberia? How about three countries in three years?
SAWYER X THE LAST WELL
In 2009, a group of young adults catalyzed in an effort to foster lasting change in their lifetime, and The Last Well was born. At that time, Liberia was the 2nd poorest country in the world. A civil war had gutted the country’s infrastructure, and the nation was considered the most miserable place on earth. By 2014, matters compounded with a terrible Ebola outbreak. This group of young adults accepted the challenge of border-to-border clean water, an unprecedented feat for a developing country, and The Last Well was born.
Skip forward to 2015, the Last Well discovered they would not be able to finish Liberia with just wells – a solution that worked well in some communities but proved unsustainable in others. By chance, The Last Well founder Todd Phillips was introduced to the Sawyer Products team and momentum ramped back up. In a short amount of time, Sawyer donated 130,000 filters to The Last Well to help complete the entire country. The Last Well could now reach the forgotten ones – the 20% of Liberia everyone said was impossible to reach. Sawyer ultimately donated another 30,000 filters and paid for the country-wide assessment (census), collecting GIS data for wells and filters.
The partnership was a product of happenstance and of what can happen when companies and non-profits work together to accomplish a greater mission, which has created a replicable framework for global clean water initiatives. Interested in The Last Well?
We are an outdoor company on a mission to change the world through Products with Purpose™. Browse below for Liberia case studies, press releases, and further education around our filter technology.