Play Soccer, Drink Clean Water: GOALS teams up with Waves 4 Water to change the game

The GOALS crew at Darbonne

More people die from preventable, water-borne illnesses each year than from malaria, HIV/AIDS and war combined. Waves for Water is on a mission to make the epidemic of dirty drinking water ancient history around the world. In Haiti, GOALS is now W4W’s newest implementation partner, and we are working together to ensure that after playing soccer, every kid in Haiti will have access to clean water. This is sport-for-development in action! With Nike’s Game Changer kits, which combines soccer gear and a simple filtration system in a bucket, GOALS is currently establishing new program sites with local community leaders.

In June, GOALS and W4W distributed kits to some of our current football teams in Léogane, Haiti in addition to supporting new sites. We visited Daniel Tillas, a partner of ours in the Cité Soleil neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, for a demonstration and distribution under the scorching sun and midday heat. As everyone watched, sweating and shielding their eyes, the W4W crew showed how to use the filter system. When the dirty, murky water was transformed into clear, sweet drinking water, the kids clamored for ataste. It was incredible to see children reaching eagerly for the clean water. All it took was one person to sip the filtered water for everyone to believe that the kits weren’t too good to be true. Even better, when the demonstration was over, the kids took off playing with their new soccer balls with the knowledge that they could drink clean water when they finished. Can soccer be used for international development? Clearly, yes!

Jon Rose, founder and director of W4W, demonstrates the filter system

From Cité Soleil, GOALS and W4W headed south to La Coline and St George. This summer, GOALS has started new soccer programs in both areas, marking our expansion outside of the Leogane area. All in all, we were able to distribute 200 kits in just a few days, all to sites where soccer-for-development programs are either well established or slated to begin this summer. As a result, we will be able to ensure that the kits are being used correctly, answer any questions, and continue our emphasis on civic leadership and environmental stewardship through love of the game.

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Waves for Water, and we’re excited to bring you more news of our shared work soon. We started with 120 children in one fishing village in Leogane a year ago, and are now working with over 500 kids throughout Haiti’s West and South regions. Most of our projects impact players’ families as well – as the average player has an additional seven residents in his or her household, GOALS is indirectly affecting an additional 3,500 people. Thanks to Waves 4 Water, GOALS is now poised to change the quality of daily life for kids in Haiti faster than ever before, helping us strive to become one of the country’s true Game Changers.

W4W at Darbonne (Photo: Jack Rose)

Going to be in Seattle this September? Come to our "Zumba for GOALS" fundraiser at Community Fitness in Seattle on September 17, 5:30-8:30. Check our homepage soon for complete details!

Like these photos? Visit the supplementary photo albums (one and two) on our Facebook page.