Meet Barika Poole, Florida Section AWWA Chair, World Water Corps Volunteer and a long-time Water For People champion and volunteer!
Tell us your Water For People story: I first was introduced to Water For People through Workplace Giving, and I served on the committee. I then joined World Water Corps and volunteered in Guatemala. Since then I have been to India, and Nicaragua for a donor tour, and have also served as Region III Water For People Chair, organized the largest fundraising event for Florida - Wine For Us. I am now in my 3rd year as the Florida WFP Chair.
What drew you to our work? The commitment to the communities in sustainable projects, in your approach to partnerships and funding, the Everyone Forever initiative, your transparency and willingness to share your work with other organizations, streamlining process, life-changing work, and empowerment of men, women and children in the communities in which you work and those that are exposed to your work.
Tell us one of our favorite Water For People memories: We were visiting a village in Nicaragua and hiking back down from the water source. The ground was a little wet, and I just happened to step in a very wet area and my leg sunk into the ground. I pulled my foot up and my shoe was left stuck in the mud! After help from my teammates fishing it out my shoe, I cleaned up at a nearby house whose water tap had just been installed. They were very proud that they could help me!
What would you like to say to the communities we work with? Thank you for allowing us into your community to assist and expand our world and learn from you. Your initiative and dedication to making change in your lives, community and future generations are inspiring, empowering and have touched lives all over the world. I am fortunate to have been able to meet some of you and I hope to be able to continue to support you in any way I can, now and in the future.
What have you learned from you work with Water For People? Water For People has taught me how fortunate I am to have and provide services in the developed world. It has taught me compassion for those less fortunate, but given the opportunity and resources, these people can thrive. Simple solutions are the best, and cultural sensitivities may trump innovation. Passionate volunteers can really make a difference in the world.
What do you hope to see in our future? More communities served. New initiatives birthed along the lines of the Jalabandhu, Sanitation as a Business. Not only will people have their basic needs, but businesses will grow out of the need, and communities will thrive. I believe the impact of the work will spread to the surrounding areas as communities and governments will take the initiative to implement changes themselves. The donor base will expand as people will see these issues as the basic underlining of poverty, war and economic stability. I see Water For People being the premier organization at the forefront.