UPS and WWB: A Partnership Providing Clean Water to Hurricane-Devastated Honduras
Although using the Sawyer PointONE filter to purify unhealthy water is a very simple process, getting the equipment into another country and into the hands of a new Water Woman can sometimes be a little more difficult.
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, it can become nearly impossible. Airports could be closed. Customs services may be shut down. The people who receive and deliver shipments might not be able to get to work. In Honduras, after the catastrophe of two hurricanes in the span of a few weeks, all of those things happened.
But thanks to The UPS Foundation, and the experts who make UPS deliveries happen on time, every day, all around the world, thousands of filters are making their way into the hardest hit areas of Honduras. And clean water is being delivered to God’s thirsty children.
Usually, the UPS Foundation works with larger organizations said Alice Turner, who is the Foundation’s Supervisor for UPS’s Humanitarian Relief and Resilience Program.
“We heard from many organizations that there was a great need for clean water,” she said. “We have employees in Honduras, and were hearing the same thing from them. We received an email from Sr. Larraine saying she had filters and needed help shipping them. We looked up Water With Blessings and decided we could help.”
The first part of the help was in the form of a large shipment of filters, the cost underwritten completely by The UPS Foundation. The second part was clearing the hurdles created by the impact of the hurricanes.
“The reality of shipping is that there are complex clearances and scrutiny that you have to face,” said Gary Carle, Global Customer Program Manager for UPS Healthcare. “You have to clear customs both before shipping and then where the shipment arrives. Those are the most difficult part in logistics. In the situation we faced, it was better to clear as much as we could ahead of time.
“We worked closely with Sr. Larraine and her staff, along with the vendor of the filters, to get the paperwork correct on both ends and have the customs duty waivers go through as quickly as possible. It worked out really well.”
Another wrinkle occurred because the airport in Honduras was closed. The shipment instead went to El Salvador, and UPS trucks transported the filters to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, adding another level of customs to be cleared. But now, with their training completed and equipment in hand, thousands of Water Women across Honduras are providing clean water to their own and three other families.
“Some women had walked many miles to receive the training, and the training team staying there longer to wait for women who were still on the way,” Alice Turner said. “It’s wonderful working with a group that is super-passionate about making a difference, making sure the equipment gets there and is used correctly. The training, the tracking of the filters, keeping in touch with the women and families – it’s very, very impressive.”
Gary Carle said, “It was a privilege and honor to be a part of this. It’s been inspirational for us to see the result, see the people being helped.”
We at Water With Blessings are inspired that an international corporation has a heart for the poor and suffering, and has made the effort to bring the gift of clean water to those in need. Once again, we thank all the people at UPS and The UPS Foundation for being our partners in bringing relief to Honduras so quickly and efficiently.