Atlanta Attorney and Philanthropist Dan Phelan Brings Water to More Than 66,000 People in the Dominican Republic Through Major Water Project With Children International

The Water Project Is an Example of Local Government, an NGO and Community Residents Leveraging Resources and Working Together for Positive Change
Jun 24, 2014 9:10 AM ET
Campaign: Water

Kansas City, MO, June 24, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Atlanta Attorney and Philanthropist Dan Phelan is working this week to complete a major water project with Children International in the Dominican Republic, which is bringing clean water to more than 66,000 people. Phelan’s water project is an example of how local government, a nongovernmental organization and community residents can leverage resources and work together in order to have a significant positive impact.

Phelan set out with a group of friends in the fall of 2013 to begin work on his third water project with Children International in the Greater Boca Chica area of the Dominican Republic. (Read about Dan Phelan’s previous water projects.) The project was set to take place in a community called Valiente. In Valiente, people were spending large amounts of their disposable income on purchasing clean water from vendors, or were forced to walk miles for dirty, unsafe water. The original plan was to dig a well that would provide water to the community.  

Having access to clean water in communities like Valiente is important for several reasons. There are the obvious health concerns. But beyond that, a lack of readily available clean water can cause school absences – either due to illness or because a child is sent to collect water for their family. Missing school is detrimental to a child’s education. When clean water is available from a reliable source, these problems are minimal, if not nonexistent.   

While visiting Valiente for an initial meeting with the community leaders, Phelan stumbled onto a water hose lying on the ground. The community leaders informed Phelan that government water would come from the hose infrequently, and at random times. It was connected to a 2-million-gallon tank about a mile away, which was owned by the government water authority CORAABO (Corporación de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Boca Chica). CORAABO had several broken assets like the tank, which they did not have the money to fix.

Phelan and the other donors decided to work with Children International and CORAABO on a project of a grander scale rather than move forward with their initial plan. They provided financial assistance to help fix the water tank and other broken assets, and CORAABO helped by fixing the pipes and installing new parts so that the result is an end-to-end water system. The new water system, which spans across the Greater Boca Chica area, will include four substations in four communities, including Valiente. At the substations, reverse osmosis filtration takes place, and residents are able to access clean, safe water. The substations are built by Children International work teams, contributors like Phelan and community members. The last two substations will be finished by July 1, completing the major water project.

Additionally, CORAABO and the local community members were assigned responsibility for the care of the water system. “Getting buy-in from the community is so important for a project like this,” says Phelan. “We come alongside these communities, and we help them until they are able to do it on their own. And it is important that they know that this is now their well, and their tanks, and their substations.” CORAABO is making sure the rehabilitated well and other new assets are secured, meaning they cannot be easily stolen or vandalized. And community members have stepped up to watch over the substations and collect funds for repairs when necessary.

“The project really turned out to be a home run,” Phelan said. He has even asked CORAABO to give him additional proposals for future projects and plans to work closely with Children International staff members in the Dominican Republic to bring clean, safe water to even more people and more communities. “There are more tanks that can be fixed, and more communities that can be served. CORAABO’s vision is to have water in everyone’s homes, and I would love to help make that a reality.”

Make a donation toward water and sanitation projects for an impoverished community.

Watch video of Dan Phelan’s water projects in Manolito and Mi Progreso for a better understanding of the water projects and the impact they have had on those communities.

About Children International
Children International prepares children and youth to escape the traps of poverty by supporting their critical needs, building resilience and engaging them in transformative activities. Children International accomplishes this by providing crucial benefits and compassionate care through easily accessible, modern community centers. Children International’s presence, programs and supporters have a positive impact on children, youth, families and communities; provide protection; encourage self-sufficiency; and serve as catalysts for change.

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Christy Howard
Corporate Communications
Children International
Direct:  (816) 943-3730

Brittany Gelbach
Public Relations
Children International
Direct: (816) 943-3832