Plumbers Without Borders Programs
In Seattle, King, and Pierce counties, PWB volunteers have been providing pro-bono plumbing services to a variety of local organizations, as well as to individuals in need. Through the generosity of numerous volunteer plumbers and related industry tradespersons, our collective efforts here in our home region have enabled many families in need to achieve their plumbing and sanitation goals and become part of a healthy and stronger community. Projects have included rehabbing foreclosed homes (Habitat for Humanity) completely re-plumbing all water, waste, and vent piping, as well as assisting local organizations such as: Step by Step, Helping Link, Engineers Without Borders (Seattle), and El Centro de la Raza. All work was donated by certified local plumbers.
Plumbers throughout the US and Canada want to apply their skills and knowledge towards alleviating the suffering caused by the lack of safe water and sanitation. They are impassioned to serve and be part of the global solution. PWB encourages all plumbers, wherever they are, to familiarize themselves with their local organizations and offer their services as they can within their own communities. Our ultimate goal includes establishing local chapters wherever there are enough plumbers willing to form, promote volunteerism, and help achieve our mission.
International Efforts include collaborative and consultative work, supporting organizations and individuals involved in water and sanitation projects throughout the world. PWB has connected and referred volunteer Plumbers to assist or consult on a variety of projects including Haiti, Africa, South America, and Nepal. Education and advocacy for safe water and sanitation systems is a key component of our sustaining strategy. PWB will promote and expand educational opportunities, enabling communities to achieve self-sustainability and health-promoting hygienic plumbing and sanitation systems.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Ethiopia: In 2013, PWB committed their support to another Seattle grass-roots group of dedicated volunteers, doctors and medical professionals of Seattle Alliance Outreach (SAO). Their mission, to improve medical and surgical procedures, where urgently needed, dovetails well with PWB, as most medical facilities rely on safe water and sanitation, yet many such centers of Health are sorely lacking adequate plumbing and sanitation systems. Together with SAO, PWB envisions being able to reach and serve more people, as skills and resources are brought to bear.
Haiti: Through our collaborative efforts with another Seattle ngo: World Water Partners, and the Haitian vocational college: Haiti Tec, one of our board members and active volunteer plumber: Fred Schilling (Florida) is pursuing the advancement of plumbing education in Haiti, and working towards increasing Haiti's plumbing and sanitation infrastructure As women are the most burdened with the task of obtaining and carrying water for their families in most developing areas, it is indeed foretelling of the optimism and determination of Haiti’s future Plumbers, when Fred recently was able to present new plumbing tool kits to an entire class of women plumbing graduates, at Haiti-tec.
PWB's core structure is based on developing a global database of volunteer plumbers and the organizations that need their services. Our efforts have been totally volunteer-driven, with the founders covering all operating costs thus far. We’re encouraged by the generosity of our volunteers who have donated thousands of hours to accomplish this work. As we’ve grown and taken on more projects, our capacity to serve requires added support. We’re seeking funding to help us with general operating costs, so we can complete our database and more efficiently and sustainably serve the volunteers and organizations involved in doing the critical health-giving work of providing access to clean water and sanitation.