Saran Kaba Jones

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I have a strong concern and compassion for others, and have always strived to help whenever possible. From a very young age, I was exposed to a world of diplomacy, travel and community service (my father was a public servant and career diplomat).

Born in Liberia, my experiences traveling the world, as well as my time spent living in four different countries (Ivory Coast, Egypt, France and Cyprus), made me certain I wanted to do something internationally that would help people, and specifically my native Liberia.

In October 2008, during my first visit to Liberia in nearly 20 years, I was faced with the harsh realities of a post-conflict Liberia and the enormous challenges facing the country. My visits to various communities, orphanages, markets, clinics, etc exposed me to a cycle of poverty for which I was woefully and naively unprepared. The long and devastating civil war had left Liberia’s infrastructures in ruins – roads, buildings, health clinics, communications networks, schools, farms and factories were almost totally destroyed. With one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, extreme poverty with average earnings of $1 a day, no electricity, no running water or sewage system, and an inadequate education system, the country had enormous needs.

I left Liberia somewhat depressed and disheartened but also had a new found understanding of the needs and challenges as well as ways in which I could contribute to the rebuilding efforts. One of the areas that I felt needed immediate attention was the water and sanitation issue. The war destroyed major water points and water systems, forcing millions of Liberians to go without access to clean and safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.

In October 2009, with a $10,000 grant from the Davis Project for Peace and in partnership with Clean Water for Kids, we began implementing our first clean water project in Barnesville, Liberia. The project involved the installation of a water purification system capable of producing up to 20,000 liters of drinking water per day.

Exactly one year later, we broke ground on a water and sanitation project in a small rural community called Joezohn with no access to safe drinking water or sanitation facilities. The project was implemented in partnership with Concern Liberia and funded with the help of a $20,000 grant from the Chase Community Giving Program.

This was just the beginning of an ambitious yet simple goal: clean, safe drinking water for EVERY SINGLE person in Liberia!

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