DENVER, CO, Apr. 24, 2009 -- Water For People, an international, nonprofit development organization dedicated to addressing global water, sanitation and hygiene challenges, awarded $24,000 to organizations addressing the needs for water and sanitation in the Dominican Republic. The awards were made at a conference in Santo Domingo that they hosted. The conference brought together over 15 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that presented some of the water and sanitation needs in the Dominican Republic and how Water For People and others can help address them. The awards were presented to eight NGOs for their sustainable programs. The conference was the first step in Water For People's plan to work in the Dominican Republic.
The conference included presentations by key sector role players, regional breakouts and discussions which lead to recommendations for assistance in the future. Raising awareness, providing technical assistance, additional networking and communication were identified as needs by those in attendance. A "meet and greet" reception was held on Tuesday evening. Participants include Water For People's Ned Breslin, Acting CEO, Diana Betancourt, Latin American Program Coordinator and Robert Adamski, UN Representative and Water For People's Team lead in the Dominican Republic. Ned Breslin commented, "This conference was an important first step in Water For People's new program. We were glad to have the opportunity to meet those working to better the water and sanitation access for the residents of the Dominican Republic. We consider the awards to be down payments on future work." Over 40 participants representing over 15 NGOs attended, with 12 making presentations.Water For People, which began a partnership with the Engineers Without Borders Chapter at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU in Brooklyn, NY, was assisted with the conference by three of their members and one from Stevens Institute of New Jersey. The new Chapter will be learning program management skills and began by obtaining data about the water and sanitation programs of the NGOs and plotting them on Google Earth. Their work will be included in a report of the conference to be produced and posted on Water For People's website.The conference was a follow-up to the scoping study completed by Water For People's World Water Corps in 2007. The World Water Corps is Water For People's volunteer arm that strategically utilizes the technical skills of the North American water and wastewater industry to fill identified gaps in Water For People's programming. A World Water Corps team visited the Dominican Republic in 2007 and found there was need for Water For People's involvement and recommended adding the country under Water For People's Strategic Plan. The Board agreed and added the Dominican Republic along with Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Rwanda and Uganda.Founded in 1991, Water For People is a nonprofit international development organization that supports safe drinking water and sanitation projects in developing countries.###