Soldier, clean water activist killed in Afghanistan

HAMDEN, CT, Oct. 9, 2009 -- Benjamin Sklaver, 32, Captain, US Army and founder of ClearWater Initiative, was killed on October 2nd in Afghanistan, on his second tour of duty with the 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division...

HAMDEN, CT, Oct. 9, 2009 -- Benjamin Sklaver, 32, Captain, US Army and founder of ClearWater Initiative ("ClearWater"), was killed on October 2nd in Afghanistan, on his second tour of duty with the 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division. He was buried October 6th in CT with military honors including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Captain Sklaver explained his previous military mission in Northern Uganda as going "into neighborhoods to leave behind wells for safe water and hope." There he saw the suffering of refugees unable to return to their villages due to the lack of access to clean water. He started ClearWater in 2007 to continue this mission once back home in the United States.

"Ben's excitement about ClearWater was infectious. He had a true passion for helping those less fortunate. While others think about helping, Ben took the initiative based on his experience with the military and work at the Centers for Disease Control to start this simple but extraordinary organization that works to solve an underlying cause of human insecurity," said Elaina Loizou, ClearWater Board member and Sklaver classmate from The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

ClearWater, a non-profit, charitable organization, provides clean water by building protected springs and fixing boreholes for populations with no potable water source due to natural or man-made humanitarian emergencies. To date, ClearWater has provided potable water to over 6,500 individuals in remote, conflict-ridden villages in Uganda. The organization is on track to double that number over the next year to meet its goal of providing access to 250,000 people within ten years. Ugandan villages praised Ben calling his work a "miracle" and praying, "Long live Moses Ben." His efforts help reduce infant mortality and lead to longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

Sklaver was killed in Murcheh, Afghanistan, when a suicide attacker ambushed his unit. Another U.S. soldier and their interpreter were killed in the attack. At the time he was leading a joint dismounted patrol meeting with local leaders to discuss ways of creating sustainable infrastructure.

He was a 1995 graduate of Hamden High School and was graduated from Tufts University. He received his master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. While at Tufts he enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and was commissioned in 2003.

To honor Ben's memory and forward his vision, donations can be made to ClearWater Initiative at www.ClearWaterinitiative.org

About ClearWater Initiative
ClearWater Initiative is an organization that executes charitable clean water projects in northern Uganda was started in 2007. ClearWater operates on the principles of simplicity and sustainability. ClearWater works with local communities to repair existing boreholes, and to build protected springs and wells. ClearWater uses only locally-purchased materials to ensure that repair parts are available, relies on Ugandan engineers and labor from local communities to provide employment and skills training, and ensures that the community takes ownership of each project. Furthermore, each project is approved by local and district water officials before construction begins.

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