LOOK: Bringing Wells to Rural Ghana

Well Done is working to deliver clean water to villages in Ghana and they're succeeding, one well at a time.

The Numbers concerning global water issues are staggering. In excess of 1 billion people-about four times the population of the United States-lack access to clean, safe water, and 6,000 people die each day because of water-related illnesses. The situation is particularly grave in Ghana, where waterborne diseases are rampant.

Indeed, the magnitude of the problem can make any effort to solve it seem destined to fail. Yet the founders of Well Done, an ongoing effort to bring new wells that deliver clean water to villages in Ghana, operate on the belief that it's better to try and fail than to have never tried at all. And so far, they're succeeding, one well at a time.

Well Done began in 2007 as a project for Brute Labs, an eight-person organization founded by Gregory Powel and Joshua To that aims to solve a vast array of problems-from cyclone relief to the promotion of student health to the need for increased social entrepreneurship opportunities-through peer networks. In the wake of an experience in Ghana with the missionary organization Pioneers-Africa, To approached Powel with an idea for a project that was both simple and imposing: to dig a well in Ghana. Neither of the young men had an idea how to make that happen, but both committed to getting it done.

While they didn't know the first thing about well construction, they did know members of Pioneers-Ghana, who had worked on various clean water initiatives, and who were able to connect them with leaders of a Nso Nyame, a rural town in Central Ghana in dire need of water access. As To and Powel went to work fund-raising in the States, the members of Pioneers were able to facilitate the technological research and physical construction of the well with the help of the local government and community. By June of 2008, after Pioneers agreed to match the funds raised by To and Powel, not one but two wells were constructed.

Well Done expects to finish four more wells by the end of 2009. They're doing so not through expertise per se, but by leveraging the power of existing communities, creative grassroots fund-raising (such as its marvelously successful Wine to Water event), and maintaining low overhead (fewer than 10 people work on an entirely voluntary basis, meaning all money goes directly to the cause).

"We want to expand to move beyond Ghana," says To, "in other countries in Africa as well as developing nations in South America and around the world. Not just with wells, but with water access and advocacy campaigns that continue to make a difference." If Well Done continues to grow, it will be the creative fund-raising efforts and action opportunities for supporters that enable it to do so.


Sponsor a water project: Well Done will connect you with a partner organization that can technically implement the project and provide you with a toolkit to launch a fund-raising campaign at home. Your initiative can profoundly impact the livelihood of an entire village. Contact.

Raise awareness on the global water crisis: One simple way to do this is through the purchase of a "Water is Life" t-shirt. The design of the T-shirt communicates the issue of global water scarcity, and all proceeds go directly to clean water projects.

Initiate your own creative water campaign: To support Well Done, individuals have run marathons, thrown charity wine events, designed T-shirts, and written articles. If you have a passion, you can send a creative idea to

Header photo by Joshua To. Bottom photo courtesy of Well Done Team.
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

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Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

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For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

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In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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