After traveling to the developing world as part of a medical team, Dr. Ted Mettetal returned with a heavy heart for people who were suffering because they lacked access to clean water. In February 2010, he founded HSW, a 501(c)(3) to bring hope to the developing world through clean water, improved sanitation, and public health and hygiene education.
The earliest HSW projects originated in Nicaragua in villages along the Coco River. HSW then spread to Belize where a major initiative was launched to reclaim 150 abandoned (contaminated and rusted) wells.
Because Africa has one of the highest percentages of deaths related to water-borne diseases than any continent in the world, HSW answered cries for clean water in 2011 by placing wells in Bunyagira, Uganda, and the Tollee district of Ethiopia. HSW also partnered with other organizations to fund wells in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a rainwater catchment and storage system in Rwanda, and a water treatment project in Sierra Leone to help ward off an impending cholera epidemic, which impacted over 12,000 people.
Since 2013, HSW has maintained two W.A.S.H (water, sanitation, hygiene) zones in Ethiopia and Belize. Within these zones, HSW partners with local governments and NGOs to provide year-round logistical and operational support to ensure the sustainability of water projects. Volunteer teams, along with an HSW project coordinator, travel to these zones an average of six times during the dry season months of October-June. During these trips, the teams drill borehole wells, reclaim existing wells, build latrines, and teach hygiene through a school-based WASH program, which includes a deworming and vaccination program. In 2016, HSW expanded these school-based programs to address the growing concern of menstrual hygiene management (MHM), a major contributor to absenteeism among girls in secondary schools.
To date, HSW has brought its mission of clean water, improved sanitation and public health and hygiene education to 12 countries and has over 85 completed water projects, which bring clean water and sanitation to more than 100,000 people today.