CINCINNATI — Some Ohio college students are getting together to help end the global water crisis by building water wells in Africa.
The idea came from Walsh University business student Joe Knopp. He spent a lot of time coming up with business plans but ultimately decided his business needed to center on making a difference in the world.
“My mom always told me eat to your green beans and drink your water before getting up from the dinner table because there are kids in Africa that don’t have that luxury,” Knopp said.
His mother was right. Knopp learned many children in Uganda had to walk miles just to find water that was not even sanitary. Knopp knew it was time to act, so he teamed up with his roommate Chip and Xavier University student Zachary Kane to find a solution.
“I ended up messaging him on LinkedIn,” Kane said. “Six months later, we’ve dug six wells, supported building a school and three other schools, an orphanage and a hospital.”
The guys created a company and a nonprofit called Ripple, where they sell metal water bottles and split the proceeds to build modern wells in Africa.
“From March until October, we sold bottles,” said Knopp. “Every thousand bottles builds a well and we built the first-ever modern solar-powered well for a remote village in Uganda.”
Since Knopp returned from Africa, he said support for the bottles and the mission have skyrocketed. Right now, five more wells are in the construction process. The team is heading back to build four more in April.
“Just to live where we do, to have the access to water and education that we do, the safety and security of living here. We are very blessed,” Kane said.
Despite the progress, the road hasn’t been easy. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced its share of setbacks, like shipping delays. Regardless, Knopp said, he believes his team — with the help of the public — can make a big difference.
“We’re all a bunch of 20-somethings,” Knopp said. “So if we live to 80, we’ve got another 60 years of giving people clean water. In just nine months, we’ve already given over 20,000 people clean water."
You can make a contribution to Ripple by purchasing a water bottle online.