While working for the US Government in the 1990’s, Matt Peterson was surprised to witness people drink water from polluted green rivers where they were also washing their clothes in and feeding cattle from. He later was made aware that polluted drinking water around the world was responsible for prematurely killing 3 million annually, most of them children.
In 2002, a friend of Matt’s told him about how he was purchasing people out of slavery and giving them freedom, land, rice and good news. The story was incredibly inspiring and Matt felt compelled to also do something that would have a significant impact on the suffering. He asked God for a creative idea that would help hundreds of thousands of people, and this prayer led to an answer by way of a business concept that would address the water borne disease crisis he had witnessed years earlier. The concept included selling bottled water in America in order to use the profits to provide clean water for those suffering on the most – the people in Africa. For a year Matt began developing a concept and plan late into the night after work. He then began sharing the plan about selling water in the USA in order tohelp give water a world away. One of those who heard him share this idea was Pat Selvey. Pat was born in Africa and had a dream of providing water for his home continent. He and Matt teamed up to put the plan into action. Others also joined in and volunteered, along with their local church support. Matt then traveled to Tanzania, and while there, asked God if Tanzania was the nation to begin their work. Moments after asking this question, a young boy walked up to him and said, “give me water,” in perfect English, confirming to Matt that Tanzania was indeed the launching place for this effort.
Soon after that experience, Matt shared his concept of providing clean water at a church conference in the USA. A Tanzanian-born man named John Chacha happened to be in the crowd and approached him afterwards, telling him that his sister had died from unclean water, and making a plea that he come with him to help his home village in a remote region of Tanzania. Recognizing that it was no coincidence that it was a Tanzanian asking this, Matt said “yes,” without the experience or the money to begin. That same day, someone donated $15,000 toward the mission. After their first four wells failed, finally, in 2005, Matt and Pat were on-hand to dedicate Hydrating Humanity’s first successful water well for a school with around 1,000 students in John Chacha’s home village where his family resided. Following the success of their first water source, the work began in earnest and they learned quickly that sustained health required that each well be accompanied with Hygiene Education, not just clean water. Pat’s wife Grace developed a hygiene curriculum and they began teaching hygiene at every location where they provided clean water. Josh Young joined the team to help implement the vision and they soon began adding Jesus Film showings in the villages and schools.
Today, several hundred thousand people in East Africa daily drink clean water, several hundred thousand people have received hygiene education and have received the privilege of hearing the news about the living water that produces eternal life.
Meet Our Team
Josh YoungExecutive Director
Pat SelveyInternational Director
Grace SelveyField Trainer
Michael ClintonAdvocacy Director
What Makes Us Different?
We provide our well sponsors with GPS coordinates and photos of their water project as soon as it is completed.
We have a rigorous maintenance program in place to guarantee every pump we install remains in working order.
Water & Hygiene
Clean water alone is only 15% effective at eliminating waterborne disease. When we add Hygiene Training it is 75% effective.