In accomplishing Africa’s development goals, water is crucial. This is primarily because Africa faces endemic poverty, food insecurity and pervasive underdevelopment, with a number of African countries lacking the human, economic and institutional capacities to effectively develop and manage their water resources sustainably.
Saran Kaba Jones is a social entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Face Africa a community development organization founded in 2009, working to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and services in rural communities across sub Saharan Africa.
Saran was born in Liberia but left the country at 8, shortly before the country’s civil war began. Sarah spent her formative years in Cote’ d’Ivoire, Egypt, France and Cyprus before moving to the United states in 1999. On returning to Liberia almost 20 years after, Saran was heartbroken to find her country in dire need for clean water, and she made it her life’s mission to help. She is focused on providing safe drinking water, sanitation and empowering girls through education and skills training.
She started out through Face Africa, to give back and contribute to improving lives in Liberia, when she realized the impact of the initiative on her community and how far it had reached, she decided to quit her job and focus on the project fully.
Saran says, “I decided to focus on water because water is life and directly affects every area of development. Children cannot attend school if they are sick from dirty water, and adults suffering from water-borne illnesses overwhelm hospitals and cannot go to work. Hours spent looking for and collecting clean water mean hours not spent adding to a family’s economic well being. It made sense to tackle the issue of water because without it, a country cannot make true progress in terms of development”.
Through Face Africa, hundreds of thousands of dollars was raised from JP Morgan Chase, Coca Cola, the Voss Foundation, P&G, Chevron and the Robert Bosch Foundation to build over 50 WASH projects and has reached 25,000 people in rural Liberia. Face Africa was also at the forefront of Ebola response efforts in Rivercess County, Liberia, where they conducted social mobilization, prevention and awareness and community engagement programs.
Saran’s zeal and achievement shows how much young people are making a huge difference across the globe.