A Rutland-based nonprofit that helps people internationally to get clean water and proper sanitation has tapped Jennifer Scott, the former president of College of St. Joseph, as its new executive director.
For 17 years, Carolyn Crowley Meub served as executive director of Pure Water for the World, but she retired in 2019.
In a statement, Paulina Bendaña, a member of the board of directors for Pure Water for the World, or PWW, and chairwoman for the search committee, said Scott was chosen after the “board undertook an extensive national and international search to find the right person.”
“We are very excited about the leadership and strategic experience Jennifer brings, along with her proven track record of building transformative community partnerships,” Bendana said.
On Thursday, Scott said PWW pursued its mission by “providing solutions” to parts of the world that might not have access to clean water.
According to the Pure Water website, those projects included hygiene training and bio-sand water filters for the people in 100 homes in the northern region of Haiti in 2019, and a pilot program in Guatemala earlier this year to provide clean water and safe hygiene programs to 60 homes.
Scott said PWW was working in Honduras as well.
“Our goal is to identify individual households that are in very remote areas where we can build a safe water system for them by using a bio-sand filter, and training the families on how to use the filter and operate them properly and consistently so they are successful,” Scott said.
“In our day-to-day lives and the privilege we enjoy here in the United States, we forget that there are people in the world, children and families, who suffer from preventable, water-borne diseases because they don’t have access to safe water,” she said.
Other PWW projects include sanitation projects in schools and menstrual hygiene programs in some communities where they work.
The projects are supported by in-country staff, Scott said. Funding comes from a combination of donors and grants.
Scott came to Rutland in 2018 to become president of CSJ, but the college closed down at the end of the 2018-19 academic year after losing its accreditation. Last month, college officials deeded the campus grounds and buildings to Heritage Family Credit Union.
Scott said Pure Water provided her a new opportunity for using her skills.
“I’ve done some meaningful things in my life in terms of service to others, but I have never had the privilege to do good in the world on this scale that Pure Water for the World does it,” she said.
Scott said she was also drawn to the insistence by PWW on quality materials for its projects and quality instructions for those who use it and the people who are already working on clean water and hygiene projects.
“It’s exciting to be a part of such an amazing team of people doing really good work in the world,” she said.
The work done for PWW has practical effects, even on one of the biggest issues of today: the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
One of the most frequently recurring pieces of advice offered to the public is for people to wash their hands with soap and water.
“Those of us in America, in Rutland, in the state of Vermont, recognizing that there are organizations in the world whose sole purpose is to create safe water solutions, it just reminds us of the things that we can do to help prevent the spread of disease by our own hand-washing practices, our own education in the schools, and contributing to organizations that go out and do this every day,” she said.
PWW started as a project of the Rotary Club, and Scott said Rotary members remain very involved in the nonprofit.