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Rotary Grant Supports Clean Water in Peru

Six communities in and around Lima, Peru are in the process of receiving clean water systems thanks to a $42,000 global grant awarded by the Rotary International Foundation to the Rotary Club Lima Sunrise in partnership with Living Waters for the World (LWW).

The Rotary grant addresses a huge need in a country where an estimated 40 percent of the population lacks access to clean water. The funds, to be administered by the Rotary Club Lima Sunrise, are earmarked to purchase hardware for six sustainable water systems, site preparation costs and some of the planning costs.

One community that is already benefiting from the Rotary grant is Pachacutec, Ventanilla, just north of Lima, where a team from Clear Lake Presbyterian Church of Houston, TX installed a system at the Santa Maria School in late 2016.

Mary Isabell Villegas, director of Santa Maria School, interacts with mission coworker Rusty Edmonson and LWW team members Carson Salyer and Don Edwards.

The school has 625 students and 25 staff, and Mary Isabell Villegas, the school’s director, reports that all the students use the water. They are also promoting the water within the community and encouraging families to come to the school and get the treated water regularly. In their first two months of operation, the school’s system processed 5,000 gallons of water – a great start.

Three Rotary Clubs with members who are also actively involved with Living Waters for the World partnered to bring the Rotary Foundation grant to fruition. But it all started with Don Metzler, an active member of the Rotary Club Space Center in Houston, Texas, member of the Clearlake Presbyterian Church water team, and immediate past moderator of LWW’s Peru Network.

“When I became aware that the Rotary Foundation gives grants for clean water, I began looking into it,” Don said. From the Rotary website, he learned that all grant applications require a partnership between a U.S. Rotary Club and an in-country club.

El Centro Bautista also received a Living Waters for the World water system funded by the Rotary International grant.

Don knew exactly the right two people to partner on the grant application. He contacted Terry Allen of the Rotary Club Nashville and Rusty Edmondson of Rotary Club Lima Sunrise. Terry has been a leader of the Living Waters team at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville, and a veteran of numerous work trips to Peru. Through Terry, the Rotary Club of Nashville became involved.

Don knew Rusty Edmondson, who with wife Sara Armstrong, serve as mission coworkers in Peru with the Presbyterian Church USA. Rusty has been supportive of Living Waters for the World and helps in many ways, including identifying sites in Peru where systems need to go. Through Rusty, the Rotary Club in Lima got on board.

The Peru Network of Living Waters for the World is a family affair for the three Rotarians who partnered on the grant application. Don’s wife Patti Metzler is currently secretary of the Peru Network Coordinating Team and a 102 (health education) graduate of Clean Water U. Terry’s wife Suzanne Allen is also a 102 graduate of Clean Water U and has taught many in-country health education classes.

Students at El Centro Bautista learn about the spread of germs as part of LWW's health education curriculum.

Sara Armstrong and Rusty Edmondson were appointed in January 2009 to serve in Peru at the invitation of one of the Peruvian Protestant Churches, the Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriana Reformada del Perú. Sara is an ordained minister of PC(USA). Their many ministries in Peru include organizing, coordinating and translating for visiting delegations, including LWW teams.

Additionally, Living Waters for the World volunteers play key roles in in this initiative to share clean water with Peruvians. Carson Salyer is current moderator of LWW’s Peru Network and facilitates all LWW water projects there. Carson, a recently retired minister of the PC(USA), is a veteran installer of clean water systems and has trained many others in installation technology in both the United States and Peru. Rob Crowell of the San Gabriel (California) Presbytery is co-moderator of the Peru Network and will succeed Carson when his term ends in 2018.

The Rotary Foundation has been helping people throughout the world for over one hundred years. Providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene is one of the Foundation’s key causes. More than a million Rotary Club members throughout the world support the non-profit foundation’s goal of working together to make positive and lasting change in communities at home and abroad.

For more information about Rotary International, visit their website at

For more information about forming your own Living Waters for the World water team, click here.


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