Water Well Policy

Make a BIG difference

Letter from our Leadership

January 19, 2023

“They feed with food–despite their own desire for it– the indigent, and the orphan and the captive (saying): ‘We feed you purely for the sake of God. We desire no reward from you, nor thankfulness.” – Surah al-Insan, 8-9

Asalamu Alaikum, Peace Be Upon You,

At Penny Appeal USA, our commitment to upholding the dignity of those we serve is uncompromising. It guides every aspect of our mission: the pursuit of a more equitable world, free of poverty.

Historically, we’ve followed the same practice as many other organizations in offering donors who generously provide funding for water wells the option to have their name, or that of a loved one, permanently placed on a plaque by the project site. This has allowed those who provide this life-saving gift a way to remember their support, especially for those for whom it serves as a Sadaqa Jariya, or continuous charity, on behalf of someone who has passed.

These intentions are beautiful.  However, in visiting the field and speaking with the beneficiaries of these projects, it’s become clear that being reminded daily that they are the recipients of aid – that their families only drink today because someone else gave – and that being made to pose in front of a project for a photograph, takes away from their inherent human dignity. We feel passionately, and we know you’ll agree, that we want these wells to truly, unambiguously belong to the people who use them, without any reservations.  And we recall that just as the recipients of aid have no requirement other than receiving it, a Sadaqa Jariya is often best delivered anonymously. 

That’s why we’re taking the innovative step of phasing out our well plaques. Starting next month, new wells constructed by PA USA will not feature personalized plaques: instead, we’ll be sending you, our donors, a certificate commemorating your gift, naming the person you’re honoring (if you choose), and providing a photo of the well with a unique identifying number and site location to ensure accountability. We’re confident that the plaque will serve as a happier reminder in your living room than on the site.

Thank you as always for your continued support and commitment to ending intergenerational poverty across the world.

John Robbins, Ph.D.

CEO, Penny Appeal USA

(Please note that all existing well commitments already agreed upon will still be honored.)