Georgia State student launches clean water initiative for Uganda

Trace Rawl, an intern at MAP International, strives to gain support for his clean water project for Uganda.

Itao Anna fought a daily battle of trying to keep her four grandchildren alive. Living in Kanameriongor Village, Anna and the other residents struggled to stay healthy because of inadequate access to clean water. During the rainy season, the villagers’ only choice was to drink dirty water in order to avoid dehydration. The dirty water carried diseases like dysentery and typhoid and was unsuitable for cleaning clothes.

Kanameriongor Village is located in Uganda, also known as The Pearl of Africa. The country earned its nickname as a result of its “…fantastic natural scenery and a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures,” according to, the official website of the Uganda Tourist Board. The site also states that Uganda was rated “…as the world’s most preferred tourism destination for the year 2012” by Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.

Anna’s story lies in stark contrast to the more widely recognized image of Uganda as a world-renowned tourist destination. However, the issue of the inadequacy of clean water in the Kanameriongor Village is as widespread as the acceptance of Uganda as a must-see location. The water issue is a global one, but Georgia State student Trace Rawl is working as an intern with global non-profit Christian organization MAP International to tackle the problem.

Trace Rawl, an intern at MAP International, strives to gain support for his clean water project for Uganda.
Trace Rawl, an intern at MAP International, strives to gain support for his clean water project for Uganda.

Rawl is a sophomore at Georgia State, majoring in political science with a concentration in international affairs. His interest in non-profit work, specifically the water crisis, began during his freshman year after reading Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS. Rawl said he was very intrigued by the water crisis after reading the book.

He started his own company, Kaizen Water, selling reusable water bottles. Half of the profits supported clean water wells in developing countries and the other half went back into the company.

After giving it a go at his own company, Rawl decided to become a part of another one. He became an intern at the Atlanta branch of MAP International. He was informed of the position by a family member who works at the headquarters in Brunswick, Ga.

Since he already had an interest in the water crisis, Rawl decided that this would be his focus as an intern at MAP. His current project is raising money that will help bring clean water technologies to Uganda including Sawyer Filters and sand dams. A Sawyer Filter is a water filtration system made up of hundreds of tiny tubes. When dirty water is pumped through the tubes, contaminants get trapped in the tubes, and clean water comes out of the other end of the pump.

“These filters filter 75 percent of disease and 99 percent of bacteria,” Rawl said.

A sand dam collects, filters and protects rain water until it is harvested. The rain is cleaned as it passes through the sand and is shielded from animals that could contaminate the water source.

“Up to 1,000 people can benefit from sand dams and they only cost about 8,000 dollars,” Rawl said.

Rawl hopes that through his clean water initiative, he will help accomplish MAP’s goal of targeting a younger demographic. He emphasizes the importance that gaining the support of students here at Georgia State will help MAP to continue their global outreach.

“If we’re going to continue to do the work that we do, we have to have a lot more young people that are going to be lifelong donors,” he said.

In order to raise money for his project, Rawl seeks to spread awareness on and off campus. He plans to hang posters in Langdale Hall and place QR Code (Quick Response Code) stickers around the city. He is also promoting his project online through the use of social media with help from his friends.

Rawl’s clean water project for Uganda is just one among many of the ways that MAP International provides aid to developing countries. The official website,, states that MAP has its origins in “…providing essential medicines for mission clinics and hospitals in developing areas around the world.”

“Now our program is more comprehensive and we call that The Total Health village,” Vice President of Global Programs at MAP Dr. Ravi Jayakaran said.

Total Health communities are “…learning to take ongoing action to improve their own health and development in a comprehensive or holistic way. Strategies focused on physical, emotional, social, economic, environmental and spiritual well-being ensure advances are sustained over time,” the MAP website states.

Jayakaran also described countries that MAP is impacting the most. He said Indonesia is tremendously impacted by the organizations efforts. MAP also has worked to prevent and treat Neglected Tropical Diseases in Kenya and Uganda. Jayakaran also said MAP managed to completely eliminate malaria in a village in Ghana.

Jayakaran also discussed the importance of utilizing college students to ensure the success of non-profit organizations like MAP. He said MAP is looking to expand and offer its aid to those in need in Atlanta.

“We need your energy and your networks…You guys will be beautiful examples to them,” Jayakaran said, referring to college students.

“I think the most gratifying part of being an intern at MAP has been seeing how genuine the people who work there are, and their unrelenting desire to help those in extreme poverty. I have never met people so selfless and passionate about their work,” said Rawl.

For more information on Rawl’s clean water project, visit