Founder of Hydrating Humanity
Matt Peterson, husband, father, author and church leader. Matt got involved in the water crisis in 2004, launching HH after an experience in Tanzania with a Masai boy who asked him for water. Before launching Hydrating Humanity, Matt’s work for the U.S. Government took him to the developing world where he gained invaluable insight into issues developing nations face. Matt’s pioneering spirit has led the way to helping thousands and thousands of East Africans gain access to clean, safe water and hygiene education.
How We Started
While working for the US Government in the 1990’s, Matt Peterson was surprised to witness people drink water from polluted green rivers where they were also washing their clothes in and feeding cattle from. He later was made aware that polluted drinking water around the world was responsible for prematurely killing 3 million annually, most of them children. In 2002, a friend of Matt’s told him about how he was purchasing people out of slavery and giving them freedom, land, rice and good news. The story was incredibly inspiring and Matt felt compelled to also do something that would have a significant impact on the suffering. He asked God for a creative idea that would help hundreds of thousands of people, and this prayer led to an answer by way of a business concept that would address the water borne disease crisis he had witnessed years earlier. The concept included selling bottled water in America in order to use the profits to provide clean water for those suffering the most – the people in Africa.
For a year Matt began developing a concept and plan late into the night after work. He then began sharing the plan about selling water in the USA in order to help give water a world away. One of those who heard him share this idea was Pat Selvey. Pat was born in Africa and had a dream of providing water for his home continent. He and Matt teamed up to put the plan into action. Others also joined in and volunteered, along with their local church support. Matt then traveled to Tanzania, and while there, asked God if Tanzania was the nation to begin their work. Moments after asking this question, a young boy walked up to him and said, “give me water,” in perfect English, confirming to Matt that Tanzania was indeed the launching place for this effort.
Soon after that experience, Matt shared his concept of providing clean water at a church conference in the USA. A Tanzanian-born man named John Chacha happened to be in the crowd and approached him afterwards, telling him that his sister had died from unclean water, and making a plea that he come with him to help his home village in a remote region of Tanzania. Recognizing that it was no coincidence that it was a Tanzanian asking this, Matt said “yes,” without the experience or the money to begin. That same day, someone donated $15,000 toward the mission. After their first four wells failed, finally, in 2005, Matt and Pat were on-hand to dedicate Hydrating Humanity’s first successful water well for a school with around 1,000 students in John Chacha’s home village where his family resided.
Following the success of their first water source, the work began in earnest and they learned quickly that sustained health required that each well be accompanied with Hygiene Education, not just clean water. Pat’s wife Grace developed a hygiene curriculum and they began teaching hygiene at every location where they provided clean water. Josh Young joined the team to help implement the vision and they soon began adding Jesus Film showings in the villages and schools.
Today, several hundred thousand people in East Africa daily drink clean water, several hundred thousand people have received hygiene education and have received the privilege of hearing the news about the living water that produces eternal life.
In 2004, Lawson Huntley gave a donation that jumpstarted the vision, and Hydrating Humanity was born.
In 2005, Mike and Jillian Meyers gave the very first sponsorship for a spring well, so Pat Selvey and our African team began to dig.
Josh Young joined the Hydrating Humanity team as the Executive Director.
Jay Helvey and the men of New Canaan Society Sponsored our 100th well.
Steve Witt, Bethel Cleveland and Jim Surace sponsored dozens and dozens of wells and also join the Hydrating Humanity board.
Our Intenational Director, Pat and Grace Selvey moved to Africa to better support and lead our team.
Hydrating Humanity purchases a truck mounted drill rig
Michael Clinton joined the Hydrating Humanity team as Advocacy Director.
Hydrating Humanity completed our 500th well. Over 250,000.00 people are drinking clean, safe water everyday and hearing about the love of Jesus for the first time.
Our collective group of One Tribe members completed there
Hydrating Humanity completed our 1000th well. Over 500,000.00 people are drinking clean, safe water everyday.
Meet Our USA Staff
Meet Our African Staff
Drill Team Mechanic