WARSAW — Although Jim Hocking considers Warsaw home, you’d be hard pressed to find him there watching the grass grow. Hocking and his wife, Faye, bought their home 20 years ago. Although each of their four children attended Warsaw Community High School at some point in time, most of their childhoods were spent in central Africa.
Hocking was raised as the son of missionaries in the Central African Republic, a landlocked country of nearly five million people, located in the heart of Africa and, by nearly all metrics, one of the poorest countries in the world. Born in Warsaw in 1954 where his father was a seminary student, Hocking moved to the CAR in 1957, where he went to school and spent most of his life.
Hocking eventually became a missionary in his own right, prior to moving back to northern Indiana. Despite moving stateside, his heart and passion remained in Africa, noting “I learned the Sango language before I learned English.”
In 2004, Hocking founded Water for Good, a faith-based, non-denominational, non-profit organization whose stated mission is “empowering people with sustainable access to clean water and transformational sanitation principles.” They do so by providing well drilling and well maintenance to villages in CAR, allowing access to clean water to thousands of people.
Although, Water for Good considers Winona Lake its home base, leadership for the organization spans the globe, including its CEO in France; its director of communications, Hocking’s son, Jay, in Oregon; 48 employees in CAR; and board members across the United States.
Water for Good has drilled 674 and maintains 1,000 wells, providing clean water to 500,000 Central Africans. While the organization is responsible for the drilling and initial maintenance of the wells, Hocking’s goal is for the villages to take ownership of the community wells. Initially, Water for Good subsidizes the maintenance cost of those water pumps, but each year the local communities are asked to take on more and more of the expense, funding the repairs on their own wells. “We want to help the local people to understand that the pump is not an expense but rather can be an income generator for the village,” he said. “By selling that water they can generate money for themselves while providing benefits for other villages.”
While costs vary from village to village, a five gallon jug costs around a quarter. By selling the water, the village is not just generating income for themselves but creating the primary mechanism for funding the maintenance of the water point.
Each well can service between 500-1,000 people. Sometimes, multiple wells must be dug to provide for the population. With the work comes expenses. Hocking spends much of his time traveling, seeking funding for the project. Water for Good has partnered with many well-known national and international organizations such as UNICEF, Charity:Water, World Vision, Blood:Water Mission and MudLOVE, to name a few. Hocking also reaches out to churches, individuals and organizations, seeking funding for the mission.
“This is what my passion is,” said Hocking. “To teach young men how to work with pride and integrity, and help villages understand the love of Jesus Christ and that God loves them. We want them to gain pride and integrity for themselves and their lives. To do so requires a lot of work, but I know it is something they are able to do.”
To learn more about Water for Good or to make a contribution to its efforts, visit www.waterforgood.org.