Water, Women, and Removing Barriers

by Joshua

As an Ambassador for JB Dondolo, Inc., I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk about how this organization promotes gender equity to help reduce poverty. This seems a very fitting topic for this issue of Sociability, which is celebrating the power of groups to make real differences in their local communities.

The JB Dondolo (JBD) mission is to remove barriers of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in underserved and impoverished communities. Our vision is to see a world where clean water is not an obstacle to pursuing a better and more equitable life. 

We believe in the legacy of giving and helping marginalized communities because we know everyone deserves the chance to have a better life. We believe this legacy will help advance equity, enrich lives, and create a positive ripple effect for future generations to come. 


JBD is a nonprofit organization founded by Lumbie Mlambo in 2016. The organization is named after the late father, JB Dondolo, an orphan, farmer, and humanitarian advocate whose values and principles on giving continue to inspire his children, friends, and families across the world. JB Dondolo played a critical role in the fight against poverty in his community, and Lumbie saw the need to form this organization in honor of their father so his legacy of good deeds could continue. 


Water, sanitation, and hygiene is at the core of who we are, and helping one another through international cooperation is how JBD has helped make a difference in the lives of many already. We are proud supporters of the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); in particular: 

  • SDG 1: No Poverty 
  • SDG 5: Gender Equity 
  • SDG 6: Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 

At JBD, we finish what has been started but left incomplete due to hardships (death, illness, no means to fund, etc.) We work on the critical needs first, and use an active listening approach to addressing needs by working with expert partners to make informed decisions and implement programs and innovations effectively, sustainably, and to scale. Our interest is in those projects that promote community growth and a better future for everyone. 

Our current focus is to provide clean water to underserved and impoverished communities in the U.S. and Zimbabwe, Africa as our way to challenge the status quo and achieve gender equity and get out of poverty. The truth is that regardless of whether or not a nation is industrialized, people in need are everywhere. Private and public agencies are there, but possess limited resources and cannot provide for every community in need of assistance or basic necessities. This leaves a large segment of the low-income population with unmet needs that my organization works to help.


What’s so special about our founder Lumbie’s vision and the work of our members is that we understand water is everything. Without clean water, no one can have healthy and fulfilled lives.

When it comes to providing clean water to a community, the “role of a woman” is something Lumbie seeks to bring into the light because she has lived it and experienced it. She knows that collection of water relies heavily on women and girls who must walk miles and miles to fetch water. This leaves women and girls with no time to themselves, no time to advance their lives, and no time for girls to go to school. In her experiences, lack of clean water also prevents girls from going to school because there are no facilities for them to use to properly care for themselves during menstruation, something Lumbie describes as “stripping the girls of their dignity, humiliating and degrading in any girl’s life.”   

Lumbie understands that women and girls play pivotal roles in their communities, and are just as likely as men to create and design solutions for a better future. Gender equality can be achieved, she believes, by elevating women, embracing their insights and talents, and putting them at the center of recovery and rebuilding efforts.


As a United Nations advocate and active supporter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Lumbie makes her voice heard about the issues impacting women and girls globally, sharing her insights and knowledge on how such issues can be addressed. She is extremely passionate about improving people’s lives and restoring dignity, which starts when women and girls have a seat at the table. In 2019, the United Nations Association of Dallas awarded her with the UN Global Leadership Award for her work with JB Dondolo, Inc. on Clean Water and Sanitation. In 2021, she was awarded a Changemaker Award by Nations of Women (NOW) and also became a member of ForbesWomen and Global Citizen Forums



The Navajo Nation: With the 2020-21: Global Music for Water Campaign, Lumbie and JBD Members collaborated with organizations and delivered 200 bottles of hand sanitizers for COVID-19 Relief efforts and found a water inspired song to ignite the world to care about water.   


Houston: Lumbie and JBD Members delivered 100 facemasks, 100 hand sanitizers, and 28,300 feminine sanitary products to women and girls affected by winter storms. 200+ supply boxes packed/unpacked for Hurricane Harvey victims.

Grapevine: Lumbie participated in the cleanup of Lake Grapevine to Keep it Beautiful, an event aimed at cleaning and raising awareness of keeping our lakes clean.  


Lumbie and JBD members distributed 11,500 bottled waters to communities without safe drinking water in Newark.


Lumbie and JBD members teamed up with long distance swimmer Ben Lecomte to inspire change towards our relationship with plastic and to help raise awareness of keeping ocean water clean.  


Igusi Clinic: Lumbie and JBD donors installed a water filtration system benefiting a community of 20,000+ people. Also, fenced the property and refurbished the clinic and nurse cottages (new doors, windows, kitchen-stove-sink).   

Matobo Hills: Lumbie and JBD members are working with her value partners to provide boreholes and sustainable programs for a community of 400+ households, where mostly women and girls have to walk over 9 miles to fetch water.  

Editor’s Note: In our January 2022 issue, we asked our contributors for a personal reflection of being part of a group that came together for a common cause or experience. This story is part of that series.

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