Founder’s Story

Kurt Dahlin is the founder of Water Wells for Africa (WWFA) and has been its president since inception.

Kurt grew up in Venice, California with five brothers, two sisters and an ankle-biting rooster. He was captain of his high school water polo team and an Eagle Scout. After graduating from high school during the turbulent end of the 1960s, he became a hippie. Kurt dropped out of Humboldt State College and to avoid the Viet Nam draft traveled to the jungles of Costa Rica in search of “the perfect wave to surf.” At 23, he married his high school sweetheart, Irma. Kurt eventually went back to college and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vanguard University in southern California.

Kurt went on to have a successful career as a mechanical engineer with McDonnell-Douglas before joining the staff of a Christian church in Southern California in 1987.

In 1994, Kurt made important connections in Blantyre, Malawi. A tour of southern Malawi made it clear that people were in desperate need of clean drinking water. Kurt was personally convicted to find a way to alleviate their suffering. In 1996, the first deep water well was installed, and new water wells have been installed every year after. The Water Wells for Africa (WWFA) project was born, and Kurt directed WWFA to specifically look for villages that are in rural, hard-to-reach places and need access to clean water. He wants to go where others can’t or won’t go to provide life-giving water to the “precious people of Malawi” as he warmly refers to them. 

Kurt organizes and leads annual trips to Malawi to inspect and dedicate water well sites. His goal for WWFA is to install 1,000 water wells in Malawi.

Kurt is an avid fisherman and expert craftsman. During his “free time” in the summer he annually organizes a service project to clean up the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. His family group won the 2014 Group of the Year award in the 150th year anniversary of the Park.

Kurt and Irma have 6 children:  Erika, Kristina, Danika, Marika, Kendrika, and Daniel. They also have 17 grandchildren, two crazy dogs, a ball python, and three tortoises.

We’re sure your heart is warmed by Kurt’s genuine compassion for others. Won’t you join him now in putting another well in Africa?