David Stephenson is a United Methodist pastor from Oklahoma who has been going to Bolivia since 1986. Along with his work with the Methodist church of Bolivia, David got very interested in working on infrastructure projects for the remote rural villages. David and his family drilled the second potable water well in the Altiplano of Bolivia in 1993 in Konani, which is still working under the watchful eye and sustainable support of EIA.
David started out in Chemical Engineering at Oklahoma State University, but soon felt the call to go into the ministry and changed his major to Sociology before going to Seminary at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. David also studied for 6 months in Geneva Switzerland with the World Council of Churches. But engineering was always nearby. David’s brother, Dr. Richard Stephenson, is the senior faculty member in Civil Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T).
In 2004 David brought his brother together with the Bolivian Methodist Church to bring EWB-S&T to do two projects in Bolivia. It was then that he saw the need to form a separate, secular (non-sectarian) organization which could develop projects, provide logistics, and do the sustainability work necessary to make successful projects in Bolivia. David determined it was vital that EIA be outside of the church to maintain its independence, to make sure they work with persons of all faiths, and to work with universities and others who prefer to not work with faith-based organizations.
David was invited to meet with President Evo Morales in 2009. President Morales expressed that EIA had gained the trust of the Bolivian Government and asked that EIA work in the 33 poorest Municipalities (counties) of Bolivia, where no other NGO’s now work. David agreed and from then on, our projects have focused in these ‘hard-to-get-to’ locations, serving the poorest of the poor – the poorest Municipalities in the poorest country in South America.