Collecting Water – How Many Hours in Your Day

Collecting Water – How Many Hours in Your Day

It’s not often that I can say that I’m truly overwhelmed. I may drama queen a little about being overwhelmed but that’s not often the case.

What I did find truly overwhelming was my recent nine day visit to Ethiopia at the behest of AquAid and at the invitation of a charity which AquAid have for years supported; Christian Aid.

Having worked in water provision and in close conjunction with the charities that AquAid support for a few years now, this is a matter that has taken on a great significance to me, as well as, I’m sure, everyone at AquAid. I’ve experienced daily how important it is to balance the business side as well as maintaining and perpetuating Paul Searle’s (AquAid’s founder) holistic philosophy of giving back. On the trip, though, I experienced this philosophy first hand.

Ethiopia is a magnificent country, that’s the only way that I can describe it. The Ethiopians are among the kindest, most hospitable and polite people I’ve met in my travels; the country is vast, the scenery is awe inspiring and the industriousness of the people is truly something to witness.

After a briefing at the Christian Aid offices in Addis Ababa, we departed on the first leg of our journey to visit the first of four projects in the south of the country. As our amazing driver, Girma, who would put any F1 driver to shame, negotiated his way through an endless progression of pedestrians, other road users which also included herds of cattle; sheep and goats as well as donkey, mule and horse carts, I observed something interesting. Every mile or so there were people walking. Not a gentle lollygagging type of walk, but walking with determination.  Most were carrying yellow containers.  Many of these people were very young children, some who looked to be no older than seven or eight years old.

When we passed a puddle on the side of the road, a river, a stream, there were people collecting water. I have no idea how many miles these people walked every day, but I imagine it was a good few miles at least. They shared the puddles with all manner of others including animals. These puddles were open to the elements, unprotected and quite a few puddles alongside certain stretches of road had all the detritus from the road and its passing traffic landing in them.

  • The magnitude of what I was witnessing struck me – here is a country that has water in abundance (Ethiopia has more vast lakes than you can shake a stick at), but a large majority of its inhabitants live and work hundreds of miles away from these large sources of water. They are dependent on the weather – their water source more often than not from the rainfall; and the country experiences dry months for eight out of the twelve months of the year.
  • This is where charities such as Christian Aid come in and have been doing so in the country since 1998 when they set up an office in Addis Ababa. Christian Aid and AquAid have been working in partnership since 2001, bringing relief and sustainable water provision to those in need around the globe.

We witnessed five such projects during our trip which I will detail in further articles, but having being there, the importance of having water or indeed, having access to water, truly struck home. Here were thousands of people to whom the struggle for water, stuff of life, wasn’t a turn of a tap or a press of a button away. Here, having water meant a day to day survival, where if you wanted water, you strapped plastic containers to yourself and you started walking, for miles and miles, looking for the precious stuff. You may get ‘lucky’ and find a big enough water puddle from which you could fill your containers, often you would not.

What also occurred to me (during and post trip) is how invaluable it is to have companies such as AquAid and even more invaluable – our customers who support AquAid. Because I truly witnessed the results of what charity means. For every person from each community that we visited who had water to drink, water to cook with, water to water their livestock and their crops, this was a direct result of donations to charity.  Life changing stuff.

If you’d like to find out more about how your water cooler and bottled water purchases can make a difference to people’s lives (and I mean this literally), please get in contact. We’d love to hear from you.

Ethiopia – Land of the ‘Burnt Faces’

Ethiopia – Land of the ‘Burnt Faces’

Ethiopia is without a doubt one of the most fascinating countries on the African continent. It has an incredibly ancient and cultural history and is believed to be (by some) to be a cradle of civilisation and the birthplace of Christianity.

Addis Ababa is Ethiopia’s capital city. It means ‘white flower’ and, at 2 400 m above sea level, it is the 4th highest capital city in the world.

The Great Rift Valley cuts through Ethiopia from northeast to south of the country and is the only physical feature of Africa that it visible from space.

ethiopia1According to legend, the True Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified was found by St. Helena – the mother of Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor who converted to Christianity – in the 4th century. A relic of that cross was later given to Ethiopia’s kings for protecting Coptic Christians in their country.  Meskel celebrates the arrival of the True Cross in Ethiopia and has been celebrated there for more than 1,600 years.

Ethiopia is considered the originator of honey wine, or t’ej, which the rest of the world knows as mead.

More than 70% of Africa’s mountains are found in Ethiopia. It is sometimes called ‘the roof of Africa.’

Ethiopia was the first African nation to join the League of Nations.

The Garima Gospels, the oldest illustrated Christian book, is in Ethiopia. It was written about A.D. 494 by the Abba Garima, a monk who arrived in Ethiopia from Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). According to legend, he wrote the book in one day.

Ethiopia is home to the Black Jews, known as the Falashas or Beta Israel (House of Israel). Various legends claim they are a lost tribe of Israel or descendants of King Solomon.

ethiopia2Coffee was first discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi in the Kaffa region, from which the word ‘coffee’ may derive, when he noticed his goats ‘dancing’ after eating the berries off the coffee plant. Coffee is the top agricultural export for 12 countries, with the livelihood of over 100 million people depending on its production, and it is the world’s second most valuable commodity after petroleum.

Emperors ruled Ethiopia until 1974 and all claim to be descendants of King Solomon of the Bible and Makeda (Ethiopian Queen of Sheba). Haile Selassie I was the last Ethiopian emperor.

Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I is considered the son of God among the followers of the Jamaican Rastafaria religion. In fact, the name ‘Rastafari’ originates from the emperor’s birthplace, Ras Tafari, which means ‘Prince Tafari’ in Amharic. Bob Marley was one well-known Rastafari. Although the Rastafari movement did evolve in Jamaica, it began in Ethiopia.

The Abyssinian cat breed, which originated in Ethiopia, ranks within the top ten most popular pedigreed cat breed in the U.K.

Lucy, a human fossil believed to have existed over 3 million years ago, was found in the Great Rift Valley in Ethiopia in 1974. She was named after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, which was playing on the radio at the time she was found. Even older remains were found in Hadar in 2001. Dated at more than 5 million years old, they are the earliest known ancestors of modern humans.

Christian Aid is an organisation that provides urgent, practical and effective assistance where need is great, tackling the effects of poverty as well as its root causes. The organisation has been providing assistance and relief in Ethiopia for decades and AquAid continue to be one of Christian Aid’s main corporate sponsors, especially with a view to water provision projects in Ethiopia and other countries in need.





The Talking Water Bottle

The Talking Water Bottle

We should all know the direct correlation between drinking sufficient water and keeping healthy by now (OK, well I should, I’ve researched and written about it often enough – maybe you shouldn’t), but quite surprisingly in spite of a plethora of information from just about everywhere, it seems we still need to be told about this pretty basic principle.

  • To be fair (all about fairness, me) in this tech age, I may just be more easily convinced if I had some clever water bottle that glowed at me until I drank from it or;
  • What about a water bottle that apparently dings at you when it’s time to drink up!
  • Then, getting even more tech spec-ee, what about all these apps that alert you to the fact that you haven’t had your daily water as yet. Yep, there really are a variety of ‘drink water’ apps available for smart phones and for those that like to add cucumber or similar to their water, there is a water bottle / spiral slicer (yep, really) that slices your cucumber directly into your bottles water.

These inventions and concepts (as some are still at the conceptual stage) are quite amazing, clever and resourceful.

For me though, not having a smart phone (oh woe is me) and I’m guessing I’m one of many millions that also don’t have a smart phone, I still believe that it’s kind of up to the individual (unless you have a forward thinking team at work who realise that hydrated employees are happier, healthier and make for a more productive team) to ensure that you drink your water.

What’s even more amazing is that if you choose your drinking water from AquAid, a portion of the proceeds of your water cooler purchase is automatically donated to water projects around the globe – these being to Christian Aid and The Africa Trust.

Now, that’s pretty amazing!

AquAid and Carrington Dean: A Partnership of Care

AquAid and Carrington Dean: A Partnership of Care

If you have ever struggled with debt, you may have heard of our company, Carrington Dean. What we do is simple: we help those who are hopelessly in debt to get out of debt through management plans like IVAs, debt arrangement schemes, and bankruptcy.

But it’s one thing to say that, and quite another to actually do it every day. Every person who walks into our office and asks us for help has a story to tell. It can be a story of loss, a story of heartbreak, a story of fear. It keeps them up at night and robs them of their time, privacy, and security.  It makes them fear for their families and their futures.

There isn’t a day that goes by that these stories don’t affect me and every person who works in our offices. Moreover, I’ll be honest. Sometimes it’s hard. We are constantly faced with the reality that our society doesn’t do enough to help good people. Every day, struggling families are allowed to just fall through the cracks.

Helping others is at the heart of the work we do and we are always looking for more ways that we can do that. There is nothing quite like the reward of seeing a smile on a client’s face that first day that they realise the clouds are parting and they are finally getting back on track. It really is like a ray of sunshine. For that person, their entire life has changed.

That’s why we look for every opportunity we can find to incorporate charity into our work. We regularly give to Mothers Care India, an organisation that helps children in impoverished parts of India to get an education.

That’s also why it means so much to us that we get to partner with AquAid.  AquAid provides all of the water coolers that we use in our offices. This is yet another small but very real way for our business to contribute to charity work. We love that this is written on the coolers themselves. It is a very visible mark of the charitable spirit that is at the core of what we stand for. It communicates what we care about to customers and associates who visit us, and it also serves as a permanent reminder for our staff that we can and do make a difference.

On days when I am frustrated and standing at the water cooler, I realise just how many organisations and people who are out there who do care. AquAid and Carrington Dean are likeminded organisations infused with community spirit.

So we just want to say thank you to AquAid. Your work is changing lives, and you’re empowering us to help people across borders who will never find their way into our offices.

2015 – A Year in Review for AquAid

As always, thanks to the commitment to top service and maintenance from everyone at AquAid and because of the provision of top quality products, 2015 was a very productive and successful year.

One of the most important aspects of the company experiencing a bumper year is that we continue to be able to support the charitable organisations that we have committed to for over a decade now. Donations in 2015 have proved remarkably successful in this regard.

Obviously, without our customers’ continued patronage, these successes and the contributions to the charities that AquAid supports wouldn’t be possible, so our sincere thanks to all of you, dear AquAid customer!

The Africa Trust

The total sum of donations to The Africa Trust from January through to December 2015 was £807,450.00. These donations in part translated into 612 Elephant Pumps being built throughout Africa, where a safe, constant water supply is absolutely crucial.

Christian Aid

The total sum of donations to Christian Aid in 2015 was £112,113.00. This amount meant that Christian Aid was able to continue with their live-saving work across the globe, with a focus on water-related projects using funds donated by AquAid.

The total sum of donations to both The Africa Trust and Christian Aid in 2015 is £919,585.00. This means an astonishing increase of £39,585.00 compared to the total donation of £880,000.00 in 2014.

We again would like to express our sincere thanks to all those at AquAid and to all our customers for their incredible support last year.

If you have any water cooler requirements, would like to become an AquAid customer and in so doing, support the life-saving sustainable work that AquAid continues to contribute to (at no extra cost to you), please feel free to contact us here – we’d be delighted to hear from you.






Emir Dobson – AquAid Middlesborough

Emir Dobson – AquAid Middlesborough

The Swimming Scuba Diver

One of the aspects of working in the marketing and social media sphere that I really enjoy is getting to ‘know’ some of the many people that work at AquAid. To date, I’ve ‘met’ a serious traveller – Josh; a carer of animals and Tough Man competitor – Scott; a stand-up comedian – Martin; a Super Dad – Ross; and a Ninja – Dennis.

Last week, I spoke to Emir Dobson, franchisee at AquAid Middlesborough and asked her if she would be kind enough to put pen to paper and despite being rather busy, she graciously took the time out to answer my questions.

I was so tickled with her replies as I again realised that the individuals that work at AquAid really are quite a mixed bag and full of surprises – who knew that AquAid Middlesborough boast their very own scuba diver? So, without further ado, here’s what Emir had to share, pretty much verbatim:

Name:  Emir Dobson

Role at AquAid:  Manager – AquAid Tyne & Wear

Years at AquAid: Too long.

What do you enjoy about your job? The people we meet!

Tell us something interesting about yourself: Achievements: Working alongside my husband in all these years without a major incident!!!

How did you get involved with AquAid? I became involved in AquAid due to my connection with Christian Aid – I am passionate about the work that they do – my contribution is through donations.

Hobbies: Keeping with the water theme – I enjoy swimming and scuba diving.

What is it about swimming and scuba diving that you enjoy so much?  I enjoy water… swimming and scuba diving keep you fit, they’re good for you…

When do you do the above?  Enjoy diving as often as I can.

Why do you do it? ­­­­­It’s good fun and the people are great criag.

I enjoy diving anywhere there is water. In the North Sea, the wrecks are good and the sea fish.

In warmer climates – every dive is different; you see different fish, coral, wrecks – its good fun.

How long have you been involved with this? About 10 years.

Claim to fame – Just being alive!

What are you hoping to achieve or to do in the future? As soon as the family have moved out of the family home – my husband and I are going to travel – Thailand; Africa; USA.

Notes: No matter what happens – we are all the same – we eat, sleep, and breathe … the same. x

Thank you Emir, so interesting how water plays such a huge part in your life, from both a business and personal perspective.  I wish you many good dives and lots of criag!