Irrespective of whether or not you believe in climate change, there’s no denying that the stats resulting from the radically changing weather patterns year on year or the crucial drop in natural water supply globally speak volumes:
One third of the global population lives without access to a toilet.
The ramifications of these stats and the volume of people it affects can seem quite daunting in terms of how to address this global issue. There is good news though: there are multiple organisations around the world that continue, every day, to provide sustainable solutions to the lack of water as well as adequate sanitation to those in need.
Sustainability may seem like the buzz word of the millennium – bandied about without much meaning, but the truth of it is – sustainability is vital in the provision of water and sanitation to those for who access to water is an ongoing fight for actual survival.
Sustainable water projects are those that include both short term and long term solutions which pave the way forward by enabling a community to begin water related projects that may provide them with a capacity to earn an income or to trade their produce or services to others.
There’s much truth in the adage, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime’, but before we implement this philosophy, help is needed to provide water to communities that more often than not, do not have the most basic of infrastructures for a steady supply of water.
That’s why here at AquAid Water Coolers we have, since our humble beginnings more than two decades ago, partnered with charities that not only provide emergency relief but also sustainable solutions to poverty around the globe, as is the case with Christian Aid and in the case of the Africa Trust, throughout Africa.
To learn more about the work that these organisations carry out, visit us at our website and see how your water and water cooler purchases are making a visible positive difference to others. Alternatively, if you are not yet an AquAid customer, but would like to find out more about how your drinking water translates into sustainable clean water provision for people in need, please contact us: we’ll be delighted to assist.
Here at AquAid, we’ve always believed that an integral part of good business practice is helping those less fortunate – especially those far flung communities in Third World countries.
This philosophy was put into effect by ensuring that a portion of proceeds from all sales of our water cooler products was donated to sustainable charities such as Christian Aid and The Africa Trust.
The Africa Trust itself has gone from strength to strength – with more than 5,000 water wells, known as Elephant Pumps, built throughout Africa since 1998.
Building the Elephant Pumps has taken the teams from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, and Liberia where these wells now provide potable water for millions of people.
The original Elephant Pump is suitable for high levels of usage and also for deep water tables. Although the aim is for one pump to be for around 300 beneficiaries per pump, in some cases many more people end up using a single pump.
But what happens when you enter regions where the water table is not that deep or the community is smaller? If you’re Ian Thorpe, CE of The Africa Trust and inventor of The Elephant Pump, you design an alternative.
This smaller pump has recently been introduced in in a trial project in Mozambique, where there are areas where the communities are more dispersed with small clusters of families.
A pump which lifts water only 5-10 metres and serves just 50 or 100 people doesn’t need to be built with such robust materials such as is the case with the original ‘parent’ Elephant Pump, hence the design and building of the Baby Elephant Pump.
The design is cheaper and has been developed for individual homesteads rather schools or villages therefore the smaller pump costs less than half the cost of the more robust village model of Elephant Pump.
If you would like to find out about sponsoring the building of one of these pumps without any additional cost to you*, please contact Shelly or call 01223 508 109 – we’ll be delighted to assist you.
*This offer is only available to AquAid customers.
These are the opening lines that I read after receiving an e-mail from Ian Thorpe of The Africa Trust. I had asked for an update on the progress of the work that the charity carries out throughout countries in Africa. I thought it was high time that we had a more personal perspective on the impact that this life saving and changing work has. I thought it best to leave Cynthia’s narrative in her own words. You’ll see why when you read her story:
‘I am Cynthia M. Brown, a former child soldier. While barely surviving as a refugee at Buduburam camp in Ghana, I had great fear that I would never be accepted again in my home country of Liberia. I thought that reintegration would be a nightmare for me considering all the atrocities committed during the civil war in Liberia.
I met the Chief Executive of the Africa Trust at Buduburam and again in Liberia and after working hard and showing my potential during training, I was given my present job.
Working on Africa Trust funded projects has changed me from living a ghetto life as a drug addict and hopeless person, child prostitute and alcoholic to a responsible life changer, passionate aid worker and instrument of hope and change for poor people in Liberia.
As Program Officer for logistics and procurement for the Liberia Trust, a local charity implementing projects for the Africa Trust in Liberia, I am responsible to draw up logistical plans, do purchases, deliver materials in the field and keep track of all the possessions of the organisation. I make regular monthly reports to the Country Manager. The Liberia Trust is building Elephant Pumps and Elephant Toilets for poor communities with funding from the Africa Trust.
I help with construction of pumps and toilets as I am now a qualified builder. I also help with monitoring and evaluation, maintenance and facilitating maintenance workshops.
My passion is to help poor community dwellers improve their lives and it helps so much that a beneficiary family named their new born baby girl after me because, according to them, they wanted the child to be like me to grow in my life style. This was my greatest moment of pride, to become a role model instead of a useless person.
Working on the Africa Trust funded projects earned me respect, integrity and trust. My physical and mental capacities have developed greatly as a result of my work. This helped me identify my potentials to change the lives of others.
My family is living a happy life. My two little girls are enjoying my support for them to go to school.’
‘A wishing well is a term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that any spoken wish would be granted. The idea that a wish would be granted came from the idea that water housed deities or had been placed there as a gift from the gods, since water was a source of life and often a scarce commodity.’~ Wiki
Here at AquAid, we’ve adapted the concept of the wishing well slightly by ensuring that through the provision of water coolers to our valued customers that this translates into building actual water wells for those less fortunate in Africa.
How it works is that AquAid, who long have a history of supporting sustainable charities, formed a charity called The Africa Trust. This organisation is responsible for building said water wells or, as they are affectionately known, Elephant Pumps. Using donations from a portion of the revenue raised from the sales of water coolers, The Africa Trust have built more than 5 0000 Elephant Pumps throughout Africa, which provide more than 2 million people with safe drinking water. The pump is built (see photograph online in the article) using a modified design based on an ancient Chinese rope pulley system that uses materials that are easy to repair and maintain locally. An Elephant Pump can last for more than 15 years and its design is such that 95% of built pumps continue to operate throughout the continent.
We recently invited York CVS, a Leeds based AquAid customer, to participate in a well building campaign and were delighted when they graciously accepted.
York CVS themselves are all about help and support. Since 1939, York CVS has supported thousands of local charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises to focus on what they do best – making a difference.
They provide a range of support, training and advice to help organisations set up, flourish and even finish if they feel their work is done.
Ruth Stockdale, Communications and Marketing Adviser at York CVS expressed enthusiasm about the well building campaign, “York CVS is proud to be working with AquAid and is delighted that by providing clean, fresh water here in York, we are able to support others to receive the same benefits in Africa.”
York CVS’ decision to participate in this water pump building campaign means that a rural community in Africa will now have access to safe, clean drinking water.
If you currently have an AquAid water cooler and would like to find out how you can go about sponsoring your very own water well, at no extra cost, please contact us.
If you would like to enquire about purchasing a water cooler, drop us a line or give us a shout at any of the above. We’d love to be able to assist. And you can, of course, be very well (ha) on your way to sponsoring your very own water well.
I believe that you will have gathered by now that I’m a pretty huge proponent of The Africa Trust. I may blather on about it, but please, pick one of numerous reasons, not in the least the fact that thanks an incredibly hard working team, potable water is brought to millions of people in the world and you’ll have really clear idea of why I’m such an enthusiast.
With this in mind, I’m constantly on the look out for discoveries / inventions that can make the world a better place for all involved. Ways that draw from nature, science, ways that are practical, sustainable and more often than not, pure genius.
*Open-Source, Personal Water Desalinator: Italy
Briefly, Eliodomestico is an eco-distiller that uses solar power to make salt water drinkable. Created by Italian designer Gabriele Diamanti, Eliodomestico is an open-source project designed to provide safe drinking water for people in developing countries. Essentially, the device works like an upside-down coffee maker to produce five litres of fresh water every day. Users begin by adding sea water in the morning. Over the course of the day, the heat of the sun causes steam to rise into a water-tight boiler. The steam is then forced down through an expansion nozzle and condenses against the lid of a collection basin. At the end of the day, users can remove the basin, which is full of fresh water and designed for transport on the head.
Eliodomestico is made from widely available materials and requires no electricity or filters; maintenance is simple, Diamanti says.
Gravity-Powered Lamp: United Kingdom
Many of us may take electric lights for granted, but there is a considerable portion of the world—around 1.5 billion people—that lives in poor, remote areas and has to rely on dangerous kerosene alternatives. Currently being funded through an Indiegogo campaign, the GravityLight hopes to change that by offering a cheap lamp that runs on a renewable resource. The device is attached to a weight, which when lifted for a few seconds harnesses enough energy to power the light for 30 minutes. Operating without batteries, the GravityLight contains no deteriorating parts and means owners don’t have to spend money to keep it running.