I struggled with starting yet another non profit that addresses the water crisis. And the question I asked myself was why should I do it? Numerous water organizations abound but so do the water challenges. I realised it is not about starting something rather ending something-the water crisis. This is my purpose.
How do I know this you may ask? Simply because I was equipped for it to a T.
When you see fundraising campaigns or water documentaries, they always feature a girl or woman-most often a girl – who is walking a very long distance in search of water. Often, in an arid area of a developing country and at the expense of her education or future. Having been born in a developing country and lived there for the better part of my life, I can simply say, that girl is me. This is my story.
Sadly, I have watched numerous international NGOs use children as photo opportunities to raise funds for lavish lifestyles while implementing unsustainable water solutions in developing countries. Conversely, I have also experienced those that are transparent and implement water solutions as stated.
I too have carried more than 120 litres of water on my back in a day. This constituted six trips (1.5 km to and from) laden with 20 litres of water in a yellow jerry can. When the drought would persist, this scenario would recur for several days in a week. On weekdays, I had to fetch water for two hours after school before settling down and doing my homework. Luckily, I had a mother who valued education. Two decades later, it is unsurprising that my Masters thesis was: solar water pumps. This motivated me to do something about it-water crisis. If I don’t, who will?
More than 1 billion people in the world lack access to water- a basic human right. Eighty-four percent of people without water, live in rural areas, and their principal economic activity is subsistence agriculture. 1.5 billion people around the world lack access to electricity - 85% of them in rural areas. Without water, families do not have health centres, education or food security. It is becoming increasingly clear that these issues are intertwined. The water-energy nexus has prompted me to come up with a sustainable water solution that can solve the water crisis once and for all. At the core of Sustainable Water, is the need to end the water crisis in our lifetime. We believe we can do this by adhering to these core values:
Unify: The people who we are trying to help are part of the conversation not just subjects of the conversation. We can’t design cookie cutter water solutions that we then impose on the people who need them. They have to inform our design. Altruism is not paternalism.
100% Transparency: Every cent given to solve the water crisis should go towards that.
Design for sustainability: Unsustainable water solutions break down after 1-2 years causing the problem to recur. Secure supply of water for the next 20 years
For areas without both electricity and water, solar powered water pumps are the only affordable and sustainable solutions. Sustainable Water has designed a low-cost solar water pump that can be deployed for water supply and irrigation in the developing countries.
And as the song goes “This is brave, this is proof. This is who I'm meant to be, this is me” Join Us lets be brave together!