Recently, while I was thinking of writing a post on hydration, there was a sudden deluge (pardon the pun) of articles and tweets on the subject. Everywhere I looked, someone was urging that I drink more water. I thought to myself, If I drink any more, I’ll float away! But as I sipped my regular morning hot water and lemon and then had a shower and washed my hair, cleaned my teeth and flushed the loo, I started musing on how much we take our clean water supply for granted and how much we complain about the incessant rain.
Have you ever experienced a drought, even temporarily? I have.
Have you ever had to use a stand pipe down the street in one of the hottest summers on record and queue up for a restricted amount of water, carry heavy containers home, ration it out, use the same washing water for all the family, then use it to flush the toilet that has had to be used several times without? I have.
Have you had to do this with a toddler still in nappies – cloth ones that needed sterilising? Or with a baby using feeding bottles? I have. Have you ever been heavily pregnant during a hot summer and had the water go off because of a burst pipe, making it necessary to walk a couple of streets away to the nearest public toilet for a day and a night? I have. During that hottest summer, I was also coping with a slipped disc.
It was indescribably difficult.
Yet our difficulties and inconveniences (pun intended) were nothing compared to those endured week in week out, by millions of families in developing countries where mainly wives, mothers, sisters and daughters spend hours every day walking miles to collect water that is often contaminated with bacteria, parasites and disease, for example E. Coli, Cholera and Hepatitis A.
Between 600 and 700 million people have no clean drinking water, while over 2 billion do not have access to toilet facilities.
Image from Jerry Bottles
While I was contemplating this, tweets began appearing on my timeline about Matt Damon and Gary White’s charity Water.org and the British organisation, Water Aid UK. Then purely by chance, someone called @jerrybottles liked one of my tweets. I looked them up. While I did so, two other companies showed up: Conscious Step and Three Avocados.
These companies have one thing in common: they are non-profit businesses that sell unique products to raise money for clean water projects around the world.
100% of their net profits go to these projects.
This all seemed serendipitous and I decided to promote their organisations via my blog. If one person buys one item after reading this, then I will feel like I’ve done something worthwhile.
These companies sell very different quality products and I want to point out that I haven’t been given any to promote, nor have I purchased or used any of them. Purely and simply, I looked at their web sites and products, read their missions and wanted to help in this small way.
First up is Jerry Bottles
Leicester-based businessman, Harun Master, set up his charity in 2011 to help fund and co-ordinate clean water schemes in India and Africa. Their stainless steel bottles – named after the large jerry cans used by women to collect their water – are stylish, dishwasher safe and sustainably produced. Along with Tobias Gould and Taj Bharma, he built a company whose mission is to educate about pollution caused by plastic bottles, encourage the use of refillable steel bottles and use the profits to provide safe, clean water – starting in Tanzania. As a bonus, the co-ordinates of each project will be printed on the base of the bottles so you can see where the proceeds from your purchase have been put to use. They keep costs and staffing low to maximise the funds available for the schemes.
They are also working with local shops and businesses to build a scheme whereby you can refill your Jerry water bottle for free when out and about. They aim to add to their range by working with designers to create additional quality bottles and accessories. The web site is informing and fun, as are their tweets!
Three Avocados is the fascinating name of a coffee company in St Louis, Missouri, founded by Joe Koenig in 2010 after a trip to Uganda. The poverty surrounding him inspired him to set up a company which sells 100% Arabica coffee – produced by small farmers in Uganda and Nicaragua for fair prices – and donates all its net profits to clean water projects worldwide. One of their partners is a women’s co-op which uses the money earned from growing coffee to send their children to school.
In Uganda alone, without clean water, 63 children die every day. Since the company started, over 20,000 people have benefited.
Women and girls are usually the ones who walk miles every day to collect large jerry cans of contaminated water. They are unable to work or attend school. They are at risk of assault. Providing clean water allows them to gain an education and employment as well supporting a healthier community.
Oh, and why is a coffee company called Three Avocados? Well, visit the web site and read their story – just have some tissues handy when you do.
Conscious Step is the brainchild of 3 like-minded men: Hassan Ahmad, Adam Long and Prashant Mehta, left their respective careers at the World Health Organisation, Engineers Without Borders and in Microfinance, and came up with the quirky idea of selling uniquely designed and manufactured Socks for Causes, to combat Hunger and HIV/Aids, promote Education and provide Clean Water.
In partnership with Water.org net profits from these blue Argyle socks provide clean water for one person for 18 months!
(Images from Conscious Step)
The socks are certified Fair Trade and are made from organic cotton using non-toxic dyes.
I asked in my previous post ‘ What Colour’s Your Wee?! Water: Part 1 – Are You Getting Enough? Well, for some, this question is moot. They can’t get enough. What they can get is more often than not a long trek away and unsafe to drink.
You can help change that.
Copyright: Chris McGowan