Friday, January 17, 2014

Feel Good Friday - Wello Water

I've got water on the brain. Not in a take-me-to-the-ER bad way, in a good way. 

I've been reviewing the footage from our Inspiration Safari interview with Gemma Bulos, director of the Global Women's Water Initiative, in order to make a screening deadline. She's taken the innovative approach of working with the people in the communities she serves to create solutions to the water crisis. So has Cynthia Koenig the creator of Wello, which is why we're talking water on Feel Good Friday.

Cynthia Koenig created Wello and worked with people in India to create a more effective and ergonomic way to transport water. Their mission is "to effectively deliver clean water to a thirsty world." Great, you think, but why the focus on water collection? 
photo credit: Kushan Dave 2013

If you've done any travel in developing countries, you've seen women walking with containers of water on their heads. While it make look picturesque, it is literally a pain in the neck! As described on Wello website"The time spent fulfilling this basic need keeps many children out of school and prevents women from carrying out all the domestic and income generating work for which they are responsible. In much of the developing world, it is often necessary to walk five miles (8km) or more every day to fetch water. In the dry season, it is not uncommon to walk twice this distance. Collecting water can be dangerous too. The traditional method of carrying water – carrying a 5 gallon (20 liter) water bucket on the head – can severely damage the spine, causing severe pain and even leading to complications during childbirth. In some countries, walking to find water exposes people to the dangers of land mines."
photo credit: wello 2013
The Wello team interviewed 1500 community members in order to develop the WaterWheel. What does that mean for the people who use it? "By giving people easier access to potable water, the WaterWheel frees up valuable time, and in the process, removes barriers that prevent children from going to school and empowers women to engage in more productive activities. Research shows that when women have extra time, they choose to spend it on activities that boost family income, education, health, and wellbeing. Women with even a few years of education have smaller, healthier families, and are more likely to send their children to school. Female education is a key means of breaking the cycle of poverty."

For further information you can read articles in The Guardian or Humanosphere, watch the short film Hello Wello or watch last year's TedxTalk, which includes the short. As with most of the groups I profile, Wello has a Facebook page and they'd like it if you like it. 

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