Two million people in the developing world now have life-saving water access thanks to a unique partnership between two of the world’s leading organizations. In 2015, Grundfos, the world’s largest water pump manufacturer, and World Vision — the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world – announced their goal to jointly provide clean water to 2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years.
Despite a global pandemic and significant challenges, the two organizations celebrated the achievement of this ambitious milestone in October 2020 — more than 2,400,000 people now have access to water. And they’re aiming even higher — planning to reach 4 million additional people by 2024.
“This testifies to what can be done when working together. The technology and creative solutions from Grundfos, combined with the expertise and reach of World Vision are ignited into action at the community level where we see local leaders and individuals digging trenches and assembling and caring for the systems. All that equals families who no longer have to walk miles for water that may make their children sick,” says Keith Kall, Director for Strategic Partnerships at World Vision.
Importance of clean water during the COVID-19 pandemic
The announcement came on Global Handwashing Day (October 15). Handwashing – a basic hygiene activity – takes on a whole new meaning during the COVID-19 pandemic. One recent study found that regular handwashing with soap decreases the chances of coronavirus infection by 36 percent. Yet many people in the developing world are denied access to this simple action that could keep them safe because of lack of water access.
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the world is seeing the critical role that water plays in public health and in the resilience of communities, economies and environment. Water is key to preventing and stopping the spread of the disease, making the role of water providers even more essential. The need for resilient, robust and reliable solutions continue to be critically important as the world continues to combat COVID-19. Water workers are on the frontlines of this, keeping the water flowing, while facing urgent COVID-19-related issues such as reduced staffing due to illness.
Partnership in action
While it is World Vision’s expertise, network and specialized knowledge of local conditions and needs that have defined the approach taken, when bringing water to the societies benefitting from the partnership, it is the sustainability, longevity and robustness of the Grundfos water solutions and services together with the company’s geographical reach, that have ensured that water would continue to flow to the people, after the water points were set up.
“We are truly excited about reaching this milestone in our partnership with World Vision. We are proud that our solutions, combining innovation with robustness, makes water available to people in need. This is living our purpose of pioneering solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improve quality of life for people,” says Pia Yasuko Rask, Director of SafeWater, a strategic business unit within Grundfos that focuses on delivering safe and reliable water solutions to the most water poor parts of the developing world.
The water systems they are using are not just resilient in the face of the current crisis, but environmentally sound for the future.
Once World Vision digs a well that serves as a community’s water source, the solar-powered Grundfos pumps store the water in an overhead tank. Piping provided by the community is used to distribute the water to its residents.
Not only are these mechanized systems environmentally friendly and provide more accessible water points for the community, but they are less expensive per person reached to install than traditional boreholes. World Vision already is an industry leader in this approach, having provided more than 200 of these mechanized water systems in villages around the world. The collaboration also will enable World Vision to keep the average cost of providing clean water to only $50 per person.