900 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. Of this, 54-percent, or 480 million people, live in the Asia-Pacific region.
But some help is coming – the Asia Water-for-Life Project aims to provide the daily drinking water needs of 100,000 people across six countries. The project, a collaboration between Planet Water, J.P. Morgan, and Sesame Workshop, seeks to deliver clean, safe water and provide education on water-health and hygiene to disadvantaged communities in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia (Sabah) and the Philippines.
With funding of US$1 million in grants from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the ambitious project will deploy Planet Water Aqua Towers, each able to produce up to 10,000 liters of clean water per day and support the daily drinking water requirements of 1,000 people. The project will focus on schools in rural villages with the installation of community-based water filtration systems, hand washing infrastructure, and an education program to teach children the life-saving aspects of water-health and hygiene.
Alleviating Water Poverty
“Our goal is to alleviate water poverty in the world’s most disadvantaged communities through sustainable, clean water solutions and education programs on water-health and hygiene,” says Mark Steele, the founder and CEO of Planet Water.
Water education will be a cornerstone of the project. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit arm of the famous children’s program Sesame Street, will use its network of child-focused television programs across the region to support the educational component of the project through the development of content highlighting water-health and hygiene and water conservation. This will include the production of multi-media materials, featuring the Sesame Street family of Muppets, for classroom use and content to be broadcast via television in local markets to support the goals of the Asia Water-for-Life Project.
“We are proud to partner with Planet Water and J.P. Morgan to address this critical need of water conservation and healthy consumption for families across Asia,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “For over 40 years, Sesame Workshop has been committed to delivering engaging educational content to children through television, radio and outreach materials to maximize impact.”
The initial Aqua Tower deployments will take place this week in the Pune District, State of Maharashtra, India where ten schools and their surrounding communities will gain access to clean, safe water.
It’s a drop of water in the ocean of water poverty, but any step in the right direction is a good one.