Get a team together and build a water filter for an African community.
Organisational Psychologist Matt Henricks’ new ‘Water Works Program’ is empowering communities in Africa to make their water safe for drinking.
The program allows everyday Australians to get together as part of a corporate work team building activity and, in groups of three, build a water filtration unit. The process takes two hours and uses nine parts. Each filtration unit built provides enough clean drinking water for 200 people, per day.
“1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water across the globe. That problem leads to 5000 children under the age of five dying each day from avoidable water-borne diseases. I just felt like I had to do something to help and that’s how the Water Works Program was born”, said Henricks.
The source of water for people in less developed countries varies dramatically in quality. The same water source is not only used as drinking water for humans, but is often used for livestock, wild animals, bathing and washing clothes. As a result, there are a number of completely avoidable water borne diseases which unnecessarily take lives.
Matt has recently returned from Uganda where he distributed the first of his water filtration systems to an entire village.
“When we showed people how to turn on the tap and explained that the water was now pure and clean, they were completely amazed. The gift of clean water is something these people would never have dreamt of. Often they have to walk several miles to collect the dirty water they have access to. I can’t wait to go back to Uganda in March to make sure more people in need of clean water, get the help they need and deserve.
“By the end of 2017 I envisage that the Water Works Program will have had 5000 water filtration units built by everyday people in team building activities”, said Henricks.
For each water filtration unit made, a replacement filter is also given. Each filter lasts for at least two years, effectively providing a family, school or health centre with clean drinking water for at least four years. Most importantly, recipients are trained on how to set up their new filtration system and how to identify and fix the most common problems.
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