The Acqua for Life campaign — a partnership between Giorgio Armani and Green Cross International (GCI) that has been targeting water-scarce communities in West Africa (Ghana) and Latin America (Bolivia and Mexico) to roll out sustainable drinking water systems since its launch in 2011 — announced this week it will now extend its work to Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast and Senegal for the first time this year.
“Acqua for Life helps GCI and Giorgio Armani work towards our joint ambitions to ensure people all over the world have access to sustainable sources of safe drinking water,” said Marie-Laure Vercambre, Director of GCI’s Water for Life and Peace program.
The campaign generates funds for GCI’s Smart Water for Green Schools project, which has been installing water systems in schools and communities living in water poverty in Africa, Latin America and Asia since 2010. Green Cross International says it has raised funds for the successful installation of water pumps, wells and rainwater harvesting systems in more than 60 communities and schools in Ghana, Bolivia, Mexico and China, providing around 150 million liters of water per year over the past three years.
Sustainable access to safe water has wide-ranging implications from health, education and security. “About 3,000 children die each day of the consequences of unsafe drinking water,” says Adam Koniuszewski, GCI’s Chief Operating Officer. “Diarrhea, a preventable and easily treatable disease, takes the lives of 760,000 children every year. Acqua for Life is both a generous initiative that saves lives and the opportunity to raise awareness on this huge development challenge and human tragedy. It is essential that people become aware of it and that governments, communities and all solidarity stakeholders come together to stop this injustice.”
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In some water-scarce communities, the responsibility of fetching water from distant and often unsafe water sources falls upon women and children. This leads to children skipping school and also poses health and safety concerns. Acqua for Life and the Green Cross work to construct water supply systems in communities and rainwater harvesting systems in school compounds. GCI outlined some of the project’s impacts to date:
- In the Bolivian villages of the municipality of Charagua, school attendance has increased thanks to the installation of these new water facilities.
- In Ghana, it expanded from rural communities into urban areas in 2013, installing mechanized boreholes to provide water to residents of the Aboabo slum, in Ghana’s second biggest city of Kumasi.
- It provided 27 Bolivian communities with sustainable water supplies during 2012 and 2013, and two Mexican villages in the State of Morelos (Santo Domingo Ocotitlán and Amatlán de Quetzalcoatl) in 2013.
Other companies are also working to provide access to safe water in developing areas:
- In the days leading up to World Water Day on March 22, The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with WWF and Global Water Challenge, launched the #ToastToWater social media campaign. The campaign asks people to publicly thank water for all it does while also educating site visitors about water challenges being faced around the world.
- TOMS has a “one for one” initiative in which the sales of coffee from TOMS Roasting Company will help improve access to clean water in the countries from which the company sources its beans.
- In February, H&M launched a new global partnership with WaterAid aimed at improving the health, education and future prospects of students by delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in schools throughout the developing world. while drinking water in Ethiopia.