Water of Life
Launched in 2007, our Water of Life programme provides access to safe drinking water and sanitation to millions of people across Africa.
The importance of water
Good health, women’s empowerment, education, nutrition, food security, housing and urban planning all rely on access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene services. Water stewardship is one of the most important aspects of our environmental strategy as well as being fundamental to our business.
Water of Life has reached more than 10 million people in India and in 21 countries in Africa since 2006, including 234,000 this year. It is focused on access to water, sanitation and hygiene in line with SDG 6. Typically, we are implementing projects in rural areas that supply our raw materials, to ensure the programme is aligned with our core business.
We work with NGOs and other private sector partners to build toilet facilities, install household or school water connections, build pumps and wells and promote good practice on hygiene and sanitation. Once completed, each project is managed and maintained independently by the local community, sometimes as a small business.
By having a local access to safe water the time and effort community members, usually women and girls, spend collecting water is greatly reduced, meaning they have the opportunity to spend more time at school or find employment. Water of Life is a central part of our Water Blueprint, our global water stewardship strategy.
The objectives of our Water of life programme include:
- Improved access to clean water
- Improved access to sanitation
- Promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls
- Reducing poverty
- Promoting better health and wellbeing.
In 2014 we commissioned an in-depth impact assessment in 58 communities in Ghana where Water of Life projects are active.
The study revealed that women and children spend up to 33% less time sourcing water, saving an estimated 13 days a year to do other things. It also showed that more women are running commercial businesses now that they can rely on the water source.
Improving lives through access to clean water in Ethiopia
See how Water of Life is helping a community just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia