Unilever and Facebook start app to support local aid workers in water poor communities
Multinational consumer goods company Unilever, in partnership with Population Services International (PSI), announced the launch of Waterworks, a non-for-profit programme that will provide safe clean drinking water to communities in need around the world.
Waterworks connects Facebook users around the world with real individuals and communities in need. People will be invited to sign up to Waterworks and connect the application to their Facebook Timeline. They will partner with a PSI-trained Waterworker and choose a small daily donation – as little as 0.10 euro.
Their funds will directly support the water-poor communities, where Waterworkers will provide education about the benefits of clean drinking water and distribute life-saving Pureit water purifiers and sachets to families in need.
Distribution of Pureit sachets and purifiers in Bhopal
In its initial stage, PSI will train 75 Waterworkers who will educate the neediest people in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India about the need for clean water and its opportunity to improve the health and wellness of their community. They will distribute life-saving Pureit sachets and purifiers to these families.
Sharing photos and stories with donors
Each Waterworker will be given a mobile phone, preloaded with a custom Waterworks J2ME application that will allow her to take photos and record stories. She will share these updates back to her Partners on Facebook, demonstrating how their funds are making an impact in her community, and inspiring her Partners to continue giving and supporting her work.
Part of Unilever's sustainable living plan
Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing Officer, explains, "InJuly 2010, the United Nations declared that safe and clean drinking water is a human right; we share this belief and have made a public and ambitious commitment through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to provide safe drinking water to 500 million people by 2020. But to overcome a challenge of this scale, we cannot achieve this change alone; we need to work in partnership."
Power of the social graph
“At Unilever, we believe that small, everyday actions can add up to a big difference; and that the power of social connections can drive real change around the world. On Facebook, nearly a billion people take small actions every day, they connect to the individuals and organisations that matter most to them and they discover new things through their friends. We want to leverage the power of the social graph and the ripple effects that each person’s actions can create, to inspire and enrol many more to make a difference,” adds Weed.
Water programme rooted in communities
"PSI is excited to be working with innovative partners like the Unilever Foundation and Facebook to launch Waterworks - a clean water program rooted in community-based knowledge and action," says Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI. "Our Waterworkers will be women from the communities in which they will work– mothers, sisters, and aunts who will be able to have trusted conversations with their families and friends about health issues that affect the community.
Through participation in Waterworks they will gain not only a steady income but also receive training on communication techniques and local health issues, as well as access to clean water for their own families."
Read more in the original press release by Unilever.
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