Did you know there are still 663 million people in the world without access to safe drinking water? Here at Virgin Atlanic, our partnership with ethical bottled water brand One Water means we can help support the One Foundation to achieve their vision of creating a world in which everyone has access to clean and safe water, and since launching the water brand onboard we’ve raised more than £300,000.
But what exactly does the money get spent on, and what kind of projects are the One Foundation supporting?
Clean, safe water, always
It essentially comes down to two core programmes: Immediate Interventions and System-Led Change. Via the Immediate Interventions programme, our donations have helped the One Foundation deliver urgently needed access to clean water in some of the world’s poorest communities, by repairing failed pumps or drilling new water points. Malawi, for example, has seen an investment of £3.4 million over the past five years, resulting in a pioneering pump repair programme and a community training school, as well as large-scale water, hygiene and sanitation projects. This densely populated country is one of the least developed in Africa and was ranked by the World Bank as the poorest country in the world in 2015. The money we’ve raised has helped to tackle the 40% of broken or unusable hand pumps in the country by assessing and repairing the faults, and then setting up and training village water committees so they’re equipped with the knowledge and skills for ongoing maintenance. So far, more than 500 dysfunctional pumps have been rehabilitated, providing clean, safe water to over 150,000 people.
The value of the programme was especially evident during the severe floods of January 2015 when 200,000 local people were displaced and many water points were damaged. One Foundation’s ground teams were able to immediately repair pumps and support several refugee camps and displaced communites, helping to prevent the spread of cholera in such high-risk flooded areas. In 2016 more than £20,000 raised through the sale of One Water across Virgin Atlantic flights will support water projects in the districts of Thyolo Escarpment and Shire Valley, seeing the repair of an additional 40 non-working water pumps, providing over 10,000 people with access to safe, clean water.
The System-Led Change programme has been making huge strides in Rwanda, as has Rwanda itself. Economic growth, education and particularly public health have come a long way in the twenty years since the genocide of 1994, but sadly there are still 3 million Rwandans without access to clean water, with waterborne disease still a leading cause of death in children.
That’s why, in partnership with the One Foundation and the Rwandan goverment, we’re proudly supporting the Everyone Forever programme in the district of Rulindo. The programme aims to provide 100% water coverage to the entire community by 2018 – that’s 500 villages and 285,000 people – reaching every family, every school and every clinic. We’re already seeing results. More than 100,000 people in Rulindo now have access to a sustainable water supply, and this model will be replicated across the country. We’ve already committed a £50,000 donation to supporting this programme, and with additional funds raised in 2016 we’re helping One Foundation reach 65 communities, 36 schools and 10 health clinics with clean, safe water by the end of 2016.
Visit onedifference.org to learn more.