Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back The Pack

Women using the water pack. Photo courtesy: © Back the Pack

Water has long been an issue with me. I believe everyone should have reasonable access to fresh, clean water without fear of rape, beatings or worse. Women and female children should not have to walk for miles/hours to find water to bring back to the family. In some countries, men wait by the water for people to collect it. The women and girl children are raped as are some of the male children. If there are any young men, they are severely beaten.

While these packs won't help much with those problems, they will make the collection of water a faster, more efficient, less painful chore. Hopefully, by drawing attention to the lack of clean, fresh drinking water in these countries; and, the dangers involved in collecting it, light will spill over onto the other problems as well.

A partnership between a major industrial packaging manufacturer and a group of social entrepreneurs has produced an innovative product - a water-carrying backpack to help transport clean water safely and with less effort. And one of the best parts is that they cost just $10.

In many parts of the world, the water crisis is an in-your-face daily issue, with lots of time and energy spent just providing the basic water needs of a family.
"The burden of water transport can be huge for women and children in developing countries. The average person needs 8 to 15 liters of water per day; a family of six needs up to 90 liters daily. And in Africa, for example, women walk an average of 3.5 miles each day to get water."

And on top of that, the containers used to transport it (usually a repurposed container) may be responsible for contaminating the water because they aren't designed to store potable water.

The solution, courtesy of a partnership between Greif and Impact Economics, is the WaterWear backpack, a sanitary, collapsible, and easier-to-carry container capable of making a big impact on the lives of those affected by the water crisis. 2000 of the WaterWear packs have been distributed in Haiti, with plans to distribute many more throughout the world, both for disaster relief and daily use.

Photo courtesy: © Back the Pack
"The WaterWear™ pack is the lowest cost, ergonomically correct way to manually transport water from source to home. It is the first for purpose designed water transport product that is economically viable for developing economies and disaster relief conditions."
The following video gives an insight into the problems women and children face collecting water.

The WaterWear packs are capable of holding up to 5 gallons of water, can be carried either on the back or on the head, and stand upright for filling.

Find out more about how you can help make these water containers more widely available: Back the Pack.

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