Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wello: A Drop in the Drought

Early Morning. 
You woke up. 
Feeling thirsty. 
Open Refrigerator. 
Drink water. 
Back to sleep.

A normal routine, nothing out of ordinary. Now, imagine you wake up feeling thirsty and there is no water to drink. Before you can quench your thirst, you need to travel 8 km and carry a 20 liter bucket on your head. Uncomfortable? Well, I am sorry to inform you but that's exactly what millions of women do daily. They wake up early in the morning, walk 8 to 10 km, carrying 20 liters of water on their head. For what? To quench the thirst of their family, to bath, to cook, to wash hands and for every other thing for which you just twist the faucet.

What are the consequences of such an uncomfortable journey that millions across make every other day? For one, they are able to fulfill their family's need of water. But what about other effects?

  1. Carrying such a heavy load can damage their spine and cause other injuries.
  2. Time wasted during these trips to water sources could well be used for other productive work.
  3. There are many young girls who accompany these women who needs to skip schools in order to carry water.

All these lead +Cynthia Koenig  to find a unique solution. She founded Wello, a social venture with a bold mission: to effectively deliver clean water to a thirsty world. If you look at it, it makes you wonder why did no one think about it earlier? It's such a simple but elegant solution and does solve a big problem of accessible clean water to every human being. So, what is this idea am talking about? Wello is basically a water wheel. Instead of  carrying water on their head, this WaterWheel allows users to roll water on ground and transport it easily thus reducing time and effort taken to carry water. The benefit to community and users are immense.

With the WaterWheel, the users can now transport 50L at once – between 3 and 5 times the amount of water possible as compared to traditional methods: this means MORE water in less time! The WaterWheel’s cap-in-cap design prevents 
re-contamination at the point of use. Thus making it more hygienic for the family. Wello is a not only making it easier to carry water but also allows people to use the WaterWheel as an income-generating tool to lift their families out of poverty. The for-profit side of the business aims to generate income through sales of the WaterWheel, as well as sales of advertising space on the outside of the device. Wello’s nonprofit arm will focus on raising awareness of the global clean water crisis.

WaterWheel prototype 2.0

It is being manufactured to sustain the rough terrain and with a price band between $20-$30. Cynthia knows there would be some families who would still not be able to afford the waterwheel. To tackle this, Wello is trying an idea of delivery boys again generating jobs and empowering the rural youth to sustain livelihood.

As I said earlier, wello is a very innovative solution to a big challenge that our society had been facing. If it takes off, which I believe it would could lead to social change so big that it changes the face of society. Cynthia made a presentation about Wello at Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012. Her presentation could be seen in the following video.

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