More than one billion people lack access to clean water in their homes, leading to 3 million deaths annually. Women in water-stressed regions walk on average 3.5 miles everyday to get water to bring home. It’s a life and death struggle for them and their families.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti sparked an “aha” moment: Even when clean water was available, women were struggling to carry the water home in old cans and buckets, many originally used to hold fuel and pesticides. This moment led to the innovative design of the PackH2O water backpack.
The problem of getting water from access point to home isn’t confined to Haiti; nor is limited to the aftermath due to a disaster.
This is the Achilles’ heel of the Global Water Crisis – safely transporting water from access point to home.
For people in water-stressed regions, the PackH2O is a life-changing alternative to buckets and jerry cans designed to carry water home -- from a nonprofit, social innovation company.
PackH2O: Designed to ease the burden of carrying household water from access point to home. PackH2O has a removable liner that, after use, is easily sanitized with exposure to sunlight. With a spout for dispensing water and a puncture-resistant outer shell, PackH2O is a safe and effective way to store clean water. The water backpack holds about 5 gallons (20L) of water – the amount of daily water used by people in developing economies.
The water backpack also relieves the physical stress of carrying water by distributing the burden evenly on the wearers’ back. Light-weight and collapsible, it is easily shipped and stored. That’s because the PackH2O water backpack is 7x lighter and smaller than the average plastic jerry can.
While in Haiti just after the 2010 earthquake, Greif CEO David Fischer realized that dirty, heavy jerry cans and buckets being used to carry water represented the Achilles’ heel of the effort to provide safe, clean water in the developing world. He knew that Grief, a global leader in industrial packaging with 16,000 employees in 250 locations worldwide, had the expertise to devise a better alternative.
Such an effort also fit the company’s corporate culture, including its long-term commitment to sustainability and its belief that business cannot thrive in a society which fails. Grief also had sustainable business experience working with groups like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and RIO+ 20 and with humanitarian partners.
Responding to Fischer’s challenge, a Greif team created and tested PackH2O. Along the way, they worked closely with NGOs to consult with women in Haiti, who were using the water backpack, and with the Clinton Global Initiative and Habitat for Humanity International - until the best possible product was ready for distribution.
Since that time, numerous relief agencies and nonprofits have partnered with PackH2O and Greif to distribute PackH2O globally.
PackH2O, a nonprofit social innovation company, is driven by a vision to improve lives through a sustainable business model.
We believe in the value of every life and in the ability of every single one of us to make a profound impact on the lives of others.
We believe that real, sustainable change will come when we promote partnerships and business opportunities in the areas of the world starved for economic development.
We believe collaboration will be the single most important ingredient in true and profound change, as corporations, NGOs and foundations work together to help promote innovative ideas.
The goal: Deliver a PackH2O water backpack to every person who needs one.
Kelsey Langdale, Director of Marketing & Strategy
PackH2O is Kelsey's first startup experience. With a marketing and environmental background, she hopes to learn more about the world of philanthropy. Kelsey spent six years in project management and marketing for venture capital firm NCT Ventures. During that time, she also interned with DoMedia, an online site which connects media buyers and sellers.
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