The global scarcity of water and how this vital challenge can be addressed was discussed during a captivating session led by Saran Kaba Jones, Founder and CEO of FACE Africa, a community development organisation working to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene, and Michael W Pritchard MBE, Founder and Inventor of the LIFESAVER® system, an innovative, low-cost technology which provides safe drinking water at point of use.
With over one billion people worldwide, including 350 million in Africa, suffering from a lack of access to a safe water supply, the ability to resolve this situation is a priority for governments, charities and the private sector around the world. Over 2 million people die from waterborne diseases every year, the majority of whom are children under the age of five. Meanwhile, in some African countries, women can spend as much as 60% of their day travelling to collect safe drinking water. This leads to a loss of productivity economically and can hinder a countries development.
However, technologies and solutions to the water scarcity challenge are available and the emphasis is now on ensuring they are transported those regions which need them most through the effective use of resources and efficient use of funding. One such technology, which was demonstrated live to the astounded audience during the session, is the LIFESAVER® bottle. Developed by Michael Pritchard after he witnessed the devastating aftereffects from the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the LIFESAVER® system allows even the most putrid of water to be made safe and drinkable, allowing people to be lifted out of water poverty and saved after a natural disaster.
Saran Kaba Jones, Founder and CEO of FACE Africa, said: “The lack of access to safe drinking water, which affects over one billion people globally, is one of the most severe challenges facing the world today. Although this crisis is serious, it is solvable through the implementation of social, low-cost household solutions in the communities that need it most. Which technology is used depends on the individual community needs, however, it remains important that the solutions deployed are inclusive, ethical and economically viable”.
Michael W Pritchard MBE, Founder and Inventor of LIFESAVER®, added: “Everyone deserves safe drinking water. What we have pioneered at LIFESAVER® are a range of low-cost products that can filter and clean water making it safe to drink. This technology is already being used in key regions around the globe and for a range of different uses. We have helped hundreds of thousands of people produce safe, sterile drinking water, and, as we continue to grow and expand our reach to those in need, will continue to change lives around the world”.
Since 2010, FACE Africa has implemented a host of water, sanitation and hygiene projects in rural Liberia that have benefited over 10,000 people. Through its projects, the time spent collecting and transporting water, which amounts to over 200,000 hours every year, is now spent on income generating activities, housework or childcare.
In 2013, Saran was also named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader along with 198 young leaders from 70 countries. Young Global Leaders are honored by the World Economic Forum for their professional accomplishments and commitment to society.
Michael has recently been appointed a Member of the British Empire as part of the Queen's Birthday Honors List. Michael’s award is in recognition of his innovative drive to tackle water poverty.
For more information, visit the 10th WIEF website: www.10thwief.org