Getting things going… and the importance of testing the proposition before diving straight in!
Clean Water Wave has been in existence now for 6 months. In that time, we’ve raised funding, attended loads of conferences, been networking superheroes, and done a lot of talking! It might sound like an odd thing to do… networking and talking… there’s much more important things to be getting on with…
Why don’t just just get on with it?
You might be thinking, ‘why are they wasting time talking and not just getting on with getting clean drinking water to people in need?’
But this networking and talking isn’t all hot air. In fact, it’s vital for us to test our proposition and see what people really in know think about what we’re doing.
Sustainability is key
The good news is that experts we spoke to at the various international water and development/aid conferences were all extremely positive about CAFE and about our intentions with Clean Water Wave.
There is step-change in international development occuring right now. Long gone are the days when aid = handouts. International development agencies such as DFID and USAID, as well as the many NGOs such as WaterAid, are well aware that their good technologies need to be truly sustainable. And for that to happen, innovations and interventions need to be well financed for the long term.
Social enterprises help meet long term goals
That means that not only have we had positive feed back on the CAFE water filtration system, but we’ve also had positive feedback on the local social enterprise approach. Selling clean drinking water at locally affordable rates will not only create jobs, but means there is a long-term revenue stream from the water sales that can help pay off the money needed to install and run the infrastructure (i.e. the ‘hardware’), something that the international development community are very keen to do in order to support projects for the long term.
Getting it right
We know it’s going to be hard for us to get it right first time… maybe even 8th time around… possibly even 88th time around (let’s hope not!) but we also think that by speaking to those in the know is important first. Included in the ‘expert’ tag are the communities. In fact, that’s the litmus test for expert.
If the technology and approach isn’t right for where it’s intended, it’s pretty much useless. Talking and learning is critical. This way, we can learn common mistakes and try hard to get it as close as possible to right.
Next steps for us are to continue our engagements with these networks and get our pilot projects up and running. Lots more exciting work ahead!