July 10, 2015
In 2014, Water for All celebrates 30 years of committed work to provide clean drinking water to people in need. More than one and a half million people have been supported, and today local organizations in more than 35 countries work hard to increase that figure. Water for All is today by far the Group’s most important community engagement project.
With only 22 employees, Atlas Copco in Senegal managed to start up Water for All in 2013. Here in Senegal people in need is part of everyone’s day-to-day life. People in general have a tendency of helping others. Our employees were already helping people when we started to put money aside for Water for All, so this was not complicated. Starting a Water for All project here has been one of my objectives since day one. The need is enormous.
In only one year you managed to choose a partner and your first project. In brief, we began to look at known organizations with reliable references. World Vision proved to have clear traceability and was able to provide an interesting project with focus on children and schools, which was in line with our rather limited budget. The project is directly affecting six different schools and more than 700 children in the Kédougou region in eastern Senegal.
Communications is key. People need to see the development of course. For instance, once we had a partner and a concrete project, all employees were thrilled and very excited.
Your local Water for All board in Italy includes people from several brands. We wanted to involve all Group companies operating in Italy, to achieve better results and to let them be part of a project we are proud of. The companies engaged in Water for All Italy are: Atlas Copco, BLM, Atlas Copco Stonetec, Abac, Ceccato and Multiair. It felt natural since we are part of the same Group and it has enabled us to gather more money to finance our projects.
Water for All Italy has developed a lot the last year. We registered Water for All Italy as an association and have thus been able to open a dedicated bank account. Our Holding Manager, Jose Manuel Funcia, has always supported us and with a small contribution from directions we have been able to organize different activities: some internal, such as lotteries, and some, together with other companies for the anniversary, such as a photo competition, where the winner will fly to Kenya to visit the wells that we have financed until now.
In 2013, Atlas Copco’s operations in Belgium began the journey of establishing its own Water for All organization. Water for All Belgium was founded in 2004 but its not until now that we manage our funds locally. Projects are managed by local employees, and local communication has increased transparency for the donors. We look to strengthen this local link even more by running a project in Morocco where a significant number of our blue collar workers have there family origins.
Belgium is very good when it comes to marketing Water for All internally. What have you done to increase awareness and membership counts? We believe you can never communicate too much and we have three goals. First, we want to be present in every company publication even if only with a small update. This costs nothing and you reach all employees. Second, we want to be present in every company event, e.g. team building events. Even with a small representation you can reach a lot of people. Third, we use existing events around the water theme, such as World Water Day and the Water for All anniversary. In this way, you do not need to invent everything and this reduces the effort for our volunteers.