Some 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water – that’s more than 2.5 times the U.S. population. Water for All is an Atlas Copco community engagement project, initiated and run by its employees. The mission is to provide people in need with long-term access to clean drinking water.
South Africa Borehole
Atlas Copco partners with nonpolitical, nonprofit organizations and makes sure to involve the local community in the implementation and maintenance of the projects. This is also a way to ensure sustainability and help people to help themselves. The projects can involve drilling or digging a well, building a system to collect rainwater, constructing basic water systems for villages or homes or building sanitation or sewer systems.
30 years of water aid
Water for All was founded in Sweden in 1984 by two Atlas Copco employees, Torgny Rogert and Peter Håkansson.
This nonprofit organization has so far provided clean drinking water for close to 2 million people. Thirty years after its founding, Water for All is present in more than 30 countries, with projects all over the world.
In Rorke’s Drift District near Dundee in KwaZulu, Atlas Copco provided three boreholes to three schools in the area helping an estimated 1 000 learners and people in the areas close to the schools.
The boreholes have assisted the community by taking one more problem off their shoulders, as the area has a high unemployment rate and poverty is rife. The children can now concentrate in class and don’t have to walk far to get water.
In 2010 Water for All completed a project in Makueni, a district with the highest concentration of poor inhabitants in Kenya, where just 29% of the families had access to clean drinking water in an arid or semi-arid area. Here two surface wells were built along with 100 meters of channeling, providing 900 locals with clean water.
“You bring very fundamental change by constructing this water point. Earlier we were sharing water with animals.” The words come from one of the elders in the village of Lay Cuba in Ethiopia. The villages received a hand-dug well with clean water in 2010. Today the 750 people in Lay Cuba are not exposed to waterborne diseases. This was the first-ever project sponsored by the U.S. Chapter of Water for All.
Atlas Copco U.S. has now completed 15 projects.
Water for All had its first project in China in 2004. There, 3 773 households, 17 025 people and 5 518 children have gained access to clean drinking water. More than 3 000 employees in China are contributing each month.
Life changed for the people in Palabek West, a village in northern Uganda, when they got access to clean drinking water and latrines. Atlas Copco and Water for All Sweden financed the drilled well and drinking water source in cooperation with the Lutheran World Federation. The region suffered during a cruel civil war from 1987 to 2007. The leader Joseph Kony was kidnapping children and sending them as soldiers to southern Sudan. When Kony moved away from Uganda, people left the refugee camps, and families have been given an area by the local authorities where they can settle. Sources for potable water are scarce. The Lutheran World Federation is one of the organizations in the area that help people get access to clean drinking water.
They have contact with local hydrogeologists and drillers to help them get good water points for the villagers with deep-drilled wells at the right spot.
The people of Palabek West told how the clean drinking water and the latrines they have built have changed everything in their village during the past six months. Children are much healthier, and many fewer children die from bad water. There is a much shorter distance to clean water, and the children are able to fetch water before going to school without becoming exhausted. The adolescents who attend secondary school (boarding school) now come home during the holidays, because they know they have clean water in the village.