Next May, a convoy of 4x4 vehicles full of volunteers will embark on a two-week expedition, installing water filtration systems in Swaziland and South African communities that lack clean, safe drinking water. Sponsored by Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF), the 10-1-10 Expedition will help up to 2,000 people with these systems. WQP Associate Editor Amy McIntosh spoke to Guillermo Guzman, WWIF’s founder, to learn more about the expedition.
Amy McIntosh: What is the 10-1-10 concept?
Guillermo Guzman: The 10-1-10 message is that $10 provides clean, safe drinking water for one person for 10 years. This raises several questions in the minds of a donor: How is that possible? How do you provide 10 years of clean water for 10 bucks?
The short answer to these questions is that it costs us $100 to deploy one filter. Our field data suggest that one of these filters provides water for 10 people over 10 years.
We want people to hear this message and know that their contributions make a real difference for real people. They may never meet these people, but we have the privilege of meeting with them on a regular basis. One thing that excites us about this expedition is that the people who give will finally be meeting the people who benefit from that giving. When this happens, it changes [donors’] perspective and they develop an immediate passion to do more and get others involved.
McIntosh: What are the goals of the expedition?
Guzman: The primary goal of the expedition is to raise awareness about our mission. This greater awareness will lead to more funds, and those funds will lead to more filter deployments and more people who are impacted. But aside from that, we are seeking to change the perspective that people have of the $10 bills in their pockets. It is easy to spend $10, and we do it quickly for unnecessary things that are quickly consumed. But if more of us in First World countries, especially young people, would understand how that $10 bill can make such a long-term difference for someone, then this cause will be promoted even further.
Specifically, we are aiming to raise half a million dollars from sponsorships that are available for this event. That amount is going to fund numerous clean water projects over the next two years. During the expedition itself, we will be deploying between 150 and 200 filters that will impact 1,500 to 2,000 people in southern Africa.
McIntosh: What kind of treatment technology will be used?
Guzman: At this time, we are using two different technologies in the field with their corresponding equipment. The Hydraid Biosand filters are what we have used for the past several years. They have proven to be effective in the removal of bacteria and viruses from local water. This is simple, low-technology equipment that is easy to use. It is ideal for these rural sites because it requires no electricity, no water pressure and very little maintenance.
We are now introducing a Biofoam filter with technology that was recently developed by Amway. The expedition will be the first major deployment of these Biofoam filters, which remove bacteria, viruses and cysts from the water to a very high degree. The quality of the water will be the determining factor in which filter we install at a given location.
Another critical component of the technology we will be using in the field is the software that enables us to track and monitor the filters. It is called EMMP and it was developed by a company called mFrontiers using Oracle technology. It was created for Safe Water Kenya, one of our partner organizations, and we are fortunate to be able to use it in our expedition.
McIntosh: How can people get involved in the expedition?
Guzman: The great news is that anyone can get involved in this expedition. From the president of a company to a child at a school, there are opportunities throughout this event for anyone to support it. For those who are able to accompany us in May on the expedition, it is going to be a life-changing experience of meeting great people, installing equipment that is desperately needed and seeing beautiful parts of Africa that they otherwise may never see.
But we realize that not everyone can get up and go to another part of the world for two weeks and put [his or her] life on hold. Therefore, we are expecting that many company representatives will simply wish to sponsor a part of the expedition. Those sponsorships range from $100 all the way to $50,000, each with corresponding benefits. For those companies that wish to exercise their corporate social responsibility, a sponsorship is a great way to give back and demonstrate a charitable response to their success.