Jun 26, 2012

Unilever Partners with PSI, Facebook to Launch Waterworks Program

Program will deliver clean drinking water to communities in need

Unilever, in partnership with Population Services Intl. (PSI), announced the launch of Waterworks, a not-for-profit program that will provide saf,e clean drinking water to communities in need around the world.

Waterworks, which operates through a Timeline application developed jointly with Facebook, will connect people with means directly with people and communities in need.

Almost 800 million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water. Preventable waterborne diseases such as dysentery and diarrhea are a particular threat to the weakest members of society: A child dies from a water-related illness every 20 seconds.

"In July 2010, the United Nations declared that safe and clean drinking water is a human right; we share this belief and have made a public and ambitious commitment through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to provide safe drinking water to 500 million people by 2020. But to overcome a challenge of this scale, we cannot achieve this change alone; we need to work in partnership," said Keith Weed, chief marketing officer for Unilever.

"At Unilever, we believe that small, everyday actions can add up to a big difference and that the power of social connections can drive real change around the world," Weed added. "On Facebook, nearly a billion people take small actions every day; they connect to the individuals and organizations that matter most to them, and they discover new things through their friends. We want to leverage the power of the social graph and the ripple effects that each person's actions can create, to inspire and enroll many more to make a difference."

Initially launched as a beta pilot, Waterworks is among the first Timeline applications for charitable giving, connecting Facebook users around the world with real individuals and communities in need. People will be invited to sign up to Waterworks and connect the application to their Facebook Timelines. They will partner with a PSI-trained Waterworker and choose a small daily donation. Their funds will directly support the water-poor communities, where Waterworkers will provide education about the benefits of clean drinking water and distribute Pureit water purifiers and sachets to families in need.

In its initial stage, PSI will train 75 Waterworkers who will educate the neediest people in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, about the need for clean water and its opportunity to improve the health and wellness of their community. They will distribute Pureit sachets and purifiers to these families.

Waterworkers will be given a mobile phone, preloaded with a custom Waterworks J2ME application that will allow them to take photos and record stories. They will share these updates with their partners on Facebook, demonstrating how their funds are making an impact in the community and inspiring the partners to continue giving and supporting this work.