In 2012 Edelman allocated 30 percent of its philanthropic resources, employee volunteerism and in-kind contributions to eradicating hunger and poverty, two of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
To take this commitment forward, Edelman Asia Pacific teamed up with Planet Water, an international nonprofit organization that provides access to safe, clean drinking water to millions of people. Through this partnership, five Edelman-sponsored water towers are being set up across schools in India, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.
I was chosen by our Mumbai office lead, Carolina James Bajaj, to lead this project with a team of nine colleagues. The Planet Water team had already screened the site and tested the quality of the drinking water, which in this case was highly contaminated and unsuitable for human consumption. It was a cause of serious concern because the village children often contracted various waterborne diseases.
As part of this program, we assisted the Planet Water team in erecting a water tower in a government-run school for tribal children in a remote village in Maharashtra, India. The volunteers also engaged with the students and teachers to educate them on the importance of clean drinking water and basic hygiene habits. While 10 of us were in the field, our colleagues in Digital practice were tweeting about happenings of the day.
We are proud to share that our efforts now provide 900 children and close to 2,000 villagers in the area with 10,000 liters of safe drinking water every day.
It was a humbling experience for the team to work in a rural area, and we realize the difference it has made to the quality of life of the children and villagers. What is more heartening is to see that they too realize its worth.
We now pass on the torch to our colleagues in Vietnam, the next in line to set up a water tower, a step towards eliminating water poverty.
Pallavi Walia is account director with the Health practice in Mumbai. She is also a part of the core team at Ek Titli (one butterfly), a volunteer-driven initiative to showcase all the constructive work happening in environment, nature and sustainability.
Edelman India – Planet Water Project Team: Aastha, Sudatta Banerjee, Abhay Bhow, Aishwarya Guha, Preetha Iyer, Rajesh Narwankar, Aditi Sachdeva, Elita Sequeira, Saroja Shankaran, Purti Simon, and Pallavi Walia
Social Media Campaign Team: Chinmaya Jailwala and Kasturee Kailash