We are SWEET, a team dedicated to the problem of water insecurity. We are four young individuals based in Miami, and have come together over the last year to work on water solutions that can help rural communities thrive.
WHY WE'RE DOING THIS
Today, there are over 2.1 Billion people who lack safe drinking water at home. It is hard to believe that this problem still exists in 2018, even in the Latin American countries some of us grew up in.
We’ve decided to focus on the problem of transporting and cleaning water in rural communities, where many women and girls walk up to 6 hours a day to collect water, vulnerable to injury, exhaustion and a loss of invaluable time. However, no one really ever dies from thirst. The biggest problem is how the available water is so contaminated, making families ill and taking the lives of 6,000 children every day.
Using our current understanding of the problem, we have begun working on the SWEET roller, a solution that could bring clean water to rural communities.
The roller is a 75 liter container that harnesses the kinetic energy from human effort as women and girls walk to and from water sources, and utilizes this energy to eliminate up to 99% of disease-causing viruses and bacteria while decreasing time and effort spent collecting water.
HOW IT WORKS
1. As women and girls walk back home, they create kinetic energy with their movement
2. It is transformed into rotational energy as the roller moves
3. A small generator in the roller transforms it into electrical energy
4. This powers a UV-C LED array that kills harmful pathogens in the water
One SWEET roller would provide safe water for a household. By making just one trip daily with the roller a family could:
+ Cover basic drinking, cooking and hygiene needs for 5 people
+ Replace four backbreaking trips to and from water sources
+ Save 2,190 hours a year that can now be dedicated to work and education
+ Eliminate one of the largest contributors to the poverty cycle experienced in these regions
We have been using design thinking, also known as Human-Centered Design, as a framework to help us understand how we are approaching the impossible problem of water insecurity.
One of the most valuable aspects of the design thinking methodology is empathizing, developing a profound understanding of the people we are designing for, which is the reason we are working on traveling to a region profoundly affected by this problem, to observe, interact and directly hear from the women, girls and families we are trying to serve.
WHY LA GUAJIRA?
We have identified the state of La Guajira in the north of Colombia and its indigenous Wayuu tribe as the best focus for our research for the following reasons:
+ More than 84% of the population faces water insecurity on a daily basis, providing us with an understanding of the experiences of the most vulnerable populations
+ We have a network in the region that will help advance our work and connections to the affected communities
+ We can apply our learnings to other regions with similar needs and experiences
+ The small population of approximately 140,000 allows us to visit different communities and gain an understanding of their unique needs
PURPOSE OF RESEARCH TRIP
Our research trip is scheduled for September of this year. By traveling to La Guajira, we hope to be able to test our assumptions and understand the following:
+ What is the most frustrating part of accessing clean water in their homes?
+ Who from the household is responsible for collecting water?
+ What are the different journeys they experience when transporting water to their homes?
+ How might we create a solution that adapts to their current habits and traditional norms but provides safe water?
+ What are the biggest adaptations families incur when they are not able to secure water?
Our goal is to use this trip to discover and experience first-hand the unique needs experienced by the natives of the La Guajira region. We plan on having two different ways of interacting with our target customer:
1. Shadow and interact with them in their villages and observing how they go about their day to day tasks in acquiring water from their different sources and utilizing it in their homes
2. Educate and interact with young students teaching them about the Science of Sound, in the hopes of fostering and supporting their curiosity, and to have the opportunity to learn directly from them on how they view their world and norms
This GoFundMe will make this opportunity possible. The funds raised will be used as follows:
Educational materials $300
If we reach $7,000 raised, we can afford to purchase more educational materials (such as solar power cell kits) as well as off-the-shelf water filters that can be used until we launch our final product.
Additional funds will be used to hire a videographer (with years of experience working with indigenous populations) to document our journey in La Guajira which will help raise awareness for the global water crisis and how it affects those living in rural communities around the world.
FOLLOW OUR JOURNEY
Follow us on Instagram @project.sweet to follow our steps and see the work we’re doing.
On completion of our research trip, we will also share edited content of our entire journey, plus our learnings and reflections. Keep an eye out for it on our Instagram or on our website at projectsweet.co
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- Madalene ODonnell
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Fundraising team: Project SWEET (4)
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