Worldwide, there are over 800 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water. Infrastructure projects provide long-term solutions but do not provide disaster relief, and don’t go into conflict zones. That is where Aquabox comes in — we are first responders, aiming to get our water filters to disaster zones as quickly as possible.
Aquabox is a volunteer-led charity and community project, based in Derbyshire, England. It operates worldwide, providing safe drinking water (using filtration units) and humanitarian aid to crisis zones and refugee camps around the world.
Aquabox saw its beginnings at a Rotary garden party in the early 1990s. Mike Hoole and Peter Hare, both members of RC Wirksworth, England, were chatting about ways of improving the aid box which the club was then sending to disaster areas. Each box was filled by volunteer groups with items like blankets, pots and pans, cutlery and so on. Mike and Peter thought there was a way to make the box more useful. It could be used to hold water — preferably for drinking.
Aquabox saw its beginnings at a Rotary garden party in the early 1990s, and has distributed over 115,000 boxes to countries suffering from natural and manmade disasters.
Fast forward to the present era; in 2018–19 Aquabox supplied water filtration units capable of producing over 4,000 litres of drinking water every minute, providing lifesaving support to over 50,000 desperate people throughout the world.
Over the years Aquabox has provided support throughout Asia. We respond to both natural and man-made disasters and at times face considerable challenges in getting our aid through and ensuring its safe distribution.
We have a long-standing relationship with Nepal, supplying our aid boxes for rapid distribution from Kathmandu to remote communities affected by the all too regular earthquakes, mudslides and landslips which plague the area.
Although this was a challenging activity for us, we were able to safely distribute our aid to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar into Bangladesh
The floods in Kerala in 2019 brought further suffering to local inhabitants. Aquabox was able to distribute its water filters as an immediate response with further aid from us at a later date.
We have a a proud record of working with communities recovering from the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes/cyclones. Recently we supported communities who had been devastated by the super cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal.
The next project, working with a German Rotary club, is to deliver filters to remote communities in Senegal.
As part of our due diligence, we ensure that all of our aid distribution is managed locally by agencies who are familiar with the communities affected and in all of the above cases, Rotary is the trusted partner and a major player in this work.
Since its formation in 1992, Aquabox has distributed more than 115,000 boxes of water filters and aid, to countries suffering from natural and man-made disasters, helping hundreds of thousands of people in more than 50 countries throughout the world.
It is run entirely by volunteers, so we have extremely low overheads, which means that the majority of the money raised goes where it is needed. It relies entirely on donations and the fundraising activities of its supporters to fund the work and purchase the items which are supplied in the aid boxes. Historically, this support has come from within the Rotary family; Rotary, Inner Wheel, Rotaract etc.
Aquabox is acutely aware that it is only addressing a fraction of the world’s need for safe drinking water. Whilst we have supported disasters on all five continents, there are many countries in the top 25 of the World Risk Index where we are yet to ship filters; the need is growing, With the increasing frequency of natural disasters, countless long-running conflicts and continuing political instability in vulnerable regions, water supply is threatened.
Hence Aquabox has set an ambitious target of providing sufficient filters to dispense water to 100,000 people a year by 2025.
To do so, it realises that it needs to expand its traditional funding base beyond the Rotary family, and is embarking on a corporate partnership initiative. It is keen to create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with companies with similar values. In return for valuable support it can provide a range of opportunities to satisfy its partner community’s social responsibility objectives.
So, whether you wish to support Aquabox as a Rotary club, a corporate partner or an individual; any funding will provide much needed clean water to desperate people around the world. You can donate on the website; www.aquabox.org or the dedicated JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Aquabox
It only takes a £250 donation to provide water filters which will supply enough clean water for 10 families!
For more information contact the writer, who is a Trustee, at email@example.com