Best International Ambassador Finalist: Xylem



Xylem: Solving Water Challenges to Protect Lives

Xylem’s brand promise is to “solve water.” Through their Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative – Water, the company can use their business expertise to create real, positive change for vulnerable communities around the world.


Overview

Nearly 800 million people worldwide lack access to clean water. Additionally, 75% of the global population is at risk of experiencing a natural disaster. When one strikes, water infrastructure can be damaged, compromised, or destroyed. Individuals facing these water challenges could face dehydration, disease and death.

For as long as she could remember, Nelsy Garcia, a single mother of three, was forced to flee to higher ground – leaving her home behind – when flooding repeatedly ravaged Barranquilla, Colombia. Small steps toward disaster preparedness can achieve powerful impact.

For Garcia, an investment by Xylem Watermark changed her life when her community of La Cangrejera was selected as the pilot site. With its nonprofit partner Mercy Corps, Xylem built a simple flood barrier, installed dewatering pumps, and worked with community members to develop an early warning system.

When monsoon rains hit that year, LaCangrejera and Nelsy’s family were left unscathed.

Yet, research has found that $1 invested in disaster risk reduction can save lives and an estimated $7 in disaster relief and recovery.  DRRI-Water includes training and preparation that help reduce the impact of natural disasters. Projects began in 2010 and now reach six countries: Colombia, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal and Tajikistan.

Xylem’s brand promise is to “solve water.” Every day, the company deploys people, products, and expertise to make a mark. Xylem’s corporate citizenship and social investment program, Xylem Watermark, delivers water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions in communities around the world. The DRRI-Water program is a key initiative that directly aligns with the company’s core competencies – Xylem delivers water transport and treatment technology via custom solutions, and the disaster risk reduction initiative leverages this expertise to protect vulnerable water sources and infrastructure.

Disaster risk reduction encompasses activities that reduce exposure to hazards, lessen vulnerability of people and property, facilitate intelligent land management and enhance emergency preparedness. One or more of these activities serve as the cornerstone of the six DRRI-Water projects currently underway. While each solution is unique, it will ultimately create real, positive change for communities around the world.

For example, in Indonesia, the DRRI-Water program is actively engaged with several West Sumatran communities, helping them to evaluate their water and disaster risks and to take steps to minimize damage when, inevitably, the next earthquake hits. In one community, Air Manis, Xylem and Mercy Corps helped to create a local Water Committee and assisted in the completion of a Hazard, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (HVCA). This activity identified at least ten springs on the hill above Air Manis village that may require additional protection from the effects of natural disasters. This activity, among others, will help secure the Air Manis water supply for generations to come.

Pak Doni, of the local Water Subcommittee says, “After completing the water HVCA, we know that our village has various hazards that threaten us and could make our water sources inadequate when [they] turn into disasters. We need to do something as a contingency plan. We never know when the moment will come, but we need to prepare our water source.”


What Xylem has Accomplished

Communities throughout the world have benefited from Xylem’s work with DRRI-Water.

Country

Target Beneficiaries

Key Activities

Colombia

50,000

-  Created five disaster preparedness teams with focus on water

-  Completed leader trainings

Indonesia

900,000

-  Established Disaster Preparedness Water Working Group of Padang City

-  Developed water-related contingency plans for Padang Cities

Ethiopia

86,900

-  Completed baseline assessment of risky hygiene behaviors

-  Engaged 2,950 participants in awareness activities on Global Handwashing Day

Nepal

380,000

-  Completed baseline survey on attitudes towards flooding and WASH

-  Formed disaster management committees and completed disaster preparedness plans

China

20,000

-  Completed baseline assessment surveys  in villages throughout two provinces

-  Established partnerships with twenty villages, two townships and two provinces

Tajikistan

30,000

-  Held eight focus groups to gather information on household water treatment and hygiene behaviors


Why This Project Makes Sense

Disaster risk reduction encompasses activities that reduce exposure to hazards, lessen vulnerability of people and property, facilitate intelligent land management and enhance emergency preparedness. As a company, Xylem delivers water transport and treatment technology via custom solutions and their disaster risk reduction initiative seeks to leverage this expertise to protect vulnerable water sources and infrastructure. Xylem’s DRRI-Water program is a program that positively impacts communities while being directly aligned with the company’s core competencies and business acumen.

     

All Fin alists

Alcoa

FedEx

GlaxoSmithKline

Qualcomm

Xylem

 

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