Special WASH Award Offers Cash and Combined Expertise

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are still crucial areas with the need for consolidated support, considering worldwide around 844 million people still do not have access to safe drinking water and over 2.3 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. It is a fundamental precondition for many areas of life as it cuts across multiple development goals: better access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and better hygiene reduce infant mortality, improve maternal health and education for women. The ancillary benefits that follow are improved living conditions for women as they have more time to farm or educate themselves, increased school attendance by girls and ultimately leading to more income generation for communities. Acknowledging the role and opportunities for social entrepreneurship in this sphere, Knorr-Bremse Global Care collaborated with empowering people. Award 2019 by introducing a Special WASH Award. The award offers €20,000 to a simple solution making an ecological difference  in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene.

Local students at the Changemaker Academy in South Africa. (Photo credit: Masifunde Learner Development)

Knorr-Bremse Global Care focuses on two particular areas and contributes to Sustainable Development Goals 4 (education) and 6 (clean water and sanitation). They operate on the principle of strengthening people’s independence and self-reliance. Over the past few years, developments and experiences have demonstrated entrepreneurship is a key factor in determining those goals. They have found that in areas clamouring for urgent action, social entrepreneurship models have made an effective and sustainable intervention.

A recent success story comes from South Africa where the organization is working together with their long-term local collaborator Masifunde. Together with Masifunde, they built a Changemaker Academy in Walmer Township in Port Elizabeth.

The training center offers life skills training, extra-curricular activities, academic support and social assistance. The academy trains highly dedicated young people as Changemakers to shoulder the responsibility of making a positive impact on their communities. Everyone could see the stark difference in Walmer High School where last year  90% of the students who participated in the program successfully passed the matric (graduation degree after twelfth grade), compared to 45% who did not participate in the program.  Masifunde built  a consulting branch at the Knorr-Bremse office site in Johannesburg. Other NGOs and the local communities are also benefiting from this consulting branch by using the knowledge and expertise of Masifunde. This has also resulted in generating additional income and improved the overall wellbeing.

Students engage in extra-curicular activities at the Changemaker Academy in South Africa. (Photo credit: Masifunde Learner Development)

Knorr-Bremse Global Care has substantial experience in all the WASH areas, and their engagements in developing regions in Africa and Asia have shown the significance of low technologies over high-tech or the lastest and advanced digital solutions.

Knorr-Bremse Global Care supports WASH and Nutrition measures implemented by Welthungerhilfe in India. (Photo credit: Felschen/Welthungerhilfe)

The lack of technical know-how, easy and affordable access to logistics and infrastructural facilities for implementation, maintenance and repair is not always feasible in developing regions. This is where low-tech and simple solutions fill the vacuum! Comparatively, with less wear and tear, they are easier on the pockets and foster independence of the local population.

With a wealth of 15 years of diverse experience, the organization is putting their weight behind social entrepreneurs by support empowering people. Award 2019. They realize the endless potential that social entrepreneurs can bring to this sector. Cooperation between charitable organizations, like Knorr-Bremse Global Care and Siemens Stiftung, make the offer even more robust. With the combined expertise, experiences, resources, energies and passion, the benefits for the winner will be enhanced manifold.

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