WaterAid Winnovators challenge

Bringing clean water and sanitation where they’re needed most

Two Sulzer teams are competing internationally to solve real-world clean water access and sanitation issues. The Winnovators challenge is organized by the non-profit organization WaterAid.

A group of students wash their hands at a tippy tap in Wayuuma'ana, Maicao, La Guajira, Colombia

From our morning tea or coffee to late-night beers, from sea and river water to industrial hydrocarbons and chemicals, our basic individual needs in life change – but the need for water is a constant.

In developing countries, the burden of collecting water falls mainly on women who walk many rounds and long distances to get access to clean water. Access to clean water closer home can give people the time and resources to find jobs, learn new skills and run successful businesses. Proper sanitation facilities and education about hygiene can help prevent the spread of diseases.

Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets kills almost 800 children a day. A lack of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene keeps kids out of school, adults out of work and traps people in poverty.

Real problems demand real solutions and Sulzer’s experts have teamed up to solve them. Sulzer’s Europe-based team Agua Vida has chosen to tackle water-storage for the indigenous Wayuu community in Columbia. Team ATOM, which is spread across the globe, is focusing on accessibility issues for toilet facilities in rural areas of India.

Clean water in Columbia

It all starts with clean water. Access to clean water, decent toilet facilities and good hygiene should be a normal part of daily life for everyone, everywhere — but they aren’t. Did you know that in Colombia, 1.6 million people do not have direct access to clean water? And about 7.5 million people in the country live without decent sanitation facilities. The indigenous Wayuu population in La Guajira is settled in scattered communities of families and clans, with an average population density of 100 people per square kilometer. Drinking water in this area is scarce and comes from multiple sources, such as shallow hand-dug wells and natural rainwater ponds.

Team Aguavida for Wateraid
Sulzer’s Agua Vida team has chosen to tackle water-storage for the indigenous Wayuu community in Columbia.

We want to help by improving the access of the indigenous Wayuu people to water and sanitation facilities. Our task is centered around bringing water treatment as well as safe and affordable storage techniques to the Wayuu community. We have narrowed down our work into three main focus areas — filters, solar panels, and water storage units. We are currently researching and working on creating a supply chain and marketing strategy that relies on little to no external input. With the introduction of a solution, we will provide an education program that can be introduced to help maintain the solution.

During the coming months we will bake, run, paddle, cycle, hike, climb and educate to raise awareness and money to fund our initiatives for the indigenous Wayuu population in La Guajira, Colombia. 

You can all help too, by donating hereNo donation is too small and every cent counts! All the money raised will go to helping provide water to the children of the Wayuu community.

Improving accessibility in India

Have you ever thought about how someone who can’t see would identify and locate toilets? Or how someone who cannot walk would be able to access the toilet? Toilets door openings, positioning of wash basins, support rails — all these things are important for people with difficulties and more, and are very often neglected. 
A group of people in sports clothes smiling into the camera and holding a flag
Proud supporters of Team ATOM who is focusing on accessibility issues for toilet facilities in rural areas of India.

Low-income households do not have the resources or funds to construct separate toilets to meet the needs of all. So, those unable to properly use the toilet, defecate in the open.

Team ATOM has taken on the challenge of designing architectural aspects of existing conventional twin pit toilets, for communities in rural areas of India. We want to ease access for the handicapped and elderly, as well as increase water accessibility, build pathways and guide rails for toilets. Furthermore, we want to educate locals about good hygiene practices.

In the next couple of months raising funds and awareness through a variety of activities. You can all help too, by donating here.


Your contacts

Rainer Weihofen

Head External and Internal Communications

Phone: +41 52 262 36 09


Sulzer Management Ltd

Neuwiesenstrasse 15

8401 Winterthur

Switzerland

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