Unilever launches global clean drinking water project Waterworks using Facebook Timeline

26 Jun 2012

Consumer goods giant Unilever, via its Unilever Foundation, is set to partner with the health organisation Population Services International (PSI) to pioneer a global not-for-profit clean drinking water programme called Waterworks, which will use a special Facebook Timeline application to reach out to people.

The aim of Waterworks will be to reach out to communities across the globe that are in need of safe and clean drinking water.

In 2010, when the United Nations declared that safe and clean drinking water is a human right, Unilever made a commitment, via its sustainable living segment, to provide safe drinking water to 500m people by 2020.

However, the company’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed said Unilever cannot achieve this on its own, which is why it decided to form a partnership with PSI and Facebook.

“On Facebook, nearly a billion people take small actions every day, they connect to the individuals and organisations that matter most to them and they discover new things through their friends. We want to leverage the power of the social graph and the ripple effects that each person’s actions can create, to inspire and enrol many more to make a difference,” he said in a statement.

Weed said people can sign up to Waterworks and connect the application to their Facebook Timeline.

“People will be invited to sign up to Waterworks and connect the application to their Facebook Timeline. They will partner with a PSI-trained Waterworker and choose a small daily donation – as little as €0.10,” he said.

According to Unilever, such donations will then directly support the water-poor communities where Waterworkers will be educating people about clean drinking water. They will also be distributing water purifiers and sachets to families in need.

Karl Hofmann, president and CEO of PSI, said Waterworkers will be women from the communities in which they will work.

He said they would be mothers, sisters and aunts who will be able to have conversations with their families and friends about health issues that affect the community.

“They will gain not only a steady income but also receive training on communication techniques and local health issues, as well as access to clean water for their own families,” said Hofmann.

PSI said it will initially train 75 Waterworkers who will educate people in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, about the need for clean water.

Each Waterworker will also be given a mobile phone, preloaded with an app to allow them take photos and record stories and share them via Facebook.

Water image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic