To better life - Social engagement of ANDRITZ HYDRO

It is often forgotten how lucky people in industrialized countries are to be able to just open a tap to have access to clean drinking water at all times and without restrictions.

Unfortunately, over 2.5 billion people around the world don’t have this. High infant mortality rate and major diseases could be drasti­cally reduced with access to safe and clean water. Since 2013 ANDRITZ HYDRO has supported a number of special social projects in Africa.

The first project in this regard was “Water is Life” in Cameroon. ANDRITZ HYDRO’s contribution to Cameroon’s water and sanitary infrastructure complements and enhances its strong presence in rehabilitation projects in the hydropower sector of the country, such as HPP Song Loulou and HPP Edéa. “Water is Life” was initi­ated in 1989 by a Swiss Benedictine priest who had been living in Cameroon for several years and founded the St.Martin Foundation. Since its beginning, this charity organization has installed over 1,400 wells all around the southern part of Cameroon, providing drinking water to more than 500,000 people.

In 2013, ANDRITZ HYDRO financed the installation of a new well in the village of Lipombe. Except for the pump, which came from Europe, the remaining components were built and assembled locally in the small town of Otélé, just about 60 km from the capital Yaoundé.

The village of NtuiEssong, located about 40 km from Yaoundé, celebrated the inauguration of its first drinking well in late 2014. The new well, also sponsored by ANDRITZ HYDRO, provides sufficient fresh, clean and healthy drinking water for more than 600 people, dramatically increasing the living standards of the whole village. The old well had to be replaced due to the bad quality of the water, which caused infectious diseases. Furthermore, the water was not available in sufficient quantity, especially for agriculture in the village – the economic backbone of NtuiEssong. Previously, the villagers had to cover a distance of 2 km to fetch water, now it is in the center of the village.

In 2014, ANDRITZ HYDRO also supported a charity named “Water for Water” a non-governmental organization founded in 2012 and based in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. It actively finances projects related to the development and installation of “water kiosks” in Lusaka’s largest slum, Kanyama. These small kiosks are connected to the state-run piped water distribution system, allowing access to safe and clean drinking water for up to 1,200 local residents per unit, just for a very small financial contribution. “Water for Water” also provides a plumbing educational programme which trains the population and imparts basic skills for installing and repairing water pipes. It also teaches the residents the importance of using clean water for hygienic and health aspects.

ANDRITZ HYDRO decided in 2015 to support the Cameroonian Interprogress Foundation, providing local tribes in the arid northern part of the country with clean water and irrigation systems. The region only receives rain for two months a year. Depending on their needs, three Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) received various materials such as pumps, irrigation systems, water pipes, wheel barrels, and shovels. The natives also received the appropriate training to maintain and repair this equipment. Through this support, ANDRITZ HYDRO hopes to strengthen the development of autonomy and to support the increase of economic growth in this region, especially regarding the production of vegetables for personal consumption or cattle breeding.

Of course, these single actions are like small drops of water in an ocean. However, ANDRITZ HYDRO strongly believes that raising the attention of employees, customers, and partners to the global need for clean water is important and may lead to further contributions to other charity projects throughout the continent.

 Author: Roland Cuénod

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