Acqua for Life Challenge

“With Acqua for Life, I wanted to focus on a key asset: water, the origin of life itself, an indispensable element of daily life. I wanted to create a long-term program that provided a real benefit to those who are the most needy.”
– Giorgio Armani

Green Cross is once again proud to partner with Giorgio Armani this year – the fifth in a row on the Acqua for Life programme. The plan for 2015 is to continue expansion in the communities of Ghana, Bolivia, Mexico, the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Sri Lanka, while also developing, for the first time, a water project in Argentina.

The overall impacts of these projects have been exceedingly beneficial, providing long-term access to sustainable and safe water. Green Cross has been able to construct water pumps, boreholes and rainwater harvesting systems for about 80 communities in Asia, Africa and South America. In total, Acqua for Life has provided these communities with the means to access over 233 million litres of safe water each year. Immediate effects include better sanitation and the reduction of water-related diseases, but also increased school attendance – children who no longer have to fetch water in the morning are able to make it to school on time.

History

In 2010 the United Nations declared the right to clean water and sanitation a basic human right. But, with the criteria used for the Millennium Development Goals process under review, many experts now estimate that around two billion people rely on an unsafe and dangerous source of water every day. Roughly 4,000 children die each day because of water related diseases.

Beginning in 2011, Green Cross International (GCI) entered into a partnership with Giorgio Armani to promote access to safe drinking water in struggling countries.

The Acqua for Life programme was first implemented through GCI’s Smart Water for Green Schools and focused on creating a sustainable water supply in Ghana. Giorgio Armani pledged to donate 100 litres of water every time one of two specific fragrances, Acqua di Gio and Acqua di Goia, were purchased. There was even an Internet component to the campaign, which pledged an additional 50 litres of water every time the Acqua for Life Facebook page was liked. The promotion was a success and a total of 43.3 million litres of water was raised, surpassing the initial goal. Green Cross, through Safe Water for Green Schools, was able to construct rainwater harvesting systems, boreholes, and wells to provide sustainable safe drinking water for the communities in Ghana.

The project was renewed in 2012, 2013 and then again in 2014. The 2012 campaign added projects in China and Bolivia to still-expanding work in Ghana. In Bolivia there was a focus on creating wells and boreholes, while Green Cross worked in China to improve current infrastructure to improve and cleanse the collection of water. In 2013 the project continued, this time opening water projects in Mexico instead of China. Activities in Bolivia and Ghana grew further. In Ghana there was a shift from rural projects to improving urban conditions, while in Bolivia water projects were extended to more communities. In Mexico, the focus was on improving the quality of sanitation and water available to schoolchildren. The equipment provided to these communities will last 15 years, which means access to safe drinking water for many years to come.

Acqua for Life expanded across three continents in 2014, adding Ivory Coast, Senegal and Sri Lanka to continuing projects in Ghana, Bolivia, China and Mexico. In the Ivory Coast, Acqua for Life helped lay the groundwork for better international cooperation by supporting projects around the Bia River – a natural frontier with Ghana. Working on both sides of this waterway will help support Green Cross’ efforts to improve the protection of shared water resources between the two countries.

Through four years of activity, the programme has reached a total of 78 communities and touched the lives of over 66,000 people.