The Smart Water for Green Schools (SWGS) project, which Green Cross started in 2010 to provide access to water and sanitation for communities in need around the world, contributes to international efforts to secure safe drinking water and sanitation for every human being. SWGS addresses children’s needs first, as they are more vulnerable to waterborne diseases, but does target entire communities.
SWGS methods include building infrastructure and empowering communities to maintain their own water supplies, reducing the risk of deadly waterborne diseases, promoting the sustainable use of water resources, and increasing school attendance, girls’ education and gender equality.
As of August 2015, Smart Water for Green Schools had brought safe drinking water to 120,000 people in some 130 communities in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Senegal, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, China and Ukraine.
GCI SWGS Brochure
In February 2015, Giorgio Armani and Green Cross announced their fifth successive year of partnership in support of communities living in water poverty.
Green Cross and Giorgio Armani continued to raise awareness about water poverty in developed and water-rich countries throughout 2015, while carrying out concrete on-the-ground projects to supply deprived communities with secure, safe and sustainable water access. New projects were deployed in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, China, Bolivia, Mexico and – for the first time – Argentina.
In 2014, Acqua for Life also supported an important project in a remote village of Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. About 1,000 people benefitted from this key infrastructure development. As in most South Asian countries, Sri Lanka faces many development challenges and has also gone through a decades-long civil war.
These will join some 80 communities around the world already benefiting from clean water thanks to existing Acqua for Life projects. More information here.
Making New Links Between Programmes
The Water for Life and Peace programme has been aiming to deploy SWGS projects in five major transboundary basins – the Mekong, the Volta, the Plata, the Jordan and Lake Victoria. This is to allow SWGS to become a better platform for promoting access to water and sanitation alongside the peaceful sharing and sustainable use of water resources.
Green Cross is also building connections between water, livelihoods and clean energy, notably in Senegal. The Freddas project, carried out with support from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ENEA as a technical and scientific partner, saw the installation of new photovoltaic systems and high-efficiency pumps to supply drip-irrigation systems on two cultivation areas (20 hectares in Bokhol and 40 hectares in Gouriki Samba Djom villages) between 2012 and 2015.
The project objective was to ensure the livelihoods and autonomy of the local population through sustainable farming. Indeed, crops have more than tripled, water consumption decreased by 70 per cent and cost of electric power halved thanks to the new systems.
Green Cross Italy introduced applications of renewable energy (particularly solar PV) and provided specialized technical training for farmers living in the area. A group of experts provided technical support to the project, designing and installing the two photovoltaic plants of 100 kWp and 50 kWp. These feed drip irrigation systems, using the water of the Senegal River and some local wells.
The electric power generated by the PV modules is steady over the year, which means that when it is not needed for water pumping it can be used to refrigerate stored food.
The project has created more than 900 permanent jobs (544 have been assigned to women in the two villages), in order to facilitate the settlement of populations in an area that, among other things, is crossed by significant flows of migrants looking for a better future.
The Freddas project in Senegal was designed to give women, in particular, more opportunities. They form a majority on the management committee and have positions of responsibility within the village. They are also involved in the marketing of agricultural products, travelling regularly to regional markets.