Interflow’s long-term commitment to WaterAid Australia is providing clean water and sanitation to those who need it most.
WaterAid Australia is part of a global organisation that enables the world’s poorest people to gain access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, allowing them to unlock their potential.
“WaterAid’s work is diverse, over 750 million people across the globe do not have access to daily, safe, reliable drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene,” WaterAid Australia corporate partnerships manager Mark Trembath said.
“We do this by providing storage for spring water, by placing walls and a door around open pits to provide privacy and dignity and education around hygiene.”
Founded in 2004, WaterAid Australia will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. Today, WaterAid Australia raises over $15 million annually and is largely underpinned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian water sector.
In the organisation’s earliest days, Interflow found common ground with the WaterAid cause as it heavily aligned to the company’s own purpose of ‘improving the lives of the people we work with, the communities we serve, and the environments we work in, for generations to come’.
Interflow’s involvement with WaterAid Australia began in 2004 when Geoff Weaver, Interflow’s Managing Director at the time, was approached by a customer who had recently become a part of WaterAid Australia’s starting initiative.
“He gave me a call saying he wanted to start with a gala ball and he was looking for companies related to the water industry that might be willing to support WaterAid through this initiative,” said Geoff, now Interflow’s chair.
“After giving the idea some thought, it was clear to me that the Weaver family, our people and the suppliers of Interflow have all had the privilege of benefitting from the provision of clean water and sanitation in Australia throughout our company’s history.
“I saw it as a chance for Interflow to give back to communities that don’t have the same opportunities as we did in Australia.”
Interflow would later ring the customer back and give him his commitment to support WaterAid.
“Since sponsoring their first gala ball back in 2004, we’ve been proud to play our part in supporting WaterAid Australia through many events, which strongly aligns with part of our company’s purpose of improving the lives communities we serve and environments we work in,” Geoff said.
“With WaterAid Australia, it just happens to be that the communities we are serving are overseas rather than here in Australia and New Zealand.”
Visiting Timor Leste with WaterAid in 2023
Fast forward to 2023, and WaterAid gave Interflow the opportunity to visit Timor-Leste on its first visit back since the pandemic.
Interflow managing director Daniel Weaver, and his wife Sophie, accepted the offer and made the trip to Timor-Leste in August.
“My parents (Geoff and Kerry Weaver) got to visit Timor-Leste in 2013 with WaterAid,” Daniel said.
“So did our Board Member, David Lilley and his wife Shiralee a year later. So, to take my wife in 2023 was a very special experience for me and my family.
“Visiting the communities in person is a humbling experience and I’m very grateful to have had the chance. There’s a difference between seeing it in person compared to hearing about it or reading it in a magazine or brochure.”
The benefits WaterAid provides
“Straight away it was clear to see WaterAid were a highly engaged and motivated team,” said Daniel. “It’s not just a job for them, there’s a passion and a purpose to what they do.”
What stood out most for Daniel was WaterAid’s model for empowering local people. Communities were heavily involved with the design and build of their new water supplies and took great pride in upgrading their village.
“It was Timor people doing it for Timor people,” he reflected.
“You can see from a community perspective that they want this. The work is being done with them in a true partnership with the WaterAid team. You could see the donations stretching far and making a real impact.”
“Visiting villages that have received support from WaterAid, you could clearly see a difference,” he said.
“Instead of walking for hours each day, sometimes long distances and through challenging terrain, with water access right outside their homes, people could spend that time in other ways that benefited their futures, their families and their communities.
“This was most notable for the women and children of these communities. The opportunity for education is the example most front of mind for me,” he said.
This article featured in the October edition of Trenchless Australasia.
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