Corporate Water Education
Why Should Corporate Engage in Water Education?
Water education is important for educating and inspiring millions of young people around the world to come together to help conserve water. Now, more than ever, it is not just for governments and NGOs to deliver, but it is also in the hands of corporations. More and more corporations engage in education programs and collaborate with NGOs to empower millions of people worldwide to conserve water and make the world a healthier place.
From companies providing water and related services, such as Danone Waters China and Ecolab, to retail companies, such as Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.), corporations around the world are joining the conversation and run comprehensive programs that combine water education activities, community service and peer teaching.
Through water education programs, corporations stimulate and facilitate positive changes in people’s daily life. They empower local communities to create sustainable livelihood opportunities, maintain healthy ecosystem services and promote a supportive policy environment for sustainable watershed management.
Water education programs types
There are many ways for corporations to get involved and create their own educational activities for children, both in the classroom and in the field, to help educate other about water issues and their solutions.
Many companies join local communities and organize volunteering events and community service programs, such as picking up litter along banks of water resources in the area. This way, the participants learn about their water resources and the issue of water pollution through actively helping to solve the problem.
Other companies implement Project WET programs of action-oriented education to help children understand and value water. These programs include playing interactive games to understand concepts and terminology of water issues and stewardship, learning the history of the water resources around them (their home watershed, storm drains’ connections to creeks, the effects of litter and properties of water), and promoting peer-to-peer education by training students to lead water education activities. These activities encourage not only water awareness but also community restoration.
For example, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) train the LS&Co. Service Corps to use Project WET’s water education program to interact with each other and with local children. They introduce students to the concept of a water footprint and provide them with a deeper understanding of how their daily actions affect the planet’s resources. They also teach kids about water hygiene, where usable water on Earth is located, and how important water is to people, plants and animals.
Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services also collaborates with Project WET Foundation on children education around the country. Their cooperation is expected to reach more than two million people with water conservation and hygiene education by 2017 in 4 markets, which are St. Paul, Minn.; Shanghai, China; Mexico City, Mexico; and Monheim, Germany. Specially in Greater China region, their employees volunteered at an Ecolab Primary School in Henan, taught students about healthy personal hygiene” and surface sanitation solutions, to ensure that the key messages of using water to prevent the spread of germs that can cause illness were delivered to each student. Older students also participated in clean and conserve activities about watersheds, water conservation and water quality.
The program “help the children understand the importance of water resources protection and personal health and have far-reaching significance to children’s physical and mental development,” said Tim Wang, Ecolab Executive Vice President and President Greater China.
Meanwhile, other corporation work with students to restore critical and degraded watersheds. Danone Waters China and Fonds Danone Pour L’Ecosysteme developed the watersheds protection project with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 2016, they help the first Summer Camp at source of Dongjiang, with three concepts in mind: ecosystem and environment, culture and arts, exercise and health. 150 undergraduates from Guangdong, Jiangxi and other provinces joined the camp, where they stayed with local villagers, attended field work, learned ecological environmental knowledge and monitor water quality.
In addition to the restoration efforts, the watersheds protection project empower the local communities to promote a supportive environmental policy for sustainable watershed management, so as to provide multiple benefits to 20 million local and downstream residents.
What’s the point?
Through active involvement, young people become inspired and empowered with the knowledge and skills that will enable society to fast-track the protection of water resources and development of sustainable solutions to water issues. Given the opportunity to learn first-hand through practical experience, children could learn how to become water ambassadors at home, at school and within their greater communities.
Such education programs are already being executed by corporations around the world. As learned from the programs of Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.), Ecolab, and Danone Waters China and Fonds Danone Pour L’Ecosysteme, holding water education programs could be easily planned by collaborating with NGOs and program content provider as Project WET, IUCN, and World Wildlife Fund, and it has many positive outcomes for the local communities and the corporations’ employees and image.
Corporations can, and should, be part of the mission to safeguard the future of our planet by educating the next generation to be environmentally conscious and motivated to live a sustainable lifestyle.
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“Community Engagement & Education.” World Wildlife Fund. Web.
“Digging holes, visiting factories and creating a thunderstorm: Connecting with the Levi’s Service Corps in Cambodia.” Project WET. Web.
“Ecolab Volunteers in China Unite To Teach Kids About Water Conservation and Hygiene.” Project WET. Web.
“Get Involved.” International Union for Conservation of Nature. Web.
“Protecting Watersheds for Sustainable Drinking Water.” International Union for Conservation of Nature. Web.
“Teach and Learn.” Project WET. Web.