World Vision & JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Posted: 03/15/2013 in Advocacy

World Vision, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Planet Water champion access to safe drinking water in public schools..

Access to clean and safe water has been recognized as a “basic human right” by international laws, and therefore should be afforded to every person without discrimination. Sadly, however, there are still “about 1.1 billion people all over the world without access to potable water; while 50% of hospital beds in the world are occupied by people, mostly children, inflicted with waterborne diseases,” reports US-based non-profit organization Planet Water.

clip_image002Same is the plight of many Filipino families. According to the 2011 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) progress report, almost 16 million Filipinos still do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. This prompted World Vision, with partners: financial firm JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Planet Water, to provide water towers to public elementary and high schools in different parts of the country.

The project dubbed “Asia Water for Life” aims to build water filtration units called “Aqua Towers” in areas identified to lack access to clean drinking water. Since its inception in June 2012, the project has been able to provide 17 Aqua Towers in various cities: four in Malabon City, three in Manila and 10 in Cebu. Ten more towers will be inaugurated in Cebu and Mindanao by the end of March.

On Tuesday, March 12, the team installed its third unit in Baseco, Tondo at the Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Elementary School, to benefit 7,000 students and 164 school personnel. The construction of the unit, which was spearheaded by Mark Steele, president and CEO of Planet Water, involved World Vision staff and 13 employee-volunteers from JP Morgan Chase.

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“Physical barrier vs bacteria”

Aqua Towers operate on Ultra-Filtration (UF), a technology commonly used in many countries in purifying water.

“This technology uses hollow fiber membrane that is so fine that even very small particles like protozoa, bacteria and viruses cannot pass through,” explains Planet Water Founder and CEO Mark Steele.

“These contaminants are what make people sick. By creating a physical barrier against these, we ensure that Aqua Towers supply only clean and safe water each and every time,” he added. According to Steele, if properly maintained, Aqua Tower units should last for five to seven years.

clip_image006Meanwhile, World Vision Interim National Director Minnie Portales thanked its partners for making it possible for public schools across the country to have their own Aqua Towers.

“Access to safe water and sanitation is essential in achieving World Vision’s mission – and that is fullness of life for every child,” said Portales in her speech.

Vision, through its Child Health Now (CHN) initiative, aims to prevent child deaths under five years old. About 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year because of water-and- sanitation-related diseases.

Also very active in its disaster relief and response advocacy, World Vision also recognizes the benefits that the Aqua Towers could provide during emergencies since most public schools are used as evacuation centers.

Empowerment through education

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For Kristen Steele, director for education for Planet Water, it is not enough to only provide communities with clean water, as she gives equal importance to educating the public on proper sanitation practices.

“Our objective with our education program is to change the behavior and beliefs of people in the communities. So we feel that it’s very important to teach them at a very early age – preschool, kindergarten age, so that these could turn into life-saving measures. The children will eventually become the catalysts for change in their communities and in their homes,” said Steele.

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Part of the advocacy is to train teachers and students on proper hand washing, health and hygiene and the prevention of diseases.

“I feel blessed to help”

As thankful as the students were that they can now enjoy clean water, the volunteers from JP Morgan & Co. say they were as equally just as equally grateful and blessed to help.

“I feel blessed,” said James Ticson, risk operations supervisor, and first-time volunteer.

“It feels great knowing that we helped build something that will have a lasting value to the community, especially children. I especially enjoyed that part where we interacted with the kids and taught them the proper way to wash their hands. I’ll definitely volunteer again,” he added.

The “Asia Water for Life” initiative is part of JP Morgan Chase & Co.’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) called “Good Works”, in which employees are engaged in community development work through volunteerism.

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World Vision is an international Christian, child-focused, relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, their families, and communities worldwide to overcome poverty and injustice.

World Vision serves people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. We are respectful of other faiths and benefits. There are no conditions attached to our assistance other than human need. For more information you may log on to www.worldvision.org.ph or call hotline (02) 372-7777.

J.P. Morgan is a leader in financial services, offering solutions to clients in more than 100 countries with one of the most comprehensive global product platforms available. To know more about J.P. Morgan, please visit its website www.jpmorgan.com.

 

 

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