AquaTower Project - Vellore

Project Overview

The project was deployed in a Government Higher Secondary School near Vellore, a couple of hours from Chennai, India. The project was a collaboration between Planet Water Foundation and Cole Haan as well as Cole Haan's local supplier companies.

Before the AquaTower, there was no supply of treated water at the school and students consumed contaminated well water directly without any type of filtration or boiling.

To address this issue, Planet Water, together with its partners, implemented its multi-faceted program focused on creating behavioral and environmental changes through the following program components:

1. Providing Safe Water Supply: The AquaTower supports the daily drinking water requirements of up to 1,000 people. The system can operate without power or use of chemicals harmful to the environment and requires a simple maintenance process. The AquaTower filters a previously contaminated water source, removing organisms harmful to human health, and producing clean, safe drinking water for the school and community.

2. Promoting Water-Health and Hygiene: Planet Water's education program teaches children the important aspects of hand washing and protecting against germs through a child-friendly, activity-based program. The program aims to impact behaviors, beliefs, and knowledge around water-health and hygiene while empowering children to be agents of change in school and at home. The project team will also be returning to the site to implement a Community-based Education Program, to further build awareness, knowledge and behavior change around key water-health and hygiene topics.

3. Employee Volunteering and Corporate Social Responsibility: In addition to Planet Water's programs focused on impacting communities in need, an important part of each project is to work with their partners to further enhance their CSR initiatives through employee volunteering activities and project communications that engage internal and external stakeholders.

4. Project Sustainability: The deployment of a project marks a long-term commitment to each community. Planet Water’s in-country teams visit each project three times per year for five years to ensure that all AquaTower systems are fully operational and to reinforce any training necessary on maintenance procedures or the education program. To facilitate ongoing monitoring Planet Water utilizes an online workflow management system, to track all projects, implement a 20- point checklist at sustainability visits, and ensure appropriate follow-up, as needed.

Beneficiaries / Outcomes

Through this project, Cole Haan and Planet Water were able to achieve the following outcomes:
• Provide access to clean, safe drinking water and availability of handwashing stations for up to 1,000 people per day, including the 365 students from the participating school and the surrounding community;
• Increase awareness and knowledge of water-health and hygiene topics, as well as capacity and self-efficacy for implementing education program, for 23 teachers;
• Increase awareness and knowledge and influence behavior change associated with improved water-health and hygiene for 365 children;
• Increase engagement of the community around issues associated with access to clean water; and
• Engage 15 employee volunteers from Cole Haan on the project who helped across all stages of the deployment. This team team building activity brought awareness and education to local employees about the importance of health and wellness on the social and economic health of their communities.

Approximate Project Location