The Adventure Project Brings Clean Water to Indian Villages, With Help From Female Water Mechanics

Broken freshwater wells are rampant in Africa and India; it's problem that causes 4,000 children to die each day due to a lack of clean drinking water. That's why the Adventure Project, a nonprofit that brings attention to a different humanitarian issue each quarter, is currently focusing its attentions on WaterAid, an international NGO that provides clean water to developing countries.

The Adventure Project launched in 2010 with the goal of increasing investment in positive social enterprises around the world. The nonprofit's first campaign, the Coal Project, raised enough cash for 1,730 families in Haiti to receive charcoal-efficient stoves. The Coal Project sold stocking stuffers—$20 boxes of coal—to raise the cash.

As part of this quarter's Keep It Clean campaign, the Adventure Project hopes to raise $22,000 through donations and sales of Keep It Clean soap—enough money to help WaterAid expand its handpump mechanic business in Northern India.

The two year-old business, which trains both male and females, teaches budding mechanics how to fix well handpumps. When a handpump breaks down, villagers call the mechanic shop and someone bikes over to fix it. "With some of the [female] mechanics, their husbands thought it was inappropriate," says Adventure Project founder Becky Straw. "One woman made so much money that she could help her husband open a store and help her girls go to school. Now her husband isn't saying anything anymore about it."

As a side business, some of the female mechanics have started selling sanitary pads to villagers when they bike over to fix wells. This is revolutionary for women in the area, most of whom don't have access to sanitary pads and have to stay home while menstruating.

Next quarter, the Adventure Project plans to turn its attention to agriculture. And after that, the nonprofit hopes to support textile workers in Malawi. "Taking social enterprise to a different population is really important for us," says Straw.

Photo Credit: Esther Havens

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  • Carol Sanford

    Ariel another great piece.
    I am a mentor for the University of WA Global Social Entrepreneurial Competition. I mentored an amazing group from Bangladesh this year. A Woman from U Michigan won the people's choice awards in the competition with a really interesting social/business project that will create many women entrepreneurs in India and solve many water problems. It is called Water Wello. It is a transport system that saved necks and backs of women and allows them to sell water door to door in the villages. Better conserving as well. I will get you info on this story if you want more. And the whole world of Social Entrepreneur competition is interesting. I see lots of downside in how they are run, but lots of opportunity as well