Deborah Meaden crowns water experts as joint-winners of WaterAid's Water Innovators Programme 2016

Posted: Wednesday 7th December 2016

Dragons Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden has named staff from Anglian Water in the UK and Sydney Water in Australia as joint-winners of WaterAid's Water Innovators Programme 2016. The awards ceremony was held in central London on Thursday 27 October.

The elated joint-winners were selected from over 30 teams who took part in the challenge to find water, sanitation and hygiene solutions for real-life projects in Cambodia.

The teams have spent the last eight months battling it out to devise solutions for their chosen field of WaterAid's work; either water, sanitation, or hygiene. During the process, they presented a Dragons Den-style pitch to key experts at WaterAid, developed project management plans, and refined their team-working and business acumen skills too. The employee development programme is backed by Deborah Meaden.

At the awards, Deborah Meaden, said:

Water Innovators provides an opportunity for teams from different businesses to not only stretch their imaginations and skills, but to help solve some very real problems for millions of people living in Cambodia without clean water and sanitation.

The winners cleverly combined their skills and talents to come up with their design and concept and crucially, the solutions found are not only simple, but affordable and sustainable.

By taking part in the Water Innovators Programme, these teams and businesses have had a unique experience to test and learn the qualities needed for business. They've also supported WaterAid's work delivering safe water and toilets to the worlds- poorest people in Cambodia. It's life-changing. Now that's a win-win deal for everyone.

The Aspara team from Anglian Water took on the water part of the challenge, and devised a way to encourage visitors to a Cambodian hospital to trust the new, safe supply of drinking water. It was centred around encouraging behaviour change.

Nick Blamire-Brown, a member of the winning Aspara team, said:

"We are overjoyed to be announced as winners of the Water Innovators challenge. This incredible opportunity has allowed us to develop as professionals and channel our creativity. It's inspiring to know that the hard work from all the teams is already being used to help those who need water solutions urgently. We would really encourage other businesses and teams to join in with this brilliant challenge next year."

The joint winners, from Sydney Water, picked up the gauntlet of the hygiene challenge. They created innovative ideas to encourage people to use the LaBobo - a fun and portable hand-washing device.

Team LaBobo member, Raymond Llave of Sydney Watersaid:

"We are incredibly proud that Sydney Water Team LaBobo has been chosen as joint-winners. This rewarding and meaningful initiative was an excellent platform for us to enhance our professional development, gain new wisdom, and channel our innovative thinking and social commitments.

This year's Water Innovators Challenge is particularly significant to Sydney Water, as Cambodia is one of their regional aid recipients.

Isabelle Herszenhorn, Innovation and Strategic Engagement Lead at WaterAid said:

"We're so impressed by this year's teams! They demonstrate how, by taking collective action, we can move one step closer to universal access to water and toilets. Together the 2016 teams have also raised over "139,000 for our work in Cambodia - this is phenomenal. I want to encourage any interested companies to step forward for Water Innovators 2017. I'm so excited to announce that the focus country will be Nicaragua!"

Taber Hand, Director of Wetlands Work!, one of WaterAid's sanitation partners in Cambodia, commented:

"Through this innovative Programme, partners such as ours, gain access to global expertise that is otherwise completely beyond our reach. This is incredibly useful to us at Wetlands Work!, as we are isolated in a small corner of the developing world."

In Cambodia, four million people lack access to clean water, while more than nine million have nowhere safe to go to the toilet - a fatal combination which means that people are dying every day from preventable waterborne diseases. WaterAid's work there is vital to support the Government to ensure universal access by 2025.




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