Oftentimes the relationship between peace and public health can be a murky route to navigate. Both can be perceived to be influenced by alternative forces, where in reality, public health could often be looked at as one part of how peace is defined. In fact, Ashley Bersani put it best, “Public Health and Peace they go together like peas and carrots”. In her article highlighting the relationship between peace and public health, she argued that in order to have a peaceful society, members in this society must have their basic needs met. With that, and and understanding of basic human needs, we know the most quintessential basic need to survive is, water.
But what specifically does water have to do with peace? How do we solve this problem?
All around the world, water is distributed and consumed in various ways. For many of us, we wake up in the morning take a shower, brush our teeth, and drink a glass of water. However, we know that everywhere that is not the case. Each and everyday the lack of clean water creates many problems for those on the other end. When clean water is scarce, it creates tension and conflict simply because many people are vying for a limited supply. As water consumption continues to increase this problem will only continue to spread internationally. In fact the struggles experienced by these circumstances have developed what many have deemed, “The Global Water Crisis”. In fact, the World Economic Forum determined that this Crisis is the most severe Societal Global risk today.
Fortunately, there are many organizations working towards creating easier access to clean water for areas around the world. However, roughly 50% of clean water interventions fail. Why does this occur though? Many of the interventions that organizations take on are ill fit for the communities they are working with. To solve any issue it is important to gauge the political, economic, and cultural climates of the areas an organization may work with to ensure sustainable solutions to clean water access. In fact, one such company working towards this is a Columbus based company, the Pure Water Access Project (PWAP).
PWAP was created in response to the circumstances of “The Global Water Crisis” and aims to resolve common issues it incurs around the globe. The aim of this company is to promote the sustainability of pure water access initiatives, and to help educate about the issues associated with promoting this. PWAP works toward these goals through a combination of physical support and consultation with organizations and people that have already established networks within the regions we aim to, or are already working in. Using key data analysis and research skills PWAP is able to have a broad reach with the help of the interconnected nature of the world it interacts in.
PWAP’s founding by Ohio State students paved the way for its Fellowship program that employs undergraduate students to coordinate the company’s projects and initiatives. PWAP has worked in major projects in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Ghana, with plans to begin work in Sri Lanka and Peru as well. In El Salvador and Nicaragua, PWAP assessed the effectiveness of different water filters, and worked to help construct major filters in the communities they visited, while maintaining contact with locals to ensure their sustainability. Additionally, PWAP evaluated the community’s behaviors and attitudes towards common WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) practices to determine the impact that was having on issues with water access in the communities it worked in. In Ghana, PWAP worked in a similar capacity, through consulting “Global Brigades” in researching and determining the most practical filters for it to implement in the communities it worked in.
PWAP’s future involves maintaining the strategies it has implemented in its current projects, and applying the same practices to its work in Peru and Sri Lanka. PWAP hopes to also expand its work locally and have a greater presence within communities in the midwest and through the U.S.. Through implementing successful strategies from the past, while cultivating the innovation that new Fellows and Partners will bring, PWAP’s future is bright in helping address the Global Water Crisis one step at a time.
Trisha Barnett is a third-year business student, specializing in Operations Management at The Ohio State University’s Max. M. Fisher College of Business. She has passion for social entrepreneurship and loves the idea of using business practices to make an impact. Aside from her work in PWAP she is involved in Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship, Delta Sigma Pi, and Politics, Society, and Law Scholars. Upon graduation, she plans on pursuing a dual MPP/MBA degree.