Tovuz district, Garalar village, along the international border. An ICRC employee and a local authority member are checking water tap constructed few months earlier.
On December 17, 2019, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Grundfos, one of the world's top pump – and water solutions providers, officially signed an agreement that will gather their technological and humanitarian expertise around a clear and shared target: Bringing safe water to the world's most vulnerable.
"Working in difficult and dangerous hot spots takes a lot of trust," says Evaristo Oliveira Head of the Water and Habitat Engineering team of the ICRC. "We need to trust the people and the technology we depend on to relieve the many problems we face in the places we work," he says, "and Grundfos has been a solid partner in helping us solve those.""We are facing a global water crisis that none of us can tackle on our own", says Pia Yasuko Rask, Director of Safe Water, Grundfos - winner of 2 United Nations innovation awards for their water solution technology, "and the ICRC has the experience, infrastructure and expertise to go places we cannot. That demands the greatest respect and admiration." Translating intention into action and going beyond mere corporate financial donations is always difficult, and partnerships between humanitarian and private sector organizations inevitably come with challenges. However, from the onset, both parties agree that to achieve the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, cross-collaboration will be key, and the private sector must be fully on board.
"We have come a long way since a company's basic role was to provide jobs and pay taxes," says Pia Yasuko Rask. Specifically, and aside from providing technical solutions, the agreement between the ICRC and Grundfos spans everything from programme delivery to R&D, advisory support and a very hands-on skills exchange that has ICRC staff at Grundfos Headquarters twice a year for training in electrical and mechanical operation and maintenance of equipment. "We've already managed to tie together technological expertise and humanitarian value. It's not perfect but having built a high level of trust between us, we have an opportunity to expand our shared vision, says Evaristo Oliveira, ICRC. "This is the way forward", says Pia Yasuko Rask, "I think the key message here is that if the private and the humanitarian sector can partner together for change – we might witness more than incremental change."
For more information please contact:
Christoph Hanger - ICRC - Changer@icrc.org