Unilever and Rand Water unite for the Omo Water Wise Challenge
While the world celebrated World Water Day on 22 March, Unilever, through the Omo brand has joined forces with Water Wise, Rand Water’s environmental brand, to empower learners to be environmentally responsible.
South Africa is a water scarce country and a marked increase in the population, coupled with the demand for water by all sectors, has put immense pressure on existing supplies, thereby reinforcing the need to preserve the earth’s limited natural resource.
So serious is this issue that Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, visited learners in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality in the Free State recently to urge them to use water efficiently.
In response to tackling the water crisis, Mabudafhasi is on record as saying “the best way is to start early with children from various schools”.
“If we are able to show the young ones the importance of water, then our job is half done.” She said water was life and should be protected at all costs by communities.
Andrew Mysell, Omo Marketing Manager for Unilever said: “A proactive outlook is needed to address some of the country’s many water challenges. The livelihoods of people depend on water in one way or the other. We can either choose to sit back and do nothing about it or stand united to make a difference to the world we live in and share.
“It makes me proud to be associated with a company that is taking an active stance to inculcate good water practices both in the product manufacturing process and from a consumer education perspective.”
As the list of schools taking the pledge to cap their water waste and become water wise continues to grow, the 2014 Omo Water Wise Challenge is well on its way to reaching the aspired target of 300 schools in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and Western Cape and Port Elizabeth.
The race has begun for schools to collect as many OMO/SKIP liquid bottle caps as possible. JoJo Tanks SA, a partner of the schools campaign are offering 40 Junior Primary and 40 Senior Primary schools the chance to win a 2 500 litre JoJo rainwater collection tank plus installation up to the value of R6 000 each.
Storage of rainwater in a JoJo tank will serve as an effective backup source of water for emergencies and during power outages. A water tank will provide users with total control over their water supply.
The top 10 collecting schools in each category will have the opportunity to select an underprivileged school of their choice to win a JoJo tank, which will help the school to save on their water bill. Collection ends on 13 June 2014.
According to Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, water shortages are already affecting many parts of the world. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity and two-thirds in water-stressed conditions.
In collaboration with Water Wise, Omo will be running curriculum-based lessons focusing on water whereby learners can sign up for a free and exciting one-hour lesson at their school in which they will be educated about water, the effects of water on the environment and how to be water wise. On completion of the lessons, teachers and learners will take a pledge to save water and a certificate will be handed out to each child. Teachers will also receive a CD containing useful educational material that will supplement their classroom lessons.
Grant Pearson, Senior Water Quality Advisor - Education at Rand Water said: “Our partnership with Unilever will certainly amplify Rand Water's school education drive in our joint quest to achieve Water Wise citizens."
“While greater numbers of South African schools are embracing the journey towards becoming Water Wise, any school education programme needs to be relevant to the school curriculum and ongoing in order to effectively promote a behaviour change in the realisation of long term goals.”
By 2015 Unilever intends to reach 200 million consumers with products and tools that will help them to use less water while washing and showering. The company’s goal is to reach 400 million consumers by 2020. Although progress remains slow, Unilever is continually improving its understanding of this area.
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