Lifesaver signs MoU with PAIS21
UK-based Lifesaver systems Ltd. - manufacturer of nano-filtration products that convert dirty water into clean, sterile drinking water - today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with national Colombian charity, FUNDACION PAIS XXI (PAIS21; Programas Ambientales y de Inversion Social).
PAIS21 is leading on a humanitarian clean water programme, (Aquahumanitas; Programa de Ayuda Humanitaria para America Latina), to make clean water available to over two million people in the Caribbean and Pacific Coastal regions of Colombia.
The formal signing of the 'Memorandum of Understanding' took place at the Residence of the British Ambassador to Colombia in Bogota last night.
Michael Pritchard MBE, Founder – Inventor, Lifesaver systems Limited signed on behalf of the company and Alvaro Martínez De La Vega G., CEO, PAIS21, signed on behalf of the charity.
The formal signing ceremony was witnessed by the Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg MP, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who is in Colombia leading a business delegation from the UK. Lifesaver is one of the British companies forming part of the delegation. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “I’m immensely proud to have the British company Lifesaver as part of my trade and investment delegation to Latin America, and to be here to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a $47 million (£30m) project in Colombia.
“As their second biggest contract it’s an important contribution to this small and entrepreneurial UK business; it will help boost their sales which are on track to increase by 40% this year, and expand to more than 100 countries.
“But what LIFESAVER is doing here in Colombia is more than securing a contract of business. The project beginning in March 2014 will help end water poverty by helping to bring clean, sterile drinking water to over 2 million people in rural and low income families across Colombia.
“It demonstrates how UK companies who operate on a global market can provide pioneering solutions to help support the socio-economic development of Colombia, and transform humanitarian work in countries around the world,” Nick Clegg added.
Senior members of the Colombian Government, including Almirante Hernando Wills Velez, Navy National Commander; Captain Cesar Augusto Saavedra Dueñas, Navy Director Integral Action; Ana Maria Rojas Villamil, director of the Social Innovation Center – ANSPE; Rey Ariel Borbón, National Director INCODER; Ignacio Molina Palacios, Sub-Director of Promotion, Monitoring and Ethnics Affairs, were also in attendance.
Lifesaver products are already saving lives all over the world and in Colombia, a pilot project in the Putumayo region saw the distribution of 126 Lifesaver jerrycans, supported by a product training programme, to two villages, Puerto Asis and Valle del Guamuez.
Commenting on this pilot project, entitled, “SOLUCIÓN DE AYUDA HUMANITARIA: APROPIACIÓN TECNOLÓGICA PARA PURIFICACIÓN DE AGUA DE LOS ALJIBES Y CULTURA DE AGUA SEGURA EN LOS MUNICIPIOS DE PUERTO ASÍS Y VALLE DEL GUAMUÉZ”, Alvaro Martínez De La Vega G., said, “The pilot scheme in the Putumayo region ran for eight months from Febrary 2013 and was a great success, largely because it was the first time that people living in these villages had access to unlimited, free supplies of clean, sterile water for drinking and sanitation purposes.
“In addition, as well as the guaranteed supply of clean water, Lifesaver technology has delivered a number of other significant and measurable benefits, including mother & baby health and improvements in the micro-economies of the villages,” he added.
PAIS21 won this pilot project following a national, government-sponsored initiative, entitled 'IDEAS FOR CHANGE', whereby various potential projects around water and poverty were reviewed by three organisations; COLCIENCIAS (the National Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation), ANSPE (the National Presidential Agency to Reduce the Extreme Poverty), and IDB, the Inter-American Development Bank.
The PAIS21 AQUAHUMANITAS project was one of only three selected – from a field of nearly 40 entrants – and was chosen because Lifesaver’s innovative water purification technology, requiring no power, chemicals or UV light, was assessed as being particularly well-suited for people living in poverty in remote, rural areas.
“The results of this pilot project demonstrated how important it has been to combine Lifesaver’s excellent nano-filtration technology with social work (AQUAHUMANITAS Program of PAIS21 Foundation), through workshops and training, to ensure that the most vulnerable communities can become more socially effective and have independent, long-term water security. We also appreciate the concerted efforts made to involve schools in the project, to the benefit of the whole community, as children require special attention and care to access to safe water, both at home and at school,” said Ana Maria Rojas Villamil, director of Social Innovation Center - ANSPE.
“That is why two more pilot projects are planned for February and March 2014, funded by INCODER, the Colombian Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture,” confirmed Alvaro Martínez De La Vega G.
“And it is our the intention to supply Lifesaver’s safe, sterile clean water technology to rural and low income families across the five regions of Colombia; Caribbean Coast; Pacific Coast; Central Zone; Eastern Zone and the Amazon Zone,” he added.
Around 90,000 Lifesaver jerrycans will be deployed in Colombia during the next stage of the AQUAHUMANITAS project.
Commenting on this major initiative, Michael Pritchard said, “I am delighted to be here in Colombia to sign this “Memorandum of Understanding” with FUNDACION PAIS XXI and the governmental agencies that are supporting it, as it marks the beginning of a major national programme to eliminate water poverty across every region.
“Knowing that we will be able to secure the long-term health of over two million people is a fantastic achievement and testament to the effectiveness and track record of Lifesaver’s nano-filtration technology,” he confirmed.