Solvatten is Swedish for “sun water” and even though there is an abundance of both, one out of eight live without access to safe, clean water at home. That’s one billion people! Endless hours are spent fetching water – and then firewood to heat and boil it to make the water drinkable, a method which leads to increased risk of lung-related diseases, greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. Thanks to the Solvatten Solar Safe Water System, all that can change.
Solvatten is a small but determined social enterprise, founded in Sweden in 2006 by the inventor of the Solar Safe Water System, Petra Wadström. The organization’s mission is to provide people in developing countries with safe and hot water in a portable, environmentally friendly way. An ingeniously designed container purifies and heats contaminated water using the sun’s radiation. Within hours, polluted water is clean enough to use for cooking, cleaning, washing, and even drinking. Having access to clean, hot water not only reduces the risk of numerous diseases. The time saved by no longer having to walk far distances to get water and firewood can be spent working or going to school which strengthens families’ economy in both the short-term and long-term perspective.
In partnership with governments, local organizations and corporations, Solvatten provides water purifying units to hundreds of thousands of people living off the grid. There are currently projects in a number of countries in Africa. To support the mission financially Solvatten has created two charitable foundations, one based in Sweden and one in the US. Erica Krishnamurthy is the chairperson of Solvatten Charitable Foundation USA, which is based in San Jose.
“Easy access to safe water is something many of us take for granted. Millions of people don’t have that luxury. At Solvatten Charitable Foundation USA, we raise funds to improve the lives of primarily women and children through various safe water projects.”
One urgent project right now is providing access to safe water to refugee families living in crowded settlements in Uganda. With the help of UNHCR and Plan International, thousands of Solvatten units have already been sent, but more are needed.
“We are trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases which is a challenging task if you don’t have clean, hot water. We know that improved hygiene at home is a necessary part of the solution and warm water for handwashing plays a major role. The need is huge and we welcome all the support we can get,” Erica Krishnamurthy said.
There are several ways to support Solvatten’s overall mission: donations, grants, partnerships, and volunteering. Many large Swedish companies have partnered with Solvatten to achieve their Corporate Social Responsibility goals through programs such as carbon off-setting, retail partnerships, and volunteer programs. Solvatten contributes to achieving all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. If you or your company are interested to help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to Erica Krishnamurthy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are currently looking to grow our board here in the US, as well as our volunteer staff. We are seeking partners, ambassadors and passionate individuals to help us get Solvatten units to those who need it most.”
Solvatten and its founder have received numerous prestigious awards and recognition for innovation and contributions to people in need. In 2013, Petra Wadström was invited to meet with President Barack Obama to explain how the water purifying units are used around the world to improve health, empower women, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Having learned the life-changing effects of their work, it is safe to say that Solvatten truly deserves its place in the sun.