Water has been on my mind a lot this week. Currently, I’m in Zambia working with farmers and the arid environment has made agriculture extremely challenging. However, this lack of water isn’t only impacting the ability to produce farm goods. They barely even have any water to drink.
The rainy season that used to start in October is being predicted to start in December this year. Areas where there use to be streams are nothing but hard red clay soil. The people here have to buy bottled water and that’s often price prohibitive. Therefore they resort to digging boreholes to get the limited ground water.
This water sits uncovered and stagnant, a chest pool for mosquitoes and pests. Yet this is what they drink. They share this same water with animals and it’s used for agriculture. Their access to water is extremely precarious to say the least.
FreeWater, an Austin-based startup, is set to revolutionize the concept of free products by introducing free vending machines. The company aims to provide access to clean water, among other products, to people around the world for free.
The lack of access to clean water is a serious issue in many parts of the world, including Zambia, where farmers struggle to produce crops due to the arid environment. FreeWater’s innovative approach to making water accessible is by printing advertisements on aluminum bottles and paper cartons of natural spring water, allowing them to give it away at no cost to the consumer.
In addition to providing free water, FreeWater donates 10 cents per beverage to build water wells for people in need. This unique business model, which the company calls the “giving economy,” has quickly become an international phenomenon, reaching 100,000,000 organic impressions within a year.
To expand their reach, FreeWater is now planning to introduce free vending machines. These machines will limit users to 1-3 free drinks/snacks per day, and each location will donate between $10,000 to $36,000 to charity annually.
The company’s crowdfunding campaign on FundRazr is offering rewards for donors, ranging from having their name on FreeWater’s website for life to an all-inclusive weekend with the FreeWater team in Austin, Texas.
Water is essential for life, and FreeWater’s mission to provide access to clean water for free is commendable. Let’s support this innovative venture and help make water free for all.