Program helps women and children transport water more safely
Delaware, Ohio, and Atlanta (Oct. 22, 2013) – Greif, Inc. (NYSE: GEF, GEF.B), the global industrial packaging products and services company, recently announced the company is working with Habitat for Humanity International to distribute 100,000 PackH2O™ collapsible water backpacks in eight developing countries for use in disaster relief and aid.
PackH2O™ was designed by Greif to provide a cleaner, safer alternative to the often contaminated jerry cans and buckets used by women in developing countries to transport water from source to home. UNICEF estimates that women and children in developing nations spend 200 million hours a day collecting and transporting water.
Greif began working with Habitat for Humanity in 2011 to test the PackH2O™ water backpack in nearly 20 countries. Based on the success of field tests conducted in these countries, Greif and Habitat for Humanity began the process of deploying 100,000 packs in El Salvador, Haiti, the Philippines, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal and Sri Lanka in September.
Habitat for Humanity International is a non-profit, Christian housing organization that creates affordable housing in partnership with low-income families. Habitat has nearly 2,000 affiliates in more than 70 countries and has helped to build or repair more than 600,000 houses, serving three million people worldwide.
Each year, more than 255 million people are affected by natural disasters, according to a report from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. Without access to clean water, they face potentially life-threatening waterborne illnesses.
Greif President and CEO David Fischer identified the need for PackH2O™ on a trip to Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. Fischer observed women carrying water in containers on their heads, and children lugging home dirty jerry cans and buckets full of water weighing up to 48 pounds each.
“We knew that this was a problem we could help solve,” Fischer said. “Not only does the sanitized liner help protect the water in the backpack from contamination, the backpack’s design makes it easier to store and deploy in a disaster, and the ergonomic design makes it much easier for women and children to carry without injury.”