The burden of water transport can be huge for women and children in developing countries. The average person needs 8 to 15 liters of water per day; a family of six needs up to 90 liters daily. And in Africa, for example, women walk an average of 3.5 miles each day to get water.
packH2O is manufactured by Greif Flexible Products and Services, which is a joint venture of Greif and National Scientific Company Limited (NSC), an Al-Dabbagh Group company. Al-Dabbagh Group is a leading, Saudi based multi-sector group that was founded in 1962.
To provide an answer to the need for a clean, easy-to-carry means of transporting and storing household water, Greif leveraged its expertise in flexible industrial packaging and designed the first for-purpose water transport product, packH2O™. Economically viable, collapsible and sanitary, the packH2O™ is the ergonomically correct way to manually transport and store household water in the developing world, offering relief to women and children around the world.
By the end of 2015, this life-altering backpack could be found in 35 countries on five continents. By working through non-governmental organizations such as Habitat for Humanity International, Operation Blessing, Partners In Health and Partners for Care, Greif has ensured delivery of more than 200,000 water backpacks to regions where water must be transported by foot from source to home. They have also been delivered to disaster-prone regions for use in emergencies when access to safe water is disrupted for periods of time.
Our goal is that everyone who needs a pack has a pack, and that someday, they will no longer be needed to carry water for every day use, and will be used to carry books instead.
Providing Relief Fast
In crisis conditions, transporting supplies is a matter of life and death. packH2O™ is seven times lighter and seven times smaller than an average plastic jerrycan. Imagine this difference multiplied a hundred -or a thousand - times over. The water backpack is an optimal solution for fast, high-volume emergency relief.
Meeting the Needs of the People Who Use Them
packH2O™ is a product of collaborative development including a series of on-site field tests conducted in Haiti during the summer of 2011 and more recently in 2015 in Kenya with Mount Kenyan University. The backpacks were given to communities in a variety of typical settings - from urban to rural - and evaluated for efficiency, durability and comfort. The most meaningful measure of their success was the enthusiasm with which testers embraced and used them.
Creating Micro-Business Opportunities
Economical packH2O™ backpacks provide an ideal platform for local micro-businesses. From assembly and decoration to liner sales and distribution, PackH2O™ opens up simple, affordable opportunities for small-scale enterprises in communities throughout the developing world.
Why the packH2O water backpack?
- Eases the burden of water transport for women and children
- Enables fast, high-volume emergency relief
- Passes the field test for comfort and performance
- Provides simple, affordable micro-business opportunities
- Roll-down closure reduces spills and waste
- Adjustable straps enable comfortable, hands-free water transport by any adult or child
- Stands upright for quick, easy filling but is flexible for use in streams and tight spaces
- Protected spout keeps water clean for drinking and hand washing
- Collapsible structure is 7 times lighter and 7 times smaller than a 20L capacity plastic jerrycan
Garnering Recognition, Gaining Validation
In 2015, Greif received the Premio Eco Brasil 2015 award in the Sustainability Practices – Products or Services category for packH2O.
In 2014, packH2O was recognized with the PackTheFuture 2014 Award and honored with the special jury prize.
In 2013, the packH2O water backpack garnered the most votes by the public to receive the 2013 People’s Design Award in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Award competition.
The value of the packH2O was further acknowledged with a 2013 SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design®) Honorable Mention for Excellence in Public Interest Design. Recognizing design projects with exceptional social, economic and environmental impact, the SEED Awards represent the forces needed to create truly sustainable projects and positive change in the world.
In November 2012, packH2O was honored with a Popular Science magazine 2012 Best of What’s New Award in the Green category. Popular Science, a leading source of science and technology news since its inception in 1872, gives this award annually to products that transform their category, solve an unsolvable problem and incorporate entirely new ideas and functions.
The packH2O also received Global Green USA’s Industrial Design Award at its annual Global Green Sustainable Design Awards event. Global Green USA is the American afﬁliate of Green Cross International, founded by President Gorbachev, to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future.