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Our Mission: Malawi 2017

By Iain Biddle · Senior Corporate Counsel · UK & Ireland

Photo of One Foundation's Clean Water Project in Malawi
One Foundation's clean water project in Malawi

I'm a Cisco lawyer, supporting the SP Optical and Optics business and lead the UK & Ireland chapter of PRIDE—the Cisco LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and Allies Employee Resource Organisation. My spare time is occupied by Jerry the Weimaraner and with baking the odd show stopping cake.

On April 1, I'm leading a team of 16 employees and family members to Malawi for a week of volunteering using our Time2Give benefit, in support of The One Foundation's clean water projects. The One Foundation has a simple vision: a world in which everyone has access to clean and safe water, forever. There are still 663 million people in the world without access to safe drinking water.

The mission is self-funded. We're using our time, energy and skills to help repair some of the country's estimated 12,000 broken water pumps.

Photo of World Water Day Helping Take Action
World Water Day is helping take action to tackle the water crisis

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners. Without clean water, communities are vulnerable to water-borne diseases like cholera and diarrhoea. An estimated 2 million people die every year from waterborne diseases and most are children under 5 years old.

This will not be my first trip to Malawi. I cycled around Lake Malawi seven years ago, raising funds to combat HIV/AIDS in the country. The country has very little wealth but the people are so welcoming. I left knowing why it's called the Warm Heart of Africa. It’s a place still close to my heart and a place that I want to help build a better future.

Last year, the One Foundation asked for volunteers on World Water Day and we got talking about Time2Give opportunities in Malawi. Over the last 12 months, we've developed the mission to include fixing faulty water pumps and teaching communities how to maintain and repair them. This way, they can deal with any future faults themselves and keep clean water flowing in their villages.

We are also looking at ways that we can connect everything, using Cisco technology and skills to enhance the current efforts by capturing data about pumps and water levels using mobile apps. In the future, we are hoping to develop IOT devices that can remotely monitor water supplies that will benefit everyone by helping to find the nearest clean water supply and avoiding a 5-hour walk to a broken pump.

Children from a local village in Malawi
Iain with one of the local children in Malawi on his previous trip

Cisco is truly committed to making a difference in the lives of people around the world, by ultimately empowering people to accelerate global problem solving and positively impact people, society, and the planet. Time2Give is an awesome benefit that allows me the opportunity to give back to the global community.

Our mission is just starting; find out how you can get involved and support us via the links below.

Related Links

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