Improving the lives of the communities we serve: Interflow’s long-term commitment to WaterAid Australia is providing clean water and sanitation to those who need it most

After seeing WaterAid Australia’s work firsthand in Timor-Leste, Interflow is more inspired than ever to ‘Walk for Water’ so others don’t have to, continuing their 19-year-strong relationship with WaterAid.

WaterAid Australia is part of a global organisation that enables the world’s poorest people to gain access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, allowing them to unlock their potential.

“WaterAid’s work is diverse, over 750 million people across the globe do not have access to daily, safe, reliable drinking water, sanitation and good hygiene,” said Mark Trembath, WaterAid Australia’s Corporate Partnerships Manager. ”We do this by providing storage for spring water, by placing walls and a door around open pits to provide privacy and dignity and education around hygiene.”

WaterAid Australia, founded in 2004, will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. Today, WaterAid Australia raises over $15m annually and is largely underpinned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian water sector.

In the organisation’s earliest days, Interflow found common ground with the WaterAid cause as it heavily aligned to their own purpose of ‘improving the lives of the people we work with, the communities we serve, and the environments we work in, for generations to come’.

Interflow’s early involvement with WaterAid Australia

Interflow’s involvement with WaterAid Australia began in 2004 when Geoff Weaver, Interflow’s Managing Director at the time, was approached by a customer who had recently become a part of WaterAid Australia’s starting initiative.

“He gave me a call saying he wanted to start with a gala ball and he was looking for companies related to the water industry that might be willing to support WaterAid through this first initiative,” said Geoff, now Chair of the Board for Interflow.

“After giving the idea some thought, it was clear to me that the Weaver family, our people and the suppliers of Interflow have all had the privilege of benefitting from the provision of clean water and sanitation in Australia throughout our company’s history.”

“I saw it as a chance for Interflow to give back to communities that don’t have the same opportunities as we did in Australia.”

Geoff would later ring the customer back and give him his commitment to support WaterAid. “We never looked back,” said Geoff. “Since sponsoring their first gala ball back in 2004, we’ve been proud to play our part in supporting WaterAid Australia through many events, which strongly aligns with part of our company’s purpose of ‘improving the lives communities we serve and environments we work in’.”

“With WaterAid Australia, it just happens to be that the communities we are serving are overseas rather than here in Australia and New Zealand.”

Visiting Timor Leste with WaterAid in 2023

Fast forward to 2023, and WaterAid reached out to Interflow and gave them the opportunity to visit Timor-Leste on their first visit back since the pandemic. 

Interflow’s Managing Director, Daniel Weaver, and his wife Sophie, accepted the offer and made the trip to Timor-Leste in August.

“My parents (Geoff and Kerry Weaver) got to visit Timor-Leste in 2013 with WaterAid,” said Daniel. So did our Board Member, David Lilley and his wife Shiralee a year later. So, to take my wife in 2023 was a very special experience for me and my family.”

“Visiting the communities in person is a humbling experience and I’m very grateful to have had the chance. There’s a difference between seeing it in person compared to hearing about it or reading it in a magazine or brochure.”

Seeing the benefit WaterAid provides

“Straight away it was clear to see WaterAid were a highly engaged and motivated team,” said Daniel. “It’s not just a job for them, there’s a passion and a purpose to what they do.”

What stood out most for Daniel was WaterAid’s model for empowering local people. Communities were heavily involved with the design and build of their new water supplies and took great pride in upgrading their village.

“It was Timor people doing it for Timor people,” he reflected.

“You can see from a community perspective that they want this. The work is being done with them in a true partnership with the WaterAid team. You could see the WaterAid donations stretching far and making a real impact.”

“Visiting villages that have received support from WaterAid, you could clearly see a difference,” he said. “Instead of walking for hours each day, sometimes long distances and through challenging terrain, with water access right outside their homes, people could spend that time in other ways that benefited their futures, their families and their communities.” “This was most notable for the women and children of these communities. The opportunity for education is the example most front of mind for me”.

Seeing the benefit WaterAid provides

On hearing about the work WaterAid does, the first question people tend to ask is ‘how can I help?’ The answer is to support the organisation through one of their regular fundraising initiatives.

“With just under 80 cents in every dollar raised ending up in WaterAid’s programs, we are proud of the fact that donations are able to stretch far in the communities we support,” said Mark. “These funds help to make a difference to improving the lives of the local communities.”

A highlight is the annual Walk for Water campaign, which encourages participants to run, walk or ride for five days. This year’s event runs from 2-6 October and has the support of organisations from across the water sector.

“I look at Walk for Water as one of the most exciting weeks of the year for Interflow and our people,” said Geoff. “We challenge people around the business to lace up their shoes and walk for a good cause. It creates some healthy competition between our people and everyone looks forward to participating each year.”

Just by participating in Walk for Water, individuals are creating awareness that in turn helps bring others to the cause. This, combined with small contributions people can afford to donate, means people around the world access clean water for the first time.

“There’s a number of ways we can support WaterAid this Walk for Water,” said Daniel. “It’s more than just fundraising.” “Raising awareness and connecting others to the cause is a big part of making a difference. I encourage everyone to get involved however they can.”  

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