I’m sad to say that this is my last day at One. I’ve had an incredible two and a half years working at this inspirational company that’s truly transforming lives – and I wanted to use this opportunity to share some of my many highlights before I pack up and go.
Here are 14 reasons why this has been the most incredible, interesting and inspirational job I’ve ever had:
Discovering how 443 lives changed forever on the 8th of May 2016
My first trip to visit our water projects was in June last year, where I joined a team from Bidfood and Harrison Catering to get them involved in the projects they help to fund by selling One Drinks. I’ve always been passionate about our work but this was the first time that I was truly able to experience, first-hand, the very real and almost overwhelming impact our water projects have. Read this blog post to discover how 443 lives changed forever on the 8th of May 2016 thanks to our pump repair programme in Malawi.
Living on just 5 litres of water on World Water Day
World Water Day on 22 March is a really important day for One and everyone in the WASH sector. It’s an international UN day to raise awareness of the global issue of water scarcity and the fact that over 884 million people have limited access to clean water (devastatingly a child dies every 19 seconds from a water related disease) – and how we need to work together to change this. Last March the team took on the 5 litre challenge – living off just 5 litres of water over 24 hours for all of our cooking, cleaning, drinking and washing needs. A harsh reality for millions of people in the world’s poorest communities, who often have no choice but to spend hours walking every day to collect a limited supply of dirty water to drink. Read about our experience.
Saving lives in an emergency
This year The One Foundation has funded some truly life-saving emergency response projects. At the start of the year we responded to an emergency appeal for clean water provision in Yemen, where years of internal conflict have taken its toll on the population. At Easter we funded an emergency response project in East Africa, which is in the grip of a devastating food crisis. And just last month we donated £50,000 to provide an immediate WASH response in the Dominican Republic to protect the life, dignity and recovery of 1,500 families (7,500 people) affected by the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Discover more about how you’ve helped to save lives in Yemen, East Africa and the Dominican Republic.
Working with up-and-coming artists
We’ve been working with Pop My Mind to inspire up-and-coming artists to create original artwork for our new Origins range. We first met the Pop My Mind team at this year’s London Coffee Festival – and after seeing some of their inspirational artwork, we had to get them involved in our latest project. Check out some of the work from the artists we’ll be working with early next year.
Launching an ethical gin
That’s right, we launched an ethical gin this year after raising £22,201 for the first-batch of life-changing liquor on Crowdfunder. And I couldn’t be more proud of our IWSC Gold medal winning gin that tastes as good as it does. A ginspirational gin with a “built in tonic”. Find out more or order a bottle.
Walking for water with rugby players
Can you imagine walking 6km every day just to collect water? That’s the reality for millions of people in the world today, especially women and children. To raise awareness of this horrific issue and inspire people to help us change it, we challenged 30 rugby players from London Scottish FC to walk a 6km circuit carrying 25 litres of water in jerry cans last year. Watch this video to see how the team of strong, fit rugby professionals coped.
Watching the launch of the Global Goals
In September 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals to tackle inequality, poverty and climate change by 2030. If the goals are met, they will ensure the health, safety and future of the planet for everyone on it. I remember following the launch on social media and being completely overwhelmed and inspired by the proceedings. Duncan was lucky enough to be in New York for the launch. Read about his experience.
Discovering why a picture is worth a million words in Malawi
My trusty camera has been with me at all times to capture several inspiring moments throughout my time at One, but none more memorable than when I took a Polaroid camera to Malawi to capture images of the community that would last a lifetime. I was told by a village chief that these photos, given as a gift to each friend I made, would be this child or person’s prized possession forever. They would keep it by their bed or stick it on a wall and look at it every day – no one in their community had a treasure like this. One elderly man I took a picture of could not stop smiling when I gave it to him. Later it was explained to me that he had never even seen his reflection before, let alone a photo of himself, and he was overwhelmed with happiness. View some of my favourite photos and learn more about this experience.
Being on stage at the launch of B Corp in the UK
I was at the launch of B Corp UK just over two years ago, as One was one of the first businesses in the UK to certify. Scoring significantly higher than the 97-point average for a B Corp globally, the business was awarded 104.8 points for meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. I’ll continue to be a huge advocate and ambassador for B Corp and the B Corps who fully embrace the values. I truly believe that businesses and individuals can create a huge positive change on a local and global scale and this is how we can help resolve the world’s most pressing issues, whatever the political situation may be. Find out more about the B Corp movement.
Having moments of reflection and clarity
This job has certainly had some thought-provoking moments that have really grounded me over the last few years. And I think this has been really good for me. Read about one of my reflections after returning from a rather gluttonous Easter break to discover that we’re funding an emergency response project in in East Africa, which is in the grip of a devastating food crisis.
Capturing content at our new water projects
Earlier this year I travelled out to Africa on my own to visit our new systems-led water projects in Rwanda, Kenya and Ghana. This wasn’t only the highlight of my career to date, but one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Seeing first-hand, the huge, sustainable impact our new projects are having across dozens of communities in need. To find out about our new systems-led water projects, read about:
- Rwanda and the road to recovery
- Giving clean water, an education and a future to 1,114 children at Nyarurama Primary School
- Everyone forever: eradicating water poverty for good in Rwanda
- Bringing clean water to urban communities in Kenya
- From Kihoto to Karagita: how access to clean water is changing lives in Naivasha
- Systems for sustainability: providing clean water forever in Ghana
Reconnecting with my best Kenyan rafiki Elvis
I took the opportunity to spend a weekend with a very special Kenyan friend of mine called Elvis in Mombasa after visiting our water projects in Nairobi earlier this year. Just over six years ago, we shared a room together and a lot of extraordinary new experiences over half a year, three months volunteering and living with a local family in Birmingham and three months doing the same in Malindi, Kenya. One of the highlights of this experience was bringing Elvis back to my family home for a traditional English Christmas. A very different Christmas that both my family and Elvis will never forget. You can read about it here. So needless to say, I could not wait to see Elvis again after six years and hear about how his life is now. Read about my weekend with my best Kenyan rafiki Elvis.
Raising £15 million for water projects
This year we celebrated raising over £15 million for clean water projects, transforming the lives of over 3.2 million people in need. And we couldn’t have done it without the help of our customers, supporters, partners and friends like you. With your help, we’ll raise £20 million for water projects by 2020. Thank you for being a part of our butterfly effect.
Being a part of a life-changing team
There’s a truly inspirational team at one. A small group of people making a huge difference on the other side of the world. Duncan originally started One to help change one life, one day at a time. Twelve years later and the team has changed over 3.2 million lives forever. Amazing.
Quite a lot has changed over the last two and a half years, but what has always remained the same is our joint vision – working towards a world where everyone has access to clean water forever. That’s their motivation and they’re not stop until the goal is achieved.
Thank you. I’ll never forget my two and half years at One.