How These Two Women Are Using Water To Change Lives
Water, as we all know, is essential to life.
In many places around the globe though, access to water isn’t a given. As a result, the “walk to water” is a crucial daily chore, necessary to simply survive. In many places around the globe, that job belongs to women and girls, which means that instead of going to school, instead of earning incomes and chasing their dreams, they’re spending their time collecting water for their families and villages.
Everybody Water is a female-founded company that’s committed to changing that. Founded by Kimberly Reilly and Megan Hayes, the carton-water company is on a mission to support clean water projects in developing countries and to free up women and girls to give them time to attend school and earn incomes.
“Time is our biggest resource,” said Kimberly in an interview with Scary Mommy. “Without that resource, women and girls are held back dramatically. They don’t even have a chance to thrive.”
Building An Eco-Conscious Water Company
Kimberly and Megan are friends and neighbors. They’re moms with four girls between them, and they were both at a crossroads in their lives at the same time.
“I definitely wanted to give back to something and feel like I was making more of an impact,” Megan said, explaining why she left a career she loved in corporate recruiting. “We started by asking what [do] we want to be able to change. Something big and something that felt good and was doing good. And something our girls would be proud of.”
After some thought, they arrived at the idea of water, and in January 2019, they launched their company.
The response, they say, has been overwhelmingly positive. Both Kimberly and Megan attribute that to the brand’s heart — to the fact that their product is not just eco-conscious but makes a statement about values.
Water1st International Partnership
Kimberly and Megan also wanted to support clean water infrastructure. They researched a variety of nonprofits before they chose to partner with Water1st International.
Water1st International is a standout nonprofit, noted Kimberly. On their website, Everybody Water highlights the fact that Water1st builds “permanent clean water systems that bring running water, showers, and toilets directly into homes … not just village pumps that don’t fully solve problems!”
“With a pump, women and girls are still spending time collecting water. It’s physically burdensome and can be dangerous. They have no time to go to school and earn money,” Kimberly said. Bringing water into homes through infrastructure solves the problem in a way that truly impacts the lives of women and girls.
Everybody Water donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every carton to Water1st International.
Balancing Work, Life, and Activism Is A Family Affair
One of the driving forces behind Everybody Water for both Megan and Kimberly was their children. They both wanted to create something their girls could be proud of, as well as something their girls could get involved with.
Water1st International makes it easy for middle school and high school kids to get involved.
“My oldest has gone to Honduras and Bangladesh,” noted Kimberly. “She’s gone back and educated her friends on it and formed advocacy group in the Boston area.”
Teaching advocacy and a socially conscious mindset is only the beginning. Kimberly and Megan faced steep learning curves when they entered the beverage industry—a space which is traditionally dominated by men. “We really had to follow our gut,” noted Megan.
Which, in a way, was another benefit, according to Kimberly. They’re setting an example for their girls. “They’ve seen their mothers persevere through some challenging times.”
A Ripple Effect
For both Megan and Kimberly, one of the most profound aspects of their work is seeing their projects come full circle.
“There are communities that didn’t have water and now they’re working with other communities to bring clean water there,” said Megan.
Kimberly called it a “ripple effect,” and noted how she believes “more than ever how much one person can make a difference. I have seen it on project level and also in the growth of our own business.”
Access to clean water is a life changer. In a community, everyone benefits. Having it could make the difference between barely surviving and utterly thriving. For women and girls, access to clean water could also give the gift of time.
Everybody Water started on grassroots level and has exploded from there. However, the company has retained its grassroots history by maintaining a crowd funding approaching. Folks can get involved with the company through startengine.com.
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