While Field Ready team members all over the globe marked World Water Day this week, our Fiji team might have made the biggest splash.
The United Nations' World Water Day falls every March 22; it's a day that highlights the importance of fresh water and raises awareness of the need for sustainable freshwater management. Advocates note that more than 2.2 billion people across the planet live without access to safe water; the UN's goal is to make safe water and sanitation available to all the world by 2030.
With many countries still in various phases of pandemic lockdown/caution, this year's World Water Day observance was largely virtual. But not in Fiji. There, they chose to celebrate this year's "Valuing Water" theme with some up-close education.
As Fiji's border shutdown last year greatly reduced the COVID-19 virus' spread there, the island nation is now open to its citizens and a very few visitors. So educators saw this year's World Water Day celebration in Fiji as an excellent opportunity for primary and secondary school students to gather and learn about ways to safeguard freshwater sources and use it safely to improve health, sanitation and quality of life.
Held in Kshatriya Hall in Suva, the event hosted more than 100 students and teachers who could interact with exhibits and discuss freshwater preservation and delivery with the participating organizations.
Helping deliver fresh water and sanitation to people is a large part of the aid we offer people in the wake of disasters or in conflict-affected areas. For our team, the Suva event was an excellent opportunity to show fellow Fijians what we do and how we do it in a low-key atmosphere.
Children, teens and teachers got an up-close, firsthand experience with some of our products, including portable handwashing stations, a pit latrine and drinking water buckets - all of which have been widely distributed in the region this year following two Category 5 cyclones.
"People were amazed - most hadn't seen these items," said Field Ready Operations Manager Jean Matthias, who helped staff the event with one of our field engineers, Krishneel Singh. "They got to see what we do as an organization and how we make our products locally with talented engineers."
The program and ability to interact with students was a great experience for both students and the participating organizations, Matthias said, which reinforced the day's theme.
"It gave everyone the chance to learn and see how important water is to us everyday."