AquaAid International

AquaAid International: Let's Quench Thirst. Together.

Karahola, NicaraguaNew York City, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

AquaAid International works with community partners to design and implement culturally appropriate, result bearing, and cost-effective water and sanitation projects. AquaAid supplements our water and sanitation projects with an educational program to foster generations of sustainability.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we mobilized rural communities around the world to establish innovative, community driven water and sanitation projects?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

To adequately feed and support the world’s growing population, our global economy needs to continue to grow. Water is critical not only to current sustainability but also to future growth. One billion people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water and 2.5 billion lack access to basic sanitation. Lack of clean water and sanitation correlates to child mortality at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Clean water for everyone, no exceptions. But it is not as simple as building a well and hoping for the best. Sustainable water projects are achieved through community driven, result bearing, culturally appropriate, and cost effective initiatives. Clean water alone is not enough to solve the world water crisis: clean water and basic sanitation are highly correlated. Water projects must include access to dignified sanitation and education regarding the importance of clean drinking water, basic sanitation practices, and a holistic look at water in the environment.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Juliana heard about AquaAid through a neighboring community, which successfully established a sustainable water and sanitation project. Juiliana had a shallow uncovered well and 3 children with severe diarrhea. Juiliana recognized the lack of clean water and basic sanitation were the root of her family’s problem. After reaching out to the neighboring community, Juiliana met with an AquaAid field strategists. In collaboration with AquaAid and the local alcaldia (mayor), Juiliana organized a water committee, comprised of an equal male to female ratio. From water, to sanitation, to water education integration, the water committee, AquaAid, and the community designed, implemented, and monitored a sustainable, healthy future.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2014, AquaAid provided 600+ people with sustainable access to clean drinking water and taught 200+ kids about hygiene practices, clean drinking water, and water in the environment. In the next year AquaAid will assist 50 families in building latrines, provide 3,000 people with access to clean water, and teach 2,000 kids. In a preliminary round of project result measurement, AquaAid community partners discussed the outcome of water filtration technology and education services with the community. The review focused on one simple question: had families noticed a reduction in the prevalence of diarrhea? The father of the Celestino Family said he observed no reduction in prevalence. However, his son piped up and said it was “because daddy doesn’t wash his hands.” This illustrates that children can be agents of change for their families and an internal motivation for community development.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The main spread strategies moving forward to come closer to a world with universal access to clean drinking water include but are not limited to: scaling the community driven development model, expanding AquaAid's geographic scope to Guatemala, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea, integrating water education in national primary schools curriculum, and expanding AquaAid's responsible tourism partnership program. For AquaAid to achieve its full impact potential collaboration with all sectors and the ability to pivot are essential.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Four revenue streams: Public Donations, Corporate Partnership, Grants, and the Hospitality Industry. AquaAid is working with the hospitality industry to replace hotel’s commercially bottled water with in house filtered water. The in house filtered water would be bottle, sealed, and sold. This increases hotel revenue, reduces carbon emissions, and helps provide clean drinking water (a portion of the proceeds of the bottled water go to AquaAid).

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are a plethora of organization addressing water and sanitation, but AquaAid is different. AquaAid works in remote regions that have been overlooked by similar organizations because of transportation difficulty: The village of Karahola takes 1.5 days on horseback to reach. No religious stipulations or undertones. Accountability- organizations must have more than just good intentions, accountability is imperative. Culturally appropriate projects- There is no one size fits all water, sanitation, or education program. Youth Run- run by people under 30, who consult an older advisory board.

Founding Story

It all started when Sophie worked on a boat that set anchor off the coast of Bahia Honda, Panama. Sophie met a single father with two little girls looking to trade coconuts for fishing hooks. Previously, the girls were not able to attend school because it took them almost a day’s travel to another island to get clean drinking water. After a new pipeline supplying clean drinking water was constructed, the girls were free to attend school for the first time. Sophie was impacted by the event and started reading all she could about water and sanitation. In the course of her reading she was in contact with one of the deckhands on the boat, who admitted village in Nicaragua his family lived in still did not have access to clean drinking water.


AquaAid's stateside operations are entirely run by young (under 30) individuals. AquaAid's young team consults AquaAid’s diverse and more experienced Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Field operations are run by the community with oversight from an AquaAid field strategist. AquaAid seeks to maintain a diverse team and board, offering an array of experience and perspectives; which make AquaAid better equipped for opportunities and challenges.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, NY, New York City

Country where this project is creating social impact

, MN, Karahola

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Businesses.


Health and Hygiene, Water Use, Sustainable Sourcing.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Recipient groups include rural communities without sustainable access to clean drinking water. Within the community different groups value AquaAid's solutions for different reasons. The men value the solution for the economic opportunity: Less sick days = more days in the fields. For women, value lies in the wellbeing of their children. Young girls value the latrine program, as it allows them to stay in school through menstruation. Ergo AquaAid utilizes an array of community partners to deliver solutions.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

The publicity would help inform a greater audience about the 1 billion people without clean water, 2.5 billion without basic sanitation, and inspire the youth that we can change the world! Help us reach new markets especially important for our hospitality collaboration/fundraising initiative (see sustainability). With the prize money AquaAid would design and publish our second educational water and sanitation coloring book, and provide thousands of people with access to clean drinking water and dignified sanitation services. Note: AquaAid see's this opportunity as more than just prize money and publicity, but rather the opportunity for mentorships and networking that can help AquaAid evolve to be the best changemaking organization possible.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

AquaAid is the first entrepreneurial initiative I have pioneered. However, my previous experience sailing and becoming a Captain prepared me for AquaAid. Sailing across the Pacific Ocean and becoming one of the youngest females to hold a 200-ton MCA captains license taught me the importance of pivoting, cross cultural relations, strong leadership, creativity, and perseverance.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?


Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

Are you are a current Unilever employee?