News Mar 21, 2018

Water For People - Jacobs Employee Contributions Making a Sustainable Difference in the World

Impact tours are an important aspect of Water For People’s efforts to show how its approach to sustainability is strengthening communities and fostering independence by bringing water and sanitation to families, clinics and schools.

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Impact tours are an important aspect of Water For People’s efforts to show how its approach to sustainability is strengthening communities and fostering independence by bringing water and sanitation to families, clinics and schools.  

Tour participants spend a week in country experiencing Water For People’s work firsthand and interacting directly with community leaders, staff, government officials and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners. In October, three Jacobs employees Aleeca Forsberg, Kumud Joshi and Mark Holland, participated in the organization’s India Impact Tour, setting out to learn about the difference Water For People makes in the world. 

Starting in Kolkata, the capital of India's West Bengal state and the principal commercial, cultural and educational center of East India, our employees joined 12 other participants from organizations including CDM Smith, Murraysmith, Carollo Engineers and Bentley Systems. The tour group visited four communities where Water For People is making an immediate and lasting impact on people’s lives through programs and services, including:

  • Kidderpore – community toilets and handwashing for 51 families.
  • Hooghly – community toilets for 307 households, a water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facility in a high school serving 1,247 girls (grades 5-12) and a WASH facility in a primary school serving 178 girls and boys.
  • Digambarpur – community-based piped water supply project for 375 families (well, reservoir and distribution piping to each home).
  • Banashyamnagar – community-based water supply through a hand pump for 32 families.

“I always knew my monthly donations went to some amazing projects, but actually seeing the impact of that donation is inspiring,” says Aleeca, a hydrogeologist in Jacobs’ Albuquerque office. “Real people have access to sanitation facilities and clean drinking water because of our support, and that is powerful.” 

Adds Kumud, a GIS professional in Jacobs’ Delhi office, “An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of such an amazing foundation. I believe Water For People is making a difference in the world, and I look forward to continuing my support of their mission.”

Mark, a project manager in Jacobs’ Detroit office, views the India tour as a life-altering experience. “I am grateful for the fantastic experience visiting the various communities in and around Kolkata and seeing the results not only of charitable donations, but also the dedicated and hard work of the Water For People organization and individual community members.” He added, “Spending this valuable time with the various residents and school children gave me a whole new perspective of India and its people.” 

Employee contributions making a difference

Did you know that CH2M, now Jacobs, was a founder of Water For People? In the early 1980s, Ken Miller, with CH2M and a former president of the American Water Works Association (AWWA); Wayne Weiss, with Black & Veatch; and John B. Mannion, a former executive director of AWWA; shared a vision of a world where all people have access to safe water and adequate sanitation. The three joined forces to support Water For People’s creation and future as a leader in social responsibility and innovation in the sector.

Today, Jacobs is Water For People’s largest workplace contributor, helping advance the non-profit organization’s mission of promoting the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all, and sustained by strong communities, businesses and governments. In last year's Employee Giving Campaign, more than $200,000 was raised to support Water For People's mission.

To learn more about the work Jacobs is doing to protect and preserve water through nature-based solutions, check out A Natural Fit - World Water Day, Jacobs’ Green Solutions.