Water for All is both the Atlas Copco Group’s and the Epiroc Group's main community engagement project. It was founded in 1984 by Atlas Copco employees in Stockholm, Sweden, who had seen a documentary on TV about the then ongoing drought in Peru. The aim was originally to collect money from their fellow employees to build a well in the same area as shown in the documentary. When Atlas Copco saw how engaged the employees became in this endeavor, they offered to contribute with the same amount as donated by the employees. The project in Peru became a success and Water for All lived on, continuing to collect voluntary donations from the employees via their salaries with a matching donation from Atlas Copco. Several other projects providing people in need with clean drinking water were implemented but it took around 20 years until the concept of Water for All was transferred to other Atlas Copco countries. Today, some 30+ years later, Atlas Copco has employees in more than 50 countries either managing Water for All organizations or in the process of starting up Water for All. Since 2011 Atlas Copco (and from 2018 Epiroc) gives twice the amount of the employees’ donations (i.e. if an employee donates €10 every month, the company gives €20, meaning that it will be €30 going to water projects). Donations from non-employees are also welcome, however not doubled by the company. All in all, more than 2 million people all around the world have been provided access to clean drinking water thanks to Water for All
The principle is that any Atlas Copco or Epiroc employee can decide to start Water for All in his or her country. The first step is to form a local board, the second one to make sure that donations can be collected. This is primarily done directly from the salary by the HR department but one-time donations at special events are also common.
Water for All funds projects but the work done in the field is carried out by partner organizations which have to be well-reputed, non-profit and non-political. It is also strongly recommended that they are experts on water and have local staff members in the project country.
Another requirement is that the partner makes sure to involve the local community in the project as a way to ensure sustainability and that the new water source will continue to function and be maintained.
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All projects have to be related to providing clean drinking water to people in need. Aside from this requirement, the local Water for All organizations are free to decide which projects to support.
Historically, the majority of the projects have been devoted to digging or drilling wells, protecting natural water springs, or building water purification systems. Training in sanitation and hygiene is an important aspect of all projects.
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Water for All has supported projects on all continents, however most projects have been in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Water for All has no admin costs (these are absorbed by Atlas Copco or Epiroc). This means that 100% of the donated amount goes to supporting people in need.