Can a 30 minute documentary be so inspiring that it leads to a global initiative spanning more than 50 countries? The answer is yes and this is exactly how Water for All was founded in 1984.
Imagine yourself having only two TV channels. One of them is showing the evening news, the other a documentary about an ongoing drought in Peru in South America. On this particular March evening, two colleagues at Atlas Copco’s office in Sickla, Sweden, happened to choose the latter and found themselves deeply affected by the suffering lack of water had inflicted on a population of people living high up in the Andes mountains.
When they met the next day, they started talking about what they had seen and both felt very strongly that they could make a difference. They started planning a fundraiser for their fellow employees with the hope of collecting enough money to help the area featured in the documentary gain access to water. Five months later, in August 1984, the organization Vatten åt Alla, Water for All, was founded.
The company noticed the dedication of its employees and promised to match whatever amount the employees were able to raise. With the help of an external partner, a project was eventually implemented in Peru but everyone immediately thought, "Why stop here? We can do more."
And indeed we have. Since 1984, Water for All has spread across the globe, always at the initiative of a volunteering employee willing to run the organization in his or her country. Up until 2011, the company continued to match the money raised by its employees, but since then they give twice as much. Together we have contributed to millions of people gaining sustainable access to clean water and when Atlas Copco was split into two companies in 2018, Epiroc chose to continue to support Water for All as its main community engagement initiative, just like Atlas Copco.