Sydney Water's Team Praan visits India

3 min read
Team Praan in India

Staff from Sydney Water flew to India last month to present their innovative ‘Poo Switcheroo’ sanitation solution to WaterAid India, community leaders and local water utilities in Delhi and Lucknow.

Members from Team Praan were invited on the trip as a reward for being the global winners of the 2018 Winnovators competition, where they first designed the ‘Poo Switcheroo’ idea in response to a real-world problem facing WaterAid India. The team also raised over $11,000 for WaterAid’s work in India.

While in-country, the team was able to test and implement the solution in a community where WaterAid works, with support from local staff, partners and government representatives.

“When we started this challenge, we were very limited to whatever was available on the internet,” Team Praan’s Communications and Engagement Advisor Ronica Koey said. “Being able to come to India to interact with the communities to see the infrastructure that they have in place has been really great at helping us find the best solution for the people here.”

“Corporate partnerships are very important. They can bring a lot to the table and help us design solutions that are pro-poor and market based, which have a tendency of being more sustainable and bringing more revenue to the most marginalised as a result,” WaterAid India Corporate Partnerships Manager Rashi Jain said.

Team Praan’s visit began in Delhi, where Australian Deputy High Commissioner Rod Hilton held a reception alongside the WaterAid India team. While in Delhi, Team Praan also visited WaterAid’s urban water, sanitation and hygiene projects and met with the Delhi Jal Board, the local water utility which serves a city of 25 million people.

In Lucknow, Team Praan were given the chance to verify the feasibility of their proposed solution and discuss the next steps for its application with WaterAid India and the local communities. Their ‘Poo Switcheroo’ solution allows locals to switch between pits in a twin-pit latrine without coming in contact with any faecal matter. The rotating valve used to make this switch would cost only $20 AUD if produced locally.

Team Praan met with Lucknow Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner along with the Ground Water Action Group - a group comprising of geohydrologists, engineers from the utility department, researchers and water conservationists - to present the solution and advocate for its adoption in Lucknow.

WaterAid Australia and WaterAid India are extremely grateful to the Sydney Water MD Kevin Young and his Senior Management Team for allowing Team Praan to spend one week in India and support WaterAid in its effort to promote hygiene and sanitation in the communities where we work.

About Winnovators

Winnovators is WaterAid’s signature employee development challenge for our corporate partners. Teams from around the world compete to solve a real problem from our work, design and deliver creative fundraising activities and learn new skills and entrepreneurial spirit along the way. 

The programme was piloted in 2015 with twelve teams helping our Nepal team with ideas around the water crisis and fundraising for the post-earthquake emergency response. Since then, Winnovators has raised nearly $1.1 million AUD and has seen teams from our corporate partners around the world solve real challenges from our work in Cambodia, Nicaragua, and India.

The 2019 Winnovators programme currently underway is our most global year yet and focuses on challenges from eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Colombia, and India. The winner will visit their chosen focus country in Autumn 2020.

Please email [email protected] to find out how you could get your company involved in 2020.