Raising awareness on how to use water more responsibly is a big part of Stora Enso and Kemira’s Water Stewardship Project. Our 2014 survey of Guangxi villages found that villagers seem to not know enough about sustainable water use, which has contributed to some of the problems faced in the pilot project villages of Nahupo, Shengping, and Baimei. To improve the situation, we first needed to know the people we were working with and what motivated them. Next, we started planning for the best ways to reach them and began searching for suitable partners to develop and execute those plans.
Local partners spreading the word
We work with various non-governmental organisations to benefit from their expertise and networks. With vast experience in educational and other programmes, they are often well received in the local community. This helps us gain the trust of the people living in those communities.
During the Water Stewardship Project, we have worked with a national NGO called Greenovation Hub but also with several local Guangxi NGOs. The Beihai Citizen Volunteer Association (BCVA) is an association of Beihai area residents volunteering in their free time. The BCVA has had a big role in our project, educating students of all ages about water conservation and organising public lectures in the Beihai area. They have put together a total of 11 awareness raising events during our project, reaching a wide local audience in the city and in rural villages, particularly children and teenagers. We believe it is essential to reach the next generation and to teach them why it is important to use water sustainably, why it is everyone’s responsibility, and what they themselves can do.
The Beihai Bada Bicycle Association is specialised in large-scale well-being events and outdoor tours. During our project, they have arranged two big events, each gathering over 200 volunteers to promote environmental protection. For the 2014 World Ocean Day in June 2014, Bada filled the popular Silver beach of Beihai with volunteers cleaning up trash. In May of this year, Bada organised a cycling event promoting the protection of Beihai water sources. The day included fun and creative outdoor activities, such as a teamwork game called “Protect water as the source of life”, a water quiz, and a water footprint test.
Stora Enso and Kemira also work with local media to reach as many Beihai area residents as possible. Beihai Radio broadcasting covers one county and three districts of Beihai, several towns and cities outside Beihai, and even the Northern coastal area of Vietnam. Stora Enso, Kemira, and Beihai Radio worked together to produce and broadcast public service advertisements on water conservation. We invited NGO representatives, Stora Enso and Kemira employees, and Beihai residents from all walks of life – fishermen, students, teachers – to record a message about the importance of responsible water use. The short advertisements air three times a day and will continue until Feb 2016. Beihai TV has covered some of the events that BCVA and Bada have organised in their news programme, focusing on the shared responsibility of all Beihai residents to protect water sources and save water.
All these great partners are helping us spread the word on the importance of responsible water use, and we are proud to be able to work with them!