The Water Stewardship Project is all about working together. This means forming partnerships not only with Guangxi villagers and authorities but also with expert organisations. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and educational institutions have offered us irreplaceable support during this project by providing laboratory services, water monitoring expertise, and awareness raising events.
We believe that NGOs are a vital resource in community work. They have specific expertise in their field, they are flexible, creative, and well connected, and they often have a neutral standing in the local community compared to that of commercial businesses. During the Water Stewardship Project, we have actively sought to identify our own strengths and those of our partners to have a better understanding of each party’s role.
Water monitoring expertise from Greenovation Hub
Greenovation Hub is a national environmental NGO in China with a local office in Guangzhou in Southern China. They have been running a national water protection campaign called A Glass of Clean Water since 2012, and have a strong background in water quality monitoring. In our project, Greenovation Hub has had a major role in raising Guangxi residents’ awareness on water quality and safety.
Greenovation Hub has used several methods to reach out to Guangxi villagers. They visited seven villages and organised a number of events to engage with the villagers in various ways. They organised showings of environmental documentary films in the villages, educated residents about water quality, and arranged self-monitoring events where the villagers could test their own water. Greenovation Hub’s hands-on approach also included photography sessions where villagers young and old took pictures of their water resources. Using the photographs as reference, older residents were then encouraged to pass on their memories of how the local environment has changed over time.
Greenovation Hub believes that these methods give the villagers a chance to discover on their own which factors contribute to water quality problems and what people can do to prevent and solve them. The goal is not so much to gather water quality data but to educate people about what they can do to make sure their water is clean and safe. But Greenovation Hub does not only train villagers. One important aspect of their work in the Water Stewardship Project is to train local NGOs to organise events promoting environmental protection. Spreading the know-how to ensure a lasting impact is a key element in all of our project efforts.
Strong partnerships create lasting change
Our relationship with Greenovation Hub is first and foremost about trust and respect. Greenovation Hub works to improve the lives of local people and they have the freedom to decide how they want to achieve the goals we have set together. They are not doing this for Stora Enso and Kemira but for the local people and environment. We believe that by working together, businesses and NGOs have the opportunity to create significant and lasting change. Our hope is that the Water Stewardship Project will achieve just that.