At Aguaconsult we are committed to the day to day tasks of working with clients to provide high quality advisory services, but we are equally passionate about our overarching goal of improving the lives of those who do not have access to basic services. Recent growth over the last two to three years has allowed us the economy of scale to turn this commitment into a reality and we are delighted to announce a ‘giving back’ initiative which reflects our collective position to do more to support causes that we think can make a difference.

How does it work?

As a group of like-minded staff we have decided to dedicate up to 60 days of pro bono time per year to contribute towards any initiative linked to the water, sanitation and hygiene sector. This commitment comes along with up to £6,000 of cash to support pro bono work, either for direct expenses or travel costs. Because of the nature of the work we do in international development we hope to contribute to global initiatives, but also very much include support or outreach to organizations in the north, including those very locally in north-east Essex. We are also aiming to have a link with education as one of the most powerful mechanisms for transformational change and development, both at an individual and societal level.

This initiative is in place primarily to support interactions through pro bono giving of time and expertise by staff, rather than simply donating money to a cause. Beyond some basic ground rules, each staff member is free to select an initiative or organization that they feel would benefit from their support. Equally, individuals may also continue to support an initiative in their own time, above and beyond the allocation of time by the company. At the end of each year we will review experiences with this giving back initiative and collectively assess what has worked well and where we can make improvements.

Georges and SOIL’s Executive Director Dr Sasha Kramer at SOIL’s Cap-Haïtien waste-to-compost facility (SOIL, 2017).

What have we done so far?

The scheme was only formalised in early 2018, but we have already been working on the giving back initiative with staff active in the following areas:

  • Aguaconsult’s Urban Sanitation Specialist Georges Mikhael is supporting Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods – or SOIL – through participation as a board member. SOIL is a non-profit organization currently scaling up a transformative social business model for the sustainable and safe provision of container-based household sanitation and waste-to-resource services in Haiti. SOIL works at the nexus of sanitation access and climate change mitigation and is innovating service models that can meet the needs of millions living in urban areas without access to safe sanitation.
  • Harold Lockwood, Director of Aguaconsult, giving an orientation to a group of Master’s students at Loughborough University’s Water, Engineering and Development Centre about working in the WASH sector and providing career advice for young professionals from a range of countries, currently finishing their MSc degrees;
    Being an active member of the steering committee for the Agenda for Change (A4C) initiative and contributing to A4C in Uganda and Rwanda through pro bono inputs to support sector strengthening activities;
  • Working with the Centre for Human Rights at Essex University, providing inputs to their MLL taught course and guidance for research into operationalizing the human right to water and sanitation.

We are currently considering further options for support under the giving back initiative, so watch this space for further updates.