In 2002, GF shareholders waived their bicentenary dividend to create a foundation whose goal is to improve lives through development projects worldwide. Since then, the Clean Water foundation has been focusing on water supply projects in over 50 countries and invested around CHF 13 million to improve the lives of more than 360’000 people.
Fundraising: Support the GF Walk for Water 2023
At GF, we are part of the solution for the global water crisis and are excited to participate in the "Walk for Water" initiative with seven GF locations this year.
Disaster relief: GF provides financial and material aid to Turkey earthquake victims
Eighty seconds. That's all it took for the first of a series of earthquakes to wreck human lives in Turkey and Syria in the early hours of 7 February 2023.
With many victims, people displaced, and buildings and infrastructure swept away, the dimension of this humanitarian catastrophe became quickly evident day after day. After checking that all colleagues at GF Hakan Plastik in Turkey were safe, GF quickly mobilized financial and material aid for survivors in collaboration with its long-standing partner Water Mission, which has over 20 years of experience in disaster response.
In disaster relief efforts, speed is vital – as is on-the-ground logistics expertise, which GF Hakan provided. Water Mission’s multiple shipments of emergency materials cleared customs within 48 hours of arrival – the fastest ever in our partner's experience. This was essential in quickly getting those materials to those in need.
Through the systems and materials that GF Hakan helped import and source locally, Water Mission quickly installed water treatment and distribution systems for temporary clinics, kitchens, and housing camps – all of which require a reliable supply of safe water. Since February, the organization has already provided an estimated 1.2 million liters of clean water in these disaster-relief facilities.
Knowledge transfer: Sharing GF expertise and building a better tomorrow
In February 2023, GF employees Manuel Schwarz and Yannic Ohms volunteered with a pilot project funded by the GF Clean Water Foundation that Water for Water (WfW), a Swiss-based non-profit organization, initiated in Zambia.
A key part of the two engineers' mission was to understand how the company's technologies and expertise in water treatment and transportation can make a concrete contribution in a developing region, and play a key role in shaping local water competence.
"At GF, we have a lot of knowledge in jointing and materials technologies. We looked at how we could adapt our training for local purposes," said Manuel.
Due to a lack of proper facilities, equipment and experienced trainers, vocational training in water-related professions in Zambia has traditionally struggled. Outdated curricula do not prepare students with up-to-date practical applications.
Offering GF employees an opportunity to volunteer with the foundation had other benefits. "Helping build a better tomorrow gave me a lot of satisfaction. That is making me more motivated in my day-to-day job, too," Manuel said.
Financial aid: GF Clean Water Foundation to support Helvetas project to improve sustainable water use in Nepal
Less than half of Nepali families have reliable access to drinking water near their homes. While most Nepali live off what they grow, farmers lack water for their crops for more than half of the year.
Only 17% of the country's arable land is irrigated year round. Climate change makes matters worse, with springs carrying less water or drying up completely. More frequent floods and landslides destroy fields and infrastructure.
This was the scenario presented in December 2022 to the GF Clean Water Foundation, which quickly pledged a CHF 100'000 grant to support a project by Helvetas in four Nepali villages with a total population of 2'500-3'000 inhabitants.
The project aims to ensure fair access to water, drive efficient water use and implement water conservation measures in poor, remote areas of western Nepal. In addition, the project will provide training of local entrepreneurs as plumbers, masons and latrine builders.
"This project highlights the close link between water, life and well-being. By providing education on hygiene and creating training opportunities, this projects is a great example of the holistic approach that we must take to make sure the impact we make remains effective and sustainable in the long term," said Li Serra, Managing Director of the GF Clean Water Foundation.