One Million Cisterns Project Wins UN's SEED Award

one million cisterns project photo

Photo via One Million Cisterns Project: A local beneficiary of the One Million Cistern program, Maria Patricia, collects fresh water in Paripiranga, state of Bahia, Brazil.

More than 10 million Brazilians live without access to clean, safe drinking water. The Brazilian-based project, One Million Cisterns, works to bring a reliable source of water to those families who most need it. Working since 2001 to build 226,000 cisterns that have helped over a million families, the project has received significant attention. The latest pat on the back for the grassroots effort comes from the United Nations with their SEED award for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development. The international award recognizes innovation in local, environmentally-responsible and sustainable entrepreneurship, and that is just what One Million Cisterns stands for.

Working with the government, the group has created cisterns for low income rural families in the Brazilian Semiarid. In this drought-prone area, water is a primary concern, and sustainable projects that bring drinking water to the millions of people without it deserve this kind of recognition.

The cisterns are made of concrete plates and are placed beside the household, gathering rainwater that runs off the roof. When a new cistern is built, the family is trained on how to maintain it. There are also larger cisterns that are built for use in family agriculture and food production.

The SEED Award will help the group forward its goals by providing a tailored support package that includes everything from access to experts to assistance with finance.

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