An alliance housing 50 SAP solution providers has come together to provide fresh water for students in Cambodia, in support of an in-country humanitarian project.
The group has aligned with project WASH - water, sanitary facilities and hygiene training - an organisation which builds clean water systems for schools in Cambodia, one of the countries most impacted by lack of clean water according to water.org.
A lack of clean water contributes to more than 800,000 deaths worldwide of children under five each year, creating a need for United VARs, an ecosystem which spans 90 countries, to act.
“The schools face disastrous hygienic conditions,” said Detlef Mehlmann, managing director of United VARs, who witnessed the situation in Cambodia first-hand two years ago. “There is no drinking water. No toilets. No chance to even wash hands.
“The students carry plastic bottles filled with water from dirty rivers. It was disconcerting to learn this was the rule and not the exception. Almost all the children suffer from diarrhoea, and, unfortunately, many of them die under the age of 12.”
In Cambodia, Mehlmann discovered one school that received a water collection and filtration system through about €20,000 in donations, making a "huge impact" for the students and faculty there. Consequently, United VARs agreed to support fundraising to help additional schools.
As part of the WASH campaign, each United VARs member will contribute 0.1 per cent of all revenue reported during the second quarter of 2019, with SAP also pledging to contribute €20,000 to the cause.
“That was the easiest way to make sure all members could help,” Mehlmann said. “At the end of the day, it is a voluntary initiative, but I’m quite pleased to see such a positive response.”
United VARs is an alliance of SAP solution providers with specialist expertise within the mid-market.
Certified with the highest SAP Status as Platinum Partner, the organisation works with the leading solution providers across the world to "guarantee the best service and support" for international roll-out projects, ERP optimisation projects and cross-border near-shoring.
The move to support WASH was decided during the group’s annual meeting in St. Leon-Rot, Germany.
Mehlmann said the water systems collect water during the rainy season, filling several large underground tanks, which is enough to provide clean water for the whole year.
“The kids can also take water home,” he said. “For €15,000 to €20,000, you can save the lives of 50 to 80 kids. It’s unbelievable.”
The donations will also fund a new rainwater collection system with 4,000-litre tanks; the installation of bathrooms, latrines, hand-washing stations and a bio-sand filter.
This is in addition to improved testing and training for students, teachers and school administrators learning to use the system, according to Germany-based organisation Kleine Hilfsaktion which manages the program.
The goal is to raise enough money to fund at least one fresh water system, but a strong quarter by United VARs members could fund a system for a second school as well, according to Mehlmann.
“I’m trying to be conservative,” Mehlmann said. “It’s a bit of a challenge. We’re working with SAP to help spread the word. I’m thankful for the support we’ve received so far.
“It’s important to give back to society, and we look forward to being able to bring fresh water systems to the children in Northern Cambodia that so desperately need it.”
According to Adaire Fox-Martin - member of the executive board of SAP SE - corporate social responsibility is a “strategic focus” for SAP and its ecosystem of channel partners in the year ahead.
“I’m thrilled that United VARs is so actively committed to this very worthwhile initiative,” Fox-Martin added. “We can all create a positive social impact in communities all around the world, and it’s our mission to ensure a sustainable future for society, to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”