Running Water for School Children in Colombia

May 08, 2015

Hansgrohe 1 Copyright: Engineers without Borders KIT

Hansgrohe SE supports project by students at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Hansgrohe has lent its support to yet another water project. The company helped students at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to ensure that the village school in San Bernardo del Viento in northern Colombia received an adequate supply of water and that the water was treated to improve its quality. Funds contributed by the Black Forest specialist in bathroom and sanitation products allowed the students to construct a larger water tank and renovate an existing cistern. The new water system has improved the quality of life for 1,600 school children who previously had to tolerate an inadequate water supply and quality.

Engineers Without Borders – plans that work
The student organisation, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), at KIT is committed to improving living conditions in developing countries by carrying out sustainable engineering projects. As part of the “Aguavision Columbia” project, future mechanical, industrial, chemical and civil engineers sought help from companies to realize their vision of a new water system for the San Bernardo del Viento village school. “We immediately saw two reasons why we should get involved in the project,” said Torsten Mayer, who is responsible for social and environmental issues at Hansgrohe SE. “We have a very close connection to Latin American countries through the employees of our subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil, Panama and Mexico. And since Hansgrohe has for many years supported projects that are committed in a variety of ways to the life-giving element of water and to raising awareness for the responsible use of this precious resource, the project proposed by Engineers without Borders was an ideal fit. We are very happy that our contribution made it possible to significantly improve living conditions for children in San Bernardo del Viento.”

Water tank, cistern and functioning toilets
The main problems for the school were that the district water system did not supply enough water and that the cistern was very dirty. Only some of the sanitary facilities were usable. Hansgrohe’s contribution to the project made it possible for eleven KIT students to prepare plans for the project and complete construction work in just 26 days. They installed an additional water tank with a storage capacity of 10,000 litres – ten times as much as before – and did restoration work on the cistern, the water system and the school’s sanitary facilities.

Raising awareness and exchanging ideas – the result is sustainable learning
The concept of sustainability and the educational aspect of the project, which aimed to raise children’s awareness, were of particular importance to Hansgrohe. The KIT students visited classrooms and explained the sustainable use of the new water system, and together with the children, they shared ideas about water-saving and sustainable behaviour.


About Hansgrohe – the original from the Black Forest
The Hansgrohe company is based in Schiltach in Germany’s Black Forest. In its 114-year history, it has acquired a reputation as a leading innovator in technology, design and sustainability in the sanitation industry. The mixers, showerheads and shower systems created by Hansgrohe SE are original products that make bathrooms more functional, more comfortable and more aesthetically pleasing. These quality products can be found in such prestigious venues as the luxury ocean liner Queen Mary II, London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (the world’s tallest building), the German Chancellery in Berlin, New York’s Yoo luxury residences and the Masdar City Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. The company and its products have been honoured with numerous awards, most recently the Red Dot “Best of the Best” Award for product design, the Wallpaper* Design Award 2014 in the Category “Best Shower” and the Interior Innovation Award 2014 “Best of Best”. In 2014, the company’s brands Axor, Hansgrohe, Pharo and Pontos generated more than EUR 874 million in sales (compared to EUR 841 million in 2013). Today the Hansgrohe Group employs more than 3,600 people worldwide, about one-third of whom work outside Germany. The company, which has a zero tolerance policy on counterfeit products and design infringements, manufactures its products in Germany, in France, the Netherlands, the USA and China.