Celebrating Three Years of Partnership with Wine To Water on World Water Day

An interview with Libby Richards, Lenovo North America Community Engagement Manager, and Courtney Mattar, Director of Partnerships for Wine To Water 

The first time someone hears about Wine To Water, they may be curious about the name. Is it a biblical reference? Does it have to do with drinking wine? Or is someone actually trying to reverse wine fermentation into its most basic elements? Wine To Water’s name has proven to pique the interest of stakeholders around the world as it continues to gain traction in three years of partnership with Lenovo. On World Water Day, we’re proud to review what we’ve accomplished so far with Courtney Mattar, Director of Partnerships for Wine To Water. Together we’re making plans for future impact to come as we empower Wine To Water’s mission with Lenovo technology and talent.  

Courtney Mattar, Director of Partnerships (L) embraces Tulumaya Gurung (R), community member of Katheswora, Nepal - a village receiving support from Wine To Water.
Courtney Mattar, Director of Partnerships (L) embraces Tulumaya Gurung (R), community member of Katheswora, Nepal – a village receiving support from Wine To Water.

So – where does the name Wine To Water come from?  

Courtney: We get that question a lot. It’s not biblical or focused on drinking wine – though we don’t discourage it! At WTW, we often say “wine is our culture, water is our cause”. Wine represents our global community of changemakers and agents of change gathering together for a greater cause – to change the world through the power of clean water. Wine To Water is all about humility and empowerment, and our founder, Doc Hendley is an example of how people can be activated to create positive, scalable change.  

Wine To Water founder Doc Hendley (L) poses with Lenovo employee Fidele Mugisha after the successful fabrication of a ceramic water filter in the Dominican Republic.
Wine To Water founder Doc Hendley (L) poses with Lenovo employee Fidele Mugisha after the successful fabrication of a ceramic water filter in the Dominican Republic.

What is Wine To Water, and how are you changing the world through clean water? 

Wine To Water (WTW) is a global non-profit preserving life and dignity through the power of clean water. We develop WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) solutions in direct partnership with local leaders, creating impact beyond water. Our team works relentlessly to improve environmental sustainability, education, women’s empowerment, healthcare, and economic growth. We are active in Nepal, Dominican Republic, the Amazon, and Tanzania. The WTW Emergency Response team is currently in Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey and Syria performing earthquake and disaster relief. In 2022 the team responded to disasters in eighteen countries, including the United States Florida and Mississippi), the Philippines and Ukraine. 

Community members in Katheswora, Nepal receive instruction about WASH principles and women’s health.
Community members in Katheswora, Nepal receive instruction about WASH principles and women’s health.
Lenovo employees and Wine To Water staff take a break from digging water infrastructure in the Amazon.
Lenovo employees and Wine To Water staff take a break from digging water infrastructure in the Amazon.

How have you partnered with Lenovo? 

Lenovo’s global philanthropy works to share the company’s greatest strengths – diversity and innovation – with communities. We’ve been able to guide Lenovo to share these strengths in new and different ways for their philanthropy program. It started with a simple Filter Build volunteer project during their annual Love on Month of Service. When they started exploring the intersection of sustainability and their core mission of diversity in  STEM education, the touch points only grew. We’ve been able to support and integrate with Lenovo at their signature events, support their response to natural disasters, engage their employees in service, create a feature documentary on our work together, all the while integrating more and more Lenovo technology into our tech fleet. Much like Wine To Water’s own origin story, we’ve watched this partnership come from humble beginnings and quickly grow legs of its own.  

On World Water Day, what do you think about the intersection of technology and access to clean water?  

Today is important because unfortunately, the issue of water access isn’t going anywhere. As Lenovo experts have shared and as we’ve seen in the field, climate change will only complicate communities’ access to clean water as some communities experience an excess of water through floods while others experience drought. We need to be working to conserve and use water mindfully. While we’re usually working to create access to clean water for communities or providing filtration tools during disasters and crises, the strategies and resources we’re using at Wine To Water may one day be useful to communities whose otherwise steady access to clean water is being threatened.  

We’re proud to work with Lenovo because they are looking closely at the water usage and disclosing it annually to experts at CDP.  

Lenovo employee Mary Pat Bitter (foreground, Left) work with Wine To Water staff Domingo Guzman (far right) to hand sculpt water filters with the Wine To Water team in the Dominican Republic. Lenovo employee (now retired) Alex Badia finishes a filter behind them with support from a fellow volunteer.
Lenovo employee Mary Pat Bitter (foreground, Left) works with Wine To Water staff Domingo Guzman (far right) to hand sculpt water filters with the Wine To Water team in the Dominican Republic. Lenovo employee (now retired) Alex Badia finishes a filter behind them with support from a fellow volunteer. 

What’s next in your partnership with Lenovo?  

After the success of volunteer trips with Lenovo employees in Nepal, the Amazon, and the Dominican Republic in 2021, we’re proud to be working with Lenovo to provide a volunteer trip opportunity for Lenovo employees and college students. Applications are open until April 1 and we’re thrilled to offer another life-changing experience for volunteers through our Lenovo partnership. Beyond volunteerism, we’ll continue to work with Lenovo to deploy water filters in times of crisis, helping to mitigate the many water-borne diseases that can occur when infrastructure is damaged during disasters. We look forward to contributing to Lenovo’s efforts to manage its water usage to ensure sustainability for communities around the world, and a smarter future for all.  

Lenovo employees celebrating after a successful service project in the Dominican Republic.
Lenovo employees celebrating after a successful service project in the Dominican Republic.

 

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