Well I suppose the AguaPallet began for me when the earth violently began to quake on 4 September 2010.
When your two children are somewhere down the hallway and danger strikes, you immediately think ‘go to them’, and then suddenly your survival instinct kicks in and you realize, as I did, that actually I am carrying two babies as yet unborn making three lives, and the 2 big kids are capable of looking after themselves. I am actually more vulnerable than they are and the ground is shaking so much I probably couldn’t get to them anyway – so I crouch down next to the closest large object and wait for the earthquake to stop.
The kids were fine, having hidden under their beds. I was fine, and we hunkered down with a battery radio and chocolate till the morning when we phoned up Shaun and said that the airport was shut.
Through all the aftershocks, powerlessness, a short period of no water and limited communications, I had a resounding faith in the reinstatement of these services as soon as was manageable.
I didn’t panic. I wasn’t fazed. I knew my kids were looking to me for strength and I knew that I, and they, would be provided for. No biggie. Everything was fine. We coped. People helped us.
Many people in countries outside New Zealand don’t have such faith.
Many people in countries outside New Zealand don’t have such security.
When Shaun and I saw the “First 72 Hour” innovation challenge, we knew that this may be the way to take his idea of the pallet and water container to people that needed it. Until then it was just a ‘pie-bag sketch’ without form that needed work and suddenly we had the means to develop it and the motivation to make it happen. We met every deadline.
We learnt a lot about potential users, routes to market, financing and processes. With eager anticipation we watched the AguaPallet take shape and progress through all 5 of UNICEF’s and Socialab’s stages in their innovation challenge. In June 2014 we found out we had co-won the challenge, and I started to get ready for a trip to Chile.
While in Santiago I met a lot of interesting people and learnt a lot of valuable things, but the most important part of the trip was the development of the AguaPallet.
I built the first full size prototype and brought it home for testing. The seed funding they awarded us has been invaluable in progressing the project. The AguaPallet has come a long way so far from those initial sketches and we are excited to take it right through to production.
Most importantly – we had started!