In 2017, a group of five young entrepreneurs from around the globe were selected as the ’25 under 25 Earthpreneurs’ for the Young Sustainable Impact 2017 innovation program in Oslo, Norway. After working online for four and a half months and having done extensive research in Sustainable Development Goal challenges, the team decided to work on SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG’s) are a collection of goals set by the United Nations. There are 17 Global Goals, covering a broad range of economic and social development issues.
“I personally switched my passion from working on peace to working on water because water borne diseases kill more people than all forms of violence including wars – and I lived through three major wars and I know how horrifying wars are. However, water borne diseases are preventable. It’s a monster that isn’t too complicated nor difficult to end.” said Dalia Alnajjar, one of the co founders of Xyla Water.
However, making Xyla Water a reality wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight. What followed a great idea, were the challenges and setbacks, that a remote team would face. The team members hail from Pakistan, Palestine, Belgium and India. The differences in cultural background, beliefs, time-zones and the responsibility of revolutionizing work were just few of the barriers the Xyla Water team had to face. Despite all these obstacles, the team proved that when young people have a vision and commitment to bring about positive change, the differences and beliefs weigh far less. Xyla Water is an impact startup aiming to Provide Clean Affordable Water for Every Household. The teams collaboration with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has allowed them to commercialize the most affordable water filter, making clean water a reality for everyone, especially those living below the poverty line.
The importance of clean and affordable water
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017 alone, 844 million people in the world still lacked access to a clean water source. Using a water filter is not affordable for many people, making them susceptible to water borne diseases like diarrhea. The Xyla water filter is based on xylem tissue technology which filters up to 4500 liters of water per year for just ten dollars. Tested and prototyped at MIT, it’s able to filter 99.9% of bacteria and protozoa.
When asked what inspired Ali Mannan Tirmizi, one of the co-founders to start Xyla Water, he said “It is appalling how we have advanced to such great extents in entertainment and leisure technologies but a basic necessity such as water is still a far fetched dream for many in underdeveloped regions of the world. I want to make safe drinking water a reality for everyone, without regard for race, religion or region. Xyla Water is a part of that vision where people don’t die and suffer due to water borne diseases.”
The team has come a long way since 2017 and is excited for what 2018 holds for Xyla Water. Diane Delava, one of the co-founders on what the future holds for Xyla Water, “Xyla Water has a promising future considering the diversity of the team and the energy we all have in common to make the world a better place. We’re looking forward to this year with the crowdfunding and the pilot project to bring our project a step forward to reaching the lives of thousands and improving them to the better.”
The team has just launched the Xyla Water crowdfunding campaign for their pilot project in Pakistan; you can support their campaign by clicking here. To keep yourself updated on their progress, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and subscribe to their newsletter by clicking here.