About us

Our story

Wetlands Work! (WW!) is a social enterprise that designs and builds innovative treatment systems for communities without appropriate sanitation. Typically, WW! trains rural local business operators how to make and market our HandyPod.

Recognition of WW! for its innovative designs and impact

 

  • We have received competitive grants from European Union, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, Hygiene and Sanitation Fund (as partner to Plan International), and the UK Darwin Award (as partner to Fauna Flora International).

  • Other recognitions include the Civil Society Innovation Award from WASH Futures (an international community of water experts) and the RELX Environmental Challenge Award from RELX Group.

  • WW! has been a finalist in several notable award programs including Suez Environment Initiatives - Institute de France Award and a semi-finalist in Famae Foundation’s “Precious Water! Challenge Award”.

 

Seven years of research and design, failures leading to success: 

  • Our first HandyPod design launched in 2009

  • The HandyPod design is versatile and effective on water and on land, including uplands.

  • In both Cambodia and Myanmar, we have installed HandyPod systems in challenging sanitation environments, such as floating villages, flood prone and wet rural areas.

  • Over 250 households and 34 floating schools benefit from our innovative treatment systems. 

Our process starts local circular economies: 

  • First, we gain the trust of civic leaders. Then we provide HandyPod sanitation and hygiene education in the village elementary school. 

  • Next, we create community awareness of sanitation issues and of HandyPod availability for solving those issues. This is significant as poor and remote floating communities have never had any alternative to open water defecation; their health and child mortality suffer. 

  • This leads to the public demand for HandyPod sanitation treatment. 

  • To ensure the provision of sanitation sustainability within a community, we train local business groups how to make and market our treatment system. 

  • Perhaps most significantly, this process enables very poor families to grasp the concept of a HandyPod and its benefits, and ultimately it wins their buy-in. It is a product they are willing to pay for because it’s socially aspirational, and the scale-up benefits to the health of humans and the environment are huge.

 

The positive impacts of promoting effective sanitation treatment and good hygiene habits:

 

  • Children swim in clean water so they grow up healthy, not stunted or prone to disease. 

  • Fish can thrive again in the creeks and wetlands, which is key to the livelihood of many Cambodians. 

  • Local jobs are created in scaling up the HandyPod, both in making and marketing the treatment system. 

  • Livelihoods, waters and uplands become more climate resilient.

 

Our vision for our future

HandyPods will be installed in new locations, including rural homes for more productive vegetable gardens, along beaches of tourist resorts, and on islands where they can protect groundwater quality and prevent wastewater pollution by pit latrines.

Our team