Thursday, 16 October 2008

Back from Geneva

Back at RBD-HQ, James and I are only just finding the time to reflect upon what a fantastically positive set of meetings we had in Geneva.

The feedback on our progress so far, and the suggestions as to how best to further develop the product to provide the maximum 'bang for buck', were staggeringly positive considering we are (admittedly) at an unusually early stage to have warranted the time and attention of the world's biggest NGOs.

Possibly the two most instantly significant of the many outcomes were The IFRC (The umbrella organisation which supports and enables the work of each of the National "Red Cross" and "Red Crescent" societies) offering to field trial the units, at their cost, in a location of our choosing; whilst the World Health Organisation have a Water and Sanitation Officer stationed in Delhi that they will put us in contact with to assist us when we begin our field trials in Mewat.

Slightly surprised as we always are with such a positive reception, we're aware that gaining this reputation for "getting in early" and being open to collaborations can work heavily in our favour contrasted with Companies, many years established in the commercial sector, who have a finalised product and cannot react to the recent changes in the Humanitarian sector. Increasingly NGOs are looking away from community and personal level water solutions and investing in household level solutions serving 2-5 people, rather than 2,000-5,000, or individuals, respectively. The established industry are having problems responding flexibly to this shift in focus - which is where we come in!

Business aside, we even squeezed in the time to take a look around Geneva (which, if you haven't been, is a stunning city), visit CERN and indulge in some of the legendary cheese fondue and swiss chocolate.

Left to right:

At the UN Offices, outside the WHO,
Lake Geneva, at CERN

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