Thursday, 19 August 2010

Red Button Design to collaborate with Alex Monroe on Christmas Gift Initiative

Critically acclaimed social enterprise Red Button Design has today announced an imminent collaboration with renowned jewellery designer Alex Monroe, on a Christmas Gift Initiative.

To celebrate the launch of Midomo - a revolutionary water purifier for developing countries - Red Button Design has commissioned a limited-edition bracelet by award-winning jewellery designer, Alex Monroe. Each bracelet will cover the cost of donating one Midomo to an African community and, through a unique serial number imprinted on the jewellery, the owner of each bracelet will be able to track the journey of their donated Midomo. The bracelet is a perfect Christmas present; forever symbolising the gift of safe water, it can be worn as a reminder of growth and development, as well as a beautifully crafted, stylish piece of jewellery.

This initiative is not simply about saving lives; it is about quality of life. For children who have been used to walking for up to 6 hours a day to collect water, Midomo provides not only safe, clean water, but more free time With these extra hours a child could attend school, learn a trade, or simply play and ‘be a child’. The Midomo Bracelet therefore represents more than the gift of safe water. It also represents aspirations, ambitions and the chance to learn and fulfil them.

Announcing the collaboration, Amanda Jones, Red Button Design's Chief Executive

“Red Button Design believe that making a difference to someone’s life doesn’t have to mean making a sacrifice in your own. The bracelet Alex has designed for us not only embodies the feminine & celebratory style for which he is so acclaimed but those dreams and aspirations we all have for our futures. We hope that wearing yours will remind you of all that you have achieved, and encourage you towards those goals which you have yet to accomplish; just as you can know that simply by wearing it, you are also giving the same gift to an ambitious young woman in a more difficult situation.”

And Alex Monroe added:

“I really am honoured to be collaborating with Red Button Design. What they are achieving is amazing, and it's very humbling when you get approached to help fight for such a great cause.
Through their incredible product, Red Button Design are essentially giving life to thousands of people, and I hope that through my design I can make people aware of this. The Bracelet is a celebration of life - it's fun, and something to treasure, play with, and remember why you bought it in the first place.“

For more information please contact Amanda on 07982715187 or


Red Button Design
Red Button Design is an internationally award winning social enterprise set up to design, manufacture and supply life changing products exclusively for the humanitarian market.

Midomo is a household‐level water transport, purification and storage solution designed for use by individuals throughout the developing world.
The device uses an internal filter system, powered by the rotation of the wheels, to transform harmful water to drinkable water on-the-go. A user would roll the unit to the nearest source of water, fill the 50 litre tank, and roll it home. Once home, the water drawn from the unit is potable to World Health Organisation standards.

Alex Monroe
British jewellery designer Alex Monroe grew up in Suffolk. He trained at Sir John Cass School Of Art in London, and uses nature to inspire his whimsical, intricately beautiful jewellery.
Established in 1986, his core aspirations remain unchanged; to make great quality, wearable jewellery, which is originally designed and well priced.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Safe water and sanitation - a human right, not a privilege.

On July 28th 2010, a vote took place which, for the first time, saw the United Nations declare access to water and sanitation a basic human right.

That's correct, despite the statistics and the decades of awareness campaigns, prior to July 28th access to safe drinking water was, for all of us, a goal, an aspiration, but not a legally enforceable entitlement.

At Red Button Design, we are thrilled that the balance of power has shifted. State Governments are no longer providing a service by ensuring access to safe drinking water, they are committing a human rights violation when they are not.

Harsh words, yes, but illustrative that a long awaited step change has finally been set in motion. Declaring access to water and sanitation as a human right is a huge leap forward. Not only does it bring to the fore just how important water is to human life and how it must be the basis upon which we build further medical, educational & economic development, but this resolution also acknowledges some of the lesser publicised water problems; from privatisation, exploitative pricing and the practise of controlling water supplies as a method of blackmail and weapon of war, to the effects of climate change and over population in relation to water scarcity.

This resolution will, of course, also bring significant challenges. The guidelines for minimum water requirements vary wildly from agency to agency, there is currently no centralised body to approve water quality, or indeed no universally accepted water quality standard. Water quality can be affected by a vast array of harmful contaminants which vary by season and by region, and on-site water testing methods are on the one hand costly and unwieldy, or on the other, hugely unreliable!

It is our hope that the next few years will see a renewed effort on behalf of the international community to prioritise the provision of sufficient safe water, and to consistently and appropriately address the above concerns with a combination of policy, funding, new technologies, better implementation and greater transparency, in order to assist international learning...
High hopes we know, but then again, at RBD we do travel hopefully!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Meet Esme..

Hello! I’m Esme and I am the other new intern working with the lovely people at Red Button Design.

If we were to go zoom back in time roughly ten years, and were to ask a littler (but not much) Esme what she wanted to be when she grew up, I think she would say she wanted to be either a ballerina or work in a bullet-proof vest for the BBC reporting from a war zone. Seriously - these completely polar career choices have been my aim for as long as I can remember. And I did work hard to turn both ideas into reality... I went to ballet school (but hated it and ran away) and ended up doing all sorts of journalism and media work experience. This work experience ranged hilariously from working on Home Affairs at The Independent to tape logging for Cash in the Attic. Glamorous eh?

So... It is completely by chance, and a lot of good luck that I have found myself, a true fledgling graduate, working with an amazing and life changing company who have already inspired me continue a career in the same field. I still feel an attachment to journalism and feel that it encapsulates much of what goes into social enterprise; you have to be great communicator, a people person, and a passionate, driven individual. You have to care about what is going on in the world around you. But what divides the two is that a reporter observes and comments on the world, a social entrepreneur changes the world - they see a problem and they hope to fix it, for good. Trying to establish myself within the latter seems more worth while to me...

I studied English Literature and Language (opting mostly for all the novels...) at UCL where I managed to drink a lot, perform and organise a lot of dance through the union, do a bit of volunteering and most importantly, get a degree. The great thing about English Literature is that you learn about the world in all its shapes and forms; I covered everything from Old English to Ian McEwan but the Restoration will forever be my favorite age for writing.

So what have I been up to? I have been writing a lot of copy, have already shimmied to a social entrepreneurial party (where not enough food was eaten and too much wine drunk) and been collecting ALL sorts of literature on the web about Red Button. I have also been working on an overhaul of Red Button’s website, their manifesto and most importantly, the enormous task of marketing their very shiny Midomo. I can reveal... that we have teamed up with an equally shiny jewellery designer on a Christmas gift initiative! Sophie and I are so very, very, very excited to be a part of this project and our aim is it just get as many Midomos sent out to where they are needed, as soon as possible.

We also want to spread the word so keep looking out for us on twitter and on the facebook group for more revelations!

I am very lucky to be working with Amanda and the team, I am already learning so much and hope I can make a difference.

Esme x