Dubai: People in the Gulf region will be able to use a Facebook Timeline application to contribute to a programme of providing safe drinking water to needy communities, starting from Bhopal.

Waterworks, a non-for-profit programme to provide safe clean drinking water, will in its initial stage train 75 water-workers who will educate the neediest people in Bhopal about the need for clean water and its opportunity to improve the health and wellness of their community.

Initiated by global health organisation Population Services International (PSI), with the Unilever Foundation, the programme will see trained water-workers distribute life-saving Pureit sachets and purifiers to families.

Waterworks, which operates through a Timeline application developed jointly with Facebook, will connect people with means directly with people and communities in need.

Almost 800 million people do not have access to clean drinking water, with preventable water-borne diseases, such as dysentery and diarrhoea a particular threat.

"We want to leverage the power of the social graph and the ripple effects that each person's actions can create, to inspire and enrol many more to make a difference," Keith Weed, Unilever's Chief Marketing Officer said.

Jonathan Labin, head of Facebook's Middle East operations, said it was a life saving cause.

"By sharing those stories through Facebook, millions of people around the world will be able to learn about Waterworks and lend their support," he said.

Initially launched as a beta pilot project, Waterworks is among the first Timeline applications for charitable giving, connecting Facebook users around the world with real individuals and communities in need.

People will be invited to sign up to Waterworks and connect the application to their Facebook Timeline. They will partner with a PSI-trained Waterworker and choose a small daily donation.

Their funds will directly support the water-poor communities, where water-workers will provide education about the benefits of clean drinking water and distribute water purifiers and sachets to families in need.

"Our water-workers will be women from the communities in which they will work- mothers, sisters, and aunts who will be able to have trusted conversations with their families and friends about health issues that affect the community," said Karl Hofmann, President and CEO of PSI.

"Through participation in Waterworks they will gain not only a steady income but also receive training on communication techniques and local health issues, as well as access to clean water for their own families".

Each water-worker will be provided with a mobile phone, preloaded with a custom Waterworks application that will allow her to take pictures and record stories.

She will share these updates back to her partners on Facebook, demonstrating how their funds are making an impact in her community.


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