H2O Grid Application

Help reaching areas lacking clean water and sanitation faster

My name is Nourane Owais. I’m a senior Computer Science student who likes reading, sketching, photography, sports and blogging. I blog on Zawaya (www.zawaya.me); my personal website.
It all started in summer 2011 when my colleagues and I decided to work on a project/idea that can serve the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition theme “Imagine a World Where Technology Helps Solve the Toughest Problems”.
My team and I thought of world hunger, how it starts and how it can end. Our first conclusion was water.
Water is life’s most basic need, but there’s water crisis in the world, nearly 1 billion people live without clean drinking water, especially in developing areas such as Africa, south-east Asia and Latin America. Water affects everything: health, education, poverty, women and children. Most likely, families facing water crisis live on less than a dollar per day, they do not have clean water to drink, women and children are off to collect water daily. Many walk up to 3 hours a day to the nearest water resource exposed to all kind of germs such as swamps, ponds or rivers.
The time women and children spend to collect water is the time they can’t spend learning to read, earn an income or take care of their family. In many areas, the time the woman spends to collect water is longer than the time she spends doing any other activity during the day, and the water collected is not even safe; it causes diarrhea, dehydration and even death! Almost a BILLION people live this way.
This is the reason why we thought of a solution that can help these families.
Surfing the internet has become a basic habit everywhere around the globe. Now with the recent technologies and new hardware such as laptops, smartphones, tablets and notes… accessing the internet has never been easier and faster anywhere and anytime. So why not use this advantage to help reaching areas lacking clean water and sanitation faster?
H2O Grid was our idea. It is a simple online application that can be downloaded on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs. H2O Grid performs 4 functions:

  • The 1st function is “The Pin”, whenever the user is around/aware of an area that needs help to make clean water and sanitation reach it, he can simply pin on H2O Grid’s live map. The area pinned on the map will be marked as a place facing a water crisis. The more the pins, the more that area is prioritized and needs faster help. Organizations such as NGOs or the UN can retrieve the data collected about those pinned areas and help them be more aware of where and when they should help.


  • The 2nd function is “The Donation” where the user can simply donate money for the cause online via credit cards, by sending a text message or through the branches of the organizations that collect donations (their data and address are available on the H2O Grid application)


  • The 3rd function is “The Volunteer”; there are a lot of people with youth spirit and positive energy who are always there around the globe. These spirits, always, love to help those in need. This is why we added the volunteer feature to help guide the energetic and enthusiastic youth. The user simply fills an application with a little bit of information and tells us when is his free time. So whenever there is a water project in process, we can always ask for their physical help to dig water for the helpless poor.


  • The 4th function is “The Game”, which is basically a simple game, both educative and fun! The game helps the user know more information about water, how precious it is for the mankind, share the knowledge and encourage more people to join the cause.

H2O Grid is simply the link between the areas that face water crisis and the people and organizations that can help them. The application provides more information about the areas lacking water, collects donation money for the water projects, gathers volunteers to execute them and helps share the knowledge and good deeds through a fun game.
Our project received many encouragements from our managers at Microsoft during the internship and it is now under construction. I have been asked to showcase H2O Grid during my internship and later in different events at university and recently at the Microsoft’s Innovate for Good (Imagine IT) event held in April 2012, in Movenpick, 6 Oct.
Soon enough the application will be launched in the online markets. We can bring clean water much closer to the people who need it, to create opportunity, get freedom to go to school, to get an education, to start a business, to raise a family…Africa alone can save 40 Billion hours each year!
Clean water means less disease, less money spent on medicine and more money for books and school uniforms.
The water crisis is vast but we can solve it. Because water changes EVERYTHING.

Average: 4 (4 votes)
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.