The Communicator in you

The premise we challenge: One mantra of the water community, faced with billions of people without truly reliable water, is to call for ‘behaviour change’. That change, it is said, is required in hygiene practices and in understanding the risks of unsafe water. Yes, but wagging fingers will only work with a few. Admonition + Exhortation is not Adoption Assurance. What an equation!

We believe that the adoption of safe water consumption will only be sustainably secured when, yes, the means and the water are accessible, and when people are genuinely motivated, be it by desire, satisfaction or prestige.

They certainly don’t respond to paternalistic messages about ‘this is good for you’ or ‘this is not good for you’. People have a bit more common sense than that! What people need is something that they can use easily and is something nice to have. They don’t need me or another social marketer to tell them what’s good for them and what isn’t. So I would say that social marketing is best done by peers.

—Joe de Gabriele, owner, SAFI Solutions, Malawi. Joe is a social marketer turned water filter trader, selling 15,000 in one deal alone in 2013.

This quote is included in issue 3 of our Upscale magazine, in our video ‘When WHEN came home’, the interview podcast ‘A Word with Joe’ and in other parts of our video suite.  His son, 9, helped to re-design his first generation water filter. See Upscale 2 magazine.

Scaling up access to safe water