Helen's the single mother of two energetic boys, Dembe and Kato, and sweet baby Sarah. The boys attend a small school in the northern Uganda town of Gulu, and Sarah spends her days in a sling on Helen's side.
Helen wakes before dawn and, with Sarah in tow, treks three miles to wait in line with hundreds of other women to collect water from the local lake. She fills 20-liter jerry cans with water for drinking, cooking, gardening and washing clothes. There is a river closer to the family home, but Helen and her children have gotten very sick in the past from the dirty water.
Helen's story is one of several hypothetical scenarios given to Kohler associates as part of the Innovation for Good (IfG) immersion experience. This particular situation may be hypothetical, but it very accurately represents the situation more than 17 million women and girls face in Africa alone. Through immersion experiences, associates begin to better understand global challenges, which is a critical part of developing products like the KOHLER® Clarity™ water filter.
Immersion experiences let associates express interest in working on an IfG project that may be far out of the scope of their day-to-day job responsibilities. "IfG experiences help us bring passionate people together to develop new ideas," said IfG core team member Nona Beining. "What resonated most with me at the retreat was hearing how we're reshaping our mission of 'gracious living for all' to encompass a much broader, global perspective that has such potential to impact the world's population," said Kohler associate Jessica Drecktrah who attended a 2017 experience.