Greif PackH2O Water Backpack
David Fischer, CEO of Greif
Backpack designed to transport water from source to community
Greif PackH2O is a collapsible, adjustable water backpack designed to carry up to 20 litres of water over long distances. As of 2020, this product is discontinued.
This product is distributed globally.
Greif worked closely with professional organisations such as USAID, the Clinton Global Initiative, and Habitat for Humanity International to develop the product. The company partners with NGOs and other organisations including Partners for Care to distribute the packs.
A 10 USD donation can provide a family with a PackH2O.
The target users are people who need to walk significant distances to collect water. The direct customer would be NGOs, non profits and professional organisations working in disaster relief and in development who would distribute to the end-user.
Mass produced in Turkey by Greif.
Greif partners with locally established NGOs that distribute the PackH2Os and train users in how to use and sterilise them.
As of 2018, approximately 225,000 units have been distributed.
The backpack can hold up to 20 L of water. It is designed to be adjusted to the size and strength of the user, distributing the weight evenly. A wide opening allows for quick filling of the pack while the roll-down top and protected spout reduces water loss and contamination of the water. The pack is made from industrial-grade flexible woven polyethylene with a removable PET inner liner which can be sanitised in the sun. The pack is UV resistant, leak proof and puncture resistant. It is 7 times lighter and smaller than typical plastic jerry cans.
Infographic on how to use PackH2O:
Greif’s NGO partners provide training and education on how to use the PackH2O.
The designers aim to provide a means to safe water transportation and storage.
MIT D-Lab conducted a study in 2014 to investigate water collection, transport, storage and treatment in Kenya and to gain an understanding of PackH2O usage. Their study found that the majority of PackH2O recipients used the pack mainly, or solely, for water storage.
Research conducted by Andrea Martinsen et al. into the use of the PackH2O in rural Haiti concluded that after 6 months, the pack was not widely used by recipients to collect water with many considering it too heavy and difficult to carry compared to traditional head-loading methods. The study proposes that it may be more useful in emergency situations or in communities where loads are traditionally carried on the back, however, more research would be needed.
MIT D-Lab and Greif conducted field surveys in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity.
Collected water may sometimes contain contaminants and harmful bacteria. The pack does not treat any harmful substances that may be present in the water, although the liner can be disinfected once the water is removed from the pack.
The backpack may be heavy when full so training should be provided by distributing organisations.
Disinfection tablets, filters, or any other means of water purification may be used to ensure safe, potable water.
Al-Dabbah, A., 2016, Omnipreneurship: An Organized Approach to Living A Life of Meaning.
Martinsen, A. L. et al., 2019, Alternative Water Transport and Storage Containers: Assessing Sustained Use of the PackH2O in Rural Haiti, The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 100(4), pp. 981-987. Doi:10.4269/ajtmh.18-0228.
Greif conducted field surveys, and used the information to provide multiple iterations of the design to create the current product.
MIT D-Lab conducted a 5 week needs assessment in Kenya in 2014, using a variety of qualitative methods to collect information.
Andrea L. Martinsen et al. conducted a 6 month evaluation in Haiti in 2014/15, to assess both self-reported and observed use of the pack in over 400 households.
Video about PackH2O.
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