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Cynthia Koenig

Cynthia Koenig started Wello to help the one in six people who don't have easy access to water. She is bringing a rollable, high capacity tank, the WaterWheel, to communities in India, and partnering with non-profit and government groups to make it affordable.

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Cynthia Koenig
“Less time transporting water means that women have more time to spend on more important things, and more water means they and their families stay healthier.”

Cynthia Koenig didn't think of her social venture Wello as her main gig, but the truth dawned on her in an unlikely place: a job interview. "Mid-way through the interview, the recruiter asked me why i was applying for a job when i already had one at Wello," she says. She stumbled through the rest of the interview, and left with a new resolve. "From that moment forward, Wello ceased to be an idea, or a project i worked on in my free time, and became a full-time pursuit."

According to Koenig, for one in six people around the globe, getting water requires hours of waiting, walking, and carrying. This necessary work is most often done by women and children. It stops women from using that time to make a living, and it stops children from being able to play or go to school. The mission of Wello is to make clean water accessible to more people. Koenig's solution, the WaterWheel, is a rollable tank of water, that can carry three or four times as much (50 liters) as typical jugs. Koenig says the WaterWheel "enables a person to transport water more quickly and with less physical strain than they do today."

Currently Wello is operating a pilot project in India, looking for the best way to get the venture on a sustainable financial path, and trying to keep the price point low. Wello is spreading the word through different nonprofit organizations, but eventually hopes to team with the Indian government, and the Indian postal system as well. Koenig wasn't always sure the venture would get this far. After Wello missed out on a major grant opportunity, she doubted whether she could keep moving the venture forward. Eventually, she thought better of it: "I realized that we'd come a long way by being creative and resourceful," she says, "and giving up was the furthest thing from my mind."