Water: our most precious resource


Dear Friend/Reader, the role of water as a precious resource vital to the whole of the human race has never been so critical as in this historical moment. Its unfair distribution across the various parts of the planet (1.5 billion people are without access to drinking water), together with continually diminishing availability due to climate change, is causing dramatic situations in the poorer regions of the world. The increasing frequency of periods of drought and flooding, in fact, wreaks its worst effects on rural populations in poor and/or developing nations, where falling crop and livestock yields are having devastating consequences in terms of food production, health, education and sustainability. These issues are closely related in fact and, since it is women who spend most time supporting the family and its basic needs, the critical water supply situation is having a negative impact on the family economy, education and length and quality of life. Flooding is another serious problem, even in areas more advanced and closer to us, as unfortunately seen in Liguria and Toscana and Northern Europe just recently. Fondazione Zegna has been working for years to support major international associations engaged in ensuring access to safe water for the poorest populations in Africa. In 2014, we worked with AMREF to complete a project to reduce the health risks linked to contaminated water and improve infantile mortality rates. In addition to the construction of the Enderkesi aqueduct, in Kajiado District in Kenya, three wells were built to provide local communities with water to drink and for cultivating fruit and vegetables. While with Care & Share we built two deep wells for rice cultivation in Andhra Pradesh State in India. These wells are indispensable for ensuring two harvests a year, without which Care & Share wouldn’t be able to distribute 2,500 meals a day to the children living in Dadd’s Home and Butterfly Hill, and in neighboring villages. Since its set-up, the Foundation’s activities have concentrated on supporting long-term projects that can be constantly monitored in step with the changing needs of the communities receiving aid and of the countries in which they’re located. Projects that aim to become self-sufficient but which, due to the various issues that continue to threaten them, require prolonged and wider reaching support. It is therefore indispensable to cultivate relations with local or international partners, thanks to whom we were also able to act in humanitarian emergencies in places like Haiti, Palestine (Gaza Strip) and Turkey. Excess of water, however, can also be a serious problem. In this context, Fondazione Zegna made its position clear by entering a strong collaborative relationship with FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano, in Liguria. September 2015 will see the inauguration of the first stage of the “Case Lovara” reclamation project at Punta Mesco, a promontory in the Cinque Terre with over 44 hectares in an advanced state of degradation posing a high risk of hydrogeological instability. As well as guaranteeing proper conservation of the former rural landscape and protection of biodiversity, the project will consolidate the land by rebuilding the typical dry stone walls required to contain soil erosion. It will also serve as a model for new projects in other similar areas in the Park, in line with the concept of knowledge transfer I mentioned at the start. Transfer of know-how underpins another two of Fondazione Zegna’s projects, these relating to the world of tailoring. Since 2002 we have been cooperating with Care & Share in the Atelier Zegna Project in Buddavaram, in Krishna District, India, to train and place young women in this profession, thus giving them a real opportunity for economic and social advancement. A similar objective is being pursued in the San Patrignano Community, where a course for women loom operators funded by Fondazione Zegna and Fondazione Giulia Maramotti offers girls working in the Community’s textiles department the opportunity to learn and perfect fabric creation and processing techniques. Here too, the ultimate aim is to enable these young women to enter the labor market. Anna Zegna President Fondazione Zegna

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