The Fritz Water Vest is proof of how a simple, yet ingenious, idea can improve daily life for millions of people at a low price.
Its creator, Fritz Yambach, a professor at the San Jose University in California, came up with the idea: upon seeing how difficult it was for millions of people living in devastated or very remote areas to gain access to drinking water, he sought to devise a means of easily carrying the difficult-to-obtain water over long distances. Instead of using heavy, cumbersome and often unhygienic buckets and containers, why not transport the water distributed evenly across your body, thus keeping your hands free and not being so burdened by the weight!
He called on the services of several companies specialised in packaging and designed a vest with multilayer nylon pockets which can be pulled over the head like a lifejacket. Durable, very lightweight, anti-microbial and anti-mould, ergonomic and re-usable, it can be used to easily and safely transport up to nine kilos (nine litres or 20 pounds) of water.
This simple-looking, yet highly-technological, item could make life easier for over 200 million people around the world who have to walk kilometres to get drinking water. Most of them are women and children, who spend 25% of their time carrying heavy loads on the backs or on their heads in an inefficient, dangerous and counterproductive manner.
The water vest is currently being tested with the support of humanitarian organisations in Ethiopia, Burundi, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The Fritz Water Vest recently won the highest award at the international DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation 2017.