With less than one inch of rain water annually, Lima, Peru is one of the driest places on earth. It is located on the edge of the Atacama Desert and many of its people draw from contaminated wells. It was estimated that 700,000 of its citizens have no access to clean water at all.
The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) was experiencing a drought as well, only it was one of a different kind. Their enrollment roster was withering. It seemed that not many young people in the area wanted to become engineers.
Solving Two Problems With One Billboard
In an effort to draw students into their technology program, UTEC partnered with the ad agency Mayo DraftFCB. Together, they made something that not only illustrated UTEC’s prowess as a technology institute, but connected in a major way with the suffering community. They built a billboard that pulls water from the air and condenses it into drinking water.
Utilizing the Environment to Problem-Solve
This idea is logical for Lima because the humidity in their atmosphere climbs to ninety-eight percent in the mornings. UTEC built something that literally pulls water out of thin—or shall we say, thick—air. The true beauty of this billboard is that instead of viewing Lima’s climate as something to contend against, they created a symbiotic relationship with it.
From December 2012 to March 2013, the billboard generated about 2,500 gallons of drinkable water, or about twenty gallons a day. Mayo DraftFCB said that number was equal to the needs of “hundreds of families per month.”
Reports from UTEC indicated that enrollment numbers increased by twenty-eight percent since the billboard was installed in Lima. According to Alejandro Aponte, creative director at Mayo DraftFCB, “We wanted future students to see how engineers can also solve social needs in daily basis kinds of situations.”
UTEC created a solution that tackled both their dwindling enrollment problem and a much bigger worldwide crisis. ATS believes that in order to truly solve a problem, sometimes you have to think outside of the realm of normal solutions.
Looking at a problem a different way may quench someone else’s thirst besides your own.
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