Chris Harris, 35, has worked for Jaguar Land Rover for 19 years and oversees planned maintenance activities and refurbishment projects at the company’s Solihull plant.  Chris is also scheduled to graduate from Coventry University this autumn with a BSc with Honours in Engineering, which he is completing as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s sponsored degree programme.

“I didn’t know much about the project or Jaguar Land Rover’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme before I got involved in this opportunity. I’d been involved in community outreach work before in Solihull, but this was an opportunity on a very different scale. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it turned out to be a fantastic and very humbling experience and it has changed the way I think about water resources and what else we can do as a responsible business”.  

“On arriving in Bungoma and visiting our first schools, it became clear to me there wasn’t a shortage of water in the area, it just wasn’t available from safe drinking sources. Seeing the children collect water from the local rivers or from unprotected boreholes brought home to me that there was a great need for access to safe water. After installing the LifeStraw Community water purifiers and seeing the children enjoying their first glass of safe water, it brought into clear focus for me the impact that we can have as a responsible business through supporting smart technology projects like this”.

“This experience has raised my awareness not only of the importance of clean, safe water but the importance of sanitation training and access to education too. This experience has really opened my eyes to what our company can do to help others around the world and has shown me the impact we’re delivering with our partners first-hand”.

“It’s inspired me to look at what else we can do as a business and to champion our environmental innovation work. Since returning from Bungoma, I’ve been reviewing our water usage at our Solihull plant and am getting involved in our Water Focus group too. I’ve presented to over one thousand people at Town Hall meetings and corporate inductions to share the impact of the programme, to help my colleagues understand the value of what we’re doing.

As a growing business, we have a responsibility to invest in and help communities –in countries where we work now and those emerging markets where we may grow in the future. I can see how our target to create new opportunities for  12 million people by 2020 makes sense for our business and now, after this visit, I can see how, through our Global CSR programme, it is highly achievable. I’m hugely proud to be a part of it and it’s great to see we’re leaving a legacy by helping children grow and develop at school and not get sick from drinking dirty water”.