London Calling: What inspired you to set up GiveMeTap?
Sanum Jain: Edwin, The Water Guy, founded GiveMeTap while he was writing his PhD at Manchester University. He started exercising a lot and realized he was drinking a lot more water. As a student, he found it really expensive to buy bottled water on the go and noticed a huge stigma attached to asking for tap water in cafes. He set up GiveMeTap in order to eliminate these problems.
LC: How would you explain the concept to someone on the Tube?
SJ: It’s a really simple concept! Almost every tube commuter has experienced the stuffy, uncomfortable conditions of hot rush hour. Buying water to keep hydrated can be really expensive and also wasteful. We’ve set up a network of over 100 cafés/eateries (we call them Taps) in London where you can refill your GiveMeTap bottle on the go, without the obligation of buying anything. No questions. No hassle. We’re growing our network of cafes extensively through our new campaign, MindTheTap, so that you are never more than 4 minutes away from free water once you get of the tube.
LC: The project also provides clean drinking water for Ghanaians. How exactly does this work?
SJ: Water accessibility is such a huge problem for many impoverished countries, especially in remote villages. That’s why for every GiveMeTap bottle purchased; we are able to provide one person in Africa access to clean, safe drinking water. Our latest project allowed us to build a water pump servicing a village of around 850 people in the Upper West Region of Ghana. We’ve managed to fund a handful of other projects too in different areas such as Namibia and Malawi. It’s brilliant to see these pumps get installed. It keeps me motivated everyday and reminds me why we do what we do.
LC: What do you think it can do for Londoners?
SJ: Hopefully, Londoners with a GiveMeTap bottle can reduce their plastic waste consumption and also save a lot of money. You can think about it in terms of a £1 bottle of water. The GiveMeTap bottle is only £12/13 and you can refill that hundreds of times, so you do make up your money fast! I’m hoping it will also change people’s attitude towards water. Tap water quality is great in this country and we should make use of this fact.
LC: Will the project still take place during the winter months?
SJ: OF COURSE! Staying hydrated isn’t only a summer issue. It is important no matter what the weather. We’ve been targeting Zone 1 tube stations during the summer but over time, we’re looking to expand further out. The tubes are always stuffy and temperatures can be really high underground even in the winter.
LC: Where next – will you look to expand to the rest of the UK? Or even globally?
We’re one step ahead of you! GiveMeTap started in Manchester, so our café network there is almost as big as London’s. We’ve even tapped up Lancaster, Bristol, Bath and even Colorado, USA. We’re always open to demand as well. People can suggest a tap via our website and we then set out to get that café/restaurant on board. It’s been such an exciting year as we’ve managed to expand far and wide, growing bigger and helping the world stay hydrated one bottle at a time.
Find out more about GiveMeTap, and get yourself a bottle here.