Tricia Compas-Markman was in Haiti after a devastating earthquake killed more than 160,000 people when she finally realised her idea to change the world was a winner. “Even after a year, people were still living in tents, still affected by cholera, still very much affected by the earthquake,” the engineer and entrepreneur recalled.
The 31-year-old American traveled to the Caribbean nation in 2011 with relief groups and trained local communities to use an innovative bag she designed to collect, transport and treat drinking water in disaster zones.
“People told us they had to queue in long lines to get a couple of water bottles and explained how the waterbags could help them,” she said while visiting Australia last week.
“That really gave me the motivation and inspiration to say: yes, we’re going down the right track and this is a system that’s very much needed.”
Mrs Compas-Markman first envisioned the clean water solution in 2007 while studying in California and expected the project to take “a couple of months”.