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Modernization and Improvement
Agents of Change – Alexandra Chung and Sarah McGuinness

Agents of Change – Alexandra Chung and Sarah McGuinness

I didn’t like that one
in four Australian children were overweight or obese,
so I decided to change it. The research showed that
children from disadvantaged backgrounds were consuming
more unhealthy food and drinks, and they were also more likely
to be overweight or obese. If you drive through
disadvantaged neighborhoods it’s much harder to find
healthy and affordable foods to provide for your family. A bottle of soft drink costs
less than a bottle of water. Parents are finding it very
hard to make healthy choices for their children when
unhealthy food products are being marketed to their
kids everywhere they turn. We can tell people, eat
your fruit and vegetables, do some exercise, that’s
the key to a healthy life, but really, if we tell people
that and then send them straight back to the environment
that they’ve come from, that’s contributing to their
overweight and obesity, it’s very difficult for them to change. – I didn’t like the fact that
one in 10 people worldwide still don’t have reliable
access to safe water. So I decided to change it. The technology we’re using is called riverbank filtration or RBF. Riverbank filtration works
by drawing river water through the riverbank
sediment towards a well. It’s a natural process
that removes bacteria and other contaminants,
and although it needs an engineer to build and deliver, once it’s in place it’s natural, it’s regenerable, and
it can remain in place and be operated by communities. The conditions they’re living in are really difficult for us to understand. These are households that
don’t have running water, that don’t have toilets. While we’ve delivered safe water what we’ve found is many villagers don’t want to drink the water, because they feel like making any changes to their primary drinking water source will actually make them sick. Only by understanding that
context can we really deliver the technology in a way that’s
going to be sustainable. That for me is the most
important part of the research, the fact that we’re actually
connecting to people, understanding the context and trying to make a difference to them. – If we can make it easier
for people to eat well, and be physically active,
by putting policies in place that change the environment, then we’re giving people a much better chance of being healthy.

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