Within days of returning home from a trip to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake stay-at-home mother Morée Scofield knew something needed to be done to promote change in the stricken country—within weeks, she had begun to act, and Dlo Water was born.
“I was at this orphanage, Jumecort,” Scofield says, “and there was a [12-year-old] girl, Reneese, who had a [7-month-old] baby named Kimberly. She became pregnant with her at 11—she was walking to get water and, as it often is in those countries, it’s just never safe when you walk three or four miles away from home. She was attacked and gang-raped and became pregnant, all because she was just trying to get water. I thought: This is ridiculous, it’s sad, it’s heartbreaking. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t try to do something to help.”
With a clear idea of the need established, Scofield began to figure out how to address it.
“I wasn’t familiar with nonprofit work, and I wasn’t comfortable with it,” Scofield says, “but I was comfortable with advertising and marketing because I had a background in that. I could sell a product.”
Tackling aid for the global water crisis, Scofield decided to focus her efforts on producing an eco-friendly line of bottled water. She found a company who manufactured a 100 percent biodegradable bottle and began the process of marketing locally processed bottled water for a global change. The bottles are made in Arizona, filled in Missouri and then sold—with 100 percent of the profits donated to organizations that are fighting the world water crisis.
Social enterprise is a muddied phrase in the world of social justice. Proponents tout its unique ability to support established causes—the other side is not so enthusiastic.
“I look at companies like TOMS—anytime someone is successful, they get looked at through a microscope,” Scofield says. “I guess I wish people wouldn’t do that, because there’s always a story behind why you decided to start. If you listen to the founder’s story, it’s always, ‘I saw something, and I knew I had to do something about it.’ ”
Dlo Water partners with The Global Orphan Project, Compassion International and Outreach International, organizations that already have people on the ground in places like Haiti. For her, social enterprise is about using her business background and marketing skills to make a real, tangible difference.
“[I just wanted] to help. Not to solve the problem, because I know I can’t do it by myself, and there’s a lot of amazing organizations out there, especially in the water sector doing really great things. I never wanted to try to be them, I wanted to try and help them.”