Sustainable success of the Swarovski Waterschool

In the year 2000, the Swarovski Waterschool program was launched in Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria. Since its inception, some impressive milestones have been reached. The established educational program has taught no less than 90,000 children over the past two decades in Austria alone. However, the Waterschool expanded well beyond the Alpine region and has developed into an international program. Further schools were set up in India, China and Uganda in the first decade, followed later by Brazil, the United States and Thailand. In the past 20 years, over 500,000 children have been taught along seven of the World´s major rivers.

Five years ago, the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Swarovski Waterschool is committed to helping to meet these targets and has already been focusing on several SDGs over the past five years – and will continue to 2030 and beyond. 

Goal 4: Quality Education
Goal 5: Gender Equality
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

These four SDGs flow naturally around the three pillars of the Swarovski Waterschool’s initiative: access to safe water, water education and access, and construction of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.


Addressing long-term goals in everyday practice

The Waterschool staff, including many volunteers, work under the premise that the outcome of each project will positively contribute to the SDGs. The school program is making a positive impact by educating the next generation on sustainable practices, such as water conservation, efficient water management and sanitation. 

Hands-on experiments and group activities are part of this learning, so kids can really see for themselves what’s in their local water or how their collective actions can make a real positive impact on the world they inhabit. 

Last year, the Swarovski Waterschool contributed to the SDGs with several projects, including the following examples across Brazil, China and Uganda.


“It was a great pleasure to mobilize my school and the community to carry out the Ecological Canoeing.
We are giving an example of how it is possible to accomplish positive actions in favor of the environment.
The Waterschool teaches us that we are strong when we are united.”

C. Leberson Braga, 16, Brazil


Goal: Clean Water and Sanitation

In Uganda, the Swarovski Waterschool constructed 10 rainwater tanks and filters, enabling 5,500 children and 300 teachers to enjoy safe water at school. Some of the children even carry five-liter jerrycans of the filtered water home. Some community members access water from the school water tanks which are nearer than local streams and provide safer, uncontaminated water. Waterborne diseases among schoolchildren diminished with these actions, improving school attendance and academic performance. The relationship between the schools and communities has also flourished as a result of the project.

Partnership for the Goals:

The local Swarovski Waterschool in Mianyang, Sichuan province, China, introduced the Furongxi river care project. This mobilized seven townships along the Furongxi river to take action and introduce a trash management program. The objective was to collaboratively reduce the amount of garbage discarded into the river. The local government has reported that, so far, the project has benefited over 200,000 people in these townships.

The Swarovski Waterschool continues to provide safe water across all of these regions, educate future generations and work harmoniously with local communities and partners – all providing a very optimistic view for meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals! 


“When the Swarovski Waterschool came and implemented the project, the illnesses became history.
Thank you for providing us with water filters and cups.”

Headteacher, Bushere Primary School, Uganda