‘A bottle with a mission’: NM entrepreneurs fight to provide clean water in Africa

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s said that the best way to start a business is to solve a problem, and that’s exactly what the young men who started Didomi intend to do. Didomi is an Albuquerque company that partners with organizations that aim to combat the global water crisis.

For co-founder Anaa Jibicho, the company’s mission is deeply personal. Jibicho is a refugee from Ethiopia and has already lost two siblings to sickness related to drinking unsafe water. Jibicho became ill himself, but was able to recover when he came to the United States.

Now he wants to make sure something like that doesn’t happen to anyone else. “I realized I had to help the community I came from,” Jibicho said. “I think the water crisis is one of the biggest crises of our generation. Over one billion people don’t have access to clean, safe water and unsafe water actually kills more than war itself.”

Didomi, which means “to give” in Greek, sells water bottles and uses 50% of profits from every bottle to provide 10 years of water access to someone in Africa who needs it through technology provided by WaterisLife. WaterisLife provides clean drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need.

While attending school at Pamona College in California, Jibicho met future Didomi team member Brian Bishop who grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from Albuquerque Academy. Bishop convinced the team to make Albuquerque its home base. “Out of anywhere in the United States, New Mexico understands the water crisis,” Bishop said. “I know the community is really awesome and will come together to support this idea.”

Didomi uses the same manufacturer as Hydroflask, so they have the same quality of bottles as their competitor. “We don’t sacrifice the quality of our bottle, we take that really seriously,” Jibicho said.

Since the company’s launch this summer, they were able to use the funds generated from their bottle sales with WaterisLife to provide 300 students in Kenya with straw filters that allow them to drink clean water from whatever water source they have. Bishop said children can’t reach their full potential if their sole focus is attaining clean water for survival. Jibicho hopes this venture will allow children to learn and grow without worrying about finding clean water to drink.

Bishop said especially after 2020, people will understand the need to reach out and help however they can. “People want to make a difference, people want to make an impact in the world they just might not know how,” Bishop said. “You’re going to buy a bottle anyways, so why not have that bottle actually make an impact.”

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