18 April 2023

According to an ESI Africa study, South Africa is fast approaching physical water scarcity. The study estimates that by 2030 the country will have almost 17% in water deficit, the shortage mostly affects rural communities. This is why Kusini Water Foundation and Absa collaborated to launch a water project site and bring clean water to Kariega within the Nelson Mandela Metro.

The water project will see the installation of a community borehole at Dalrose Primary school. The innovative solution includes a 5kva solar with remote monitoring and backup power, 200LPH water treatment system, four water storage tanks, and 21 taps distribution system.

As part of the sustainability of the solution and to ensure skills transfer, the project will recruit 10 young people from the community aged between 18 and 35 as water champions. The champions will receive water filtration training, be provided with technical and moral support, as well as give them skills that enable them to conserve water in their communities.

The 2023 Kusini Water Champions programme kicked off in Limpopo last month. The second Kusini Water Champions bootcamp is currently taking place in the Eastern Cape in Gqeberha within the Nelson Mandela Metro /Kariega in partnership with Absa.  

The Water Champions is spearheaded by Kusini Water, a social enterprise which builds water treatment systems from nanotechnology and macadamia nutshells. The annual programme is focused on skills development in the water sector, across all South Africa’s nine provinces.  

“We are delighted for the water solution to be provided for the community in collaboration with Absa. Access to clean water and sanitation remains a priority and this programme allows us to partner with young people from diverse communities and share critical skills,” says Murendeni Mafumo, Kusini Water Founder.

The Water Champions Programme is a great skills development opportunity for unemployed youth in South Africa. It provides them with training in water technology, NQF accreditation, and economic opportunities. The top 10 successful candidates from each province will be participating online in the first half of the bootcamp, and the top four will be selected to join the in-person bootcamp where they will be trained to run and own water kiosks.

The ultimate goal is to improve their economic participation by training the aspiring water champions to run and own water kiosk businesses in their communities. By the end of 2023, over 165 young people between the ages of 18 and 35 will have gone through the training.

Absa Regional Executive for the Eastern and Southern Cape for Everyday Banking Physical Channels Pholushi Malesa said Absa’s investment towards this initiative forms part of its commitment to being an active force for good in society. We are proud to be part of a solution that not only provides reliable access to water for communities and provides youth with skills to enable them to be part of water sustainability efforts.

“We believe in playing an enabling role in community projects that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact, while making significant progress towards the area of sustainability and in doing so, empowering the lives of the people who are part of those communities,” Malesa said.

Over the past six years, 90 South Africans have been trained, creating 22 new jobs in the various communities.  Seven new kiosks have been developed and currently supply safe, clean water to communities.