In countless cases, people have to travel for miles – on foot and across dangerous territory – to get to a water source.
This is also true in many parts of rural Mpumalanga, where the burden of fetching and carrying water often falls to the women, children and elders. It’s a strenuous, time consuming task, and often a dangerous one that leaves women and children vulnerable to attack and harassment.
Kruger Gate Hotel, situated on the banks of the Sabie River, employs people from various villages around the iconic Kruger National Park. The hotel is committed to playing its part in empowering and uplifting local communities and one of the ways it is doing so is through its partnership with Innovation Africa to bring water to the people of Mpumalanga.
Anton Gillis, CEO of Kruger Gate Hotel, says they first became aware of the lack of access to water when hotel staff started asking if they could take water home from the property. “Staff are welcome to take water but it’s hardly practical, or enough, to carry 20 litres of water home every day so we set out to find a sustainable solution that would ensure easy access to safe water.”
Enter Innovation Africa South Africa (iASA) a non-profit organisation that brings Israeli solar, water and agricultural technologies to rural African communities. Each of iASA’s water systems are equipped with a solar pump, solar panels and water towers. The system pumps around 30 000 litres of water per day, distributing aquifer water to at least 10 taps throughout a given village with pipes spanning up to 6 kilometres.
“This is the ideal solution to a very real and very serious challenge, and it’s wonderful to see how technology can be leveraged smartly and sustainably to solve this problem. We’re proud of your partnership with iASA and intend to bring water to more communities in Mpumalanga in the near future,” Gillis shares.
What’s more, the iASA solution is focused on local empowerment and uses local expertise and workers from the community to get the project up and running. iASA’s sustainability model includes the formation of a committee for each project – with members selected from within the community – to manage the project, thereby allowing the community to take ownership of what is rightly theirs.
“This initiative is about so much more than simply gifting the community water. It’s about the dignity found in having access to a basic human right, and about taking ownership of a natural resource in a sustainable way for the collective good of the community,” Gillis believes.
Since 2008 Innovation Africa has brought water and light to 4 million people across 10 African countries. The organisation partners with donors to realise the projects and has since January 2023 completed 136 water projects in South Africa with many more in the pipeline.