Everything begins with water...
Water is a basic need. And because it is also our field of work, every year we support a number of projects related to drinking water and sanitation in developing countries. We do this via NGOs and voluntary organisations in Flanders which offer us the opportunity to contribute to a project both financially and with our know-how. In 2019 we worked on 5 such projects.
Join For Water
Join For Water is a Belgian NGO fully focused on water. Aquafin has been working with the organisation, previously known as Protos, for several years now. Since 2019, collaboration has been through Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs, an organisation of which Aquafin is a key member.
In 2019, Aquafin supported the work of Join For Water in Mali, one of the world's least developed countries. Despite the unstable political situation, the NGO is setting up projects for the sustainable management of drinking water systems and sanitation in Bamako and the Mopti region. The focus here is on building latrines and organising the safe, professional collection and processing of their contents.
Young Water Solutions
Aquafin is partnering the 3-year Young Water Fellowship programme of Young Water Solutions. Every year, the organisation launches a worldwide call for enterprising young people between 18 and 30 years old who want to start a social enterprise in their home region to solve a local water problem.
The 10 most promising projects are selected. These young people then receive professional training on setting up a business and on many different aspects of sustainability. The last part of the training takes place in Belgium, including the pitching event for all partners. In addition to the unique training, each Fellow is given 5,000 euros as starting capital.
In 2019 we supported:
- Babu Marie from India: for the production of a bio-sand filter to remove harmful bacteria from the water. The filters are to be made by Dalit women and young people, presenting them with an opportunity to set up a business themselves.
- Jennifer Colpas from Colombia: for the launch of affordable, ecological 'bathrooms' consisting of a “dry toilet" (no water needed) and a shower. This solution is intended not just to save water, but also to protect women from sexual violence, as the bathroom gives them the necessary privacy.
- Segun Ogunlana from Nigeria: 3.3 million people in Nigeria have no access to a toilet, meaning that they relieve themselves in the nature. Segun wants to change this, first by raising people's awareness and second by installing "dry toilets". The emptying of the toilets and processing of the contents into fertiliser for agriculture are part of his concept.
Three Aquafin employees mentored these Fellows, supporting them with professional advice.
Kitanda - Kenya
Following a first successful project in the area of Ahero and Ayweyo in Kenya, Aquafin is now also supporting Kitanda's water project in the Bamba region, where some 3,000 people live in around 80 homesteads. Even in 2020, women still have to walk 17 kilometres every day to get water. The water is not even clean and safe, as it comes from a pool also used by animals.
At the beginning of 2020, Kitanda had a well drilled, with a view to giving the villagers access to water within one kilometre. Alongside the well, Kitanda is also focusing on the collection and use of rainwater. Moreover, each homestead will be getting its own latrine, meaning that villagers won't have to relieve themselves in the nature.
With the sponsorship money received from Aquafin, Kitanda is able to cover part of the cost of these projects. During a next working trip, three colleagues will accompany the non-profit association, rolling up their sleeves and getting down to work there.
Water for Mabele
Water for Mabele has its origins in the Zuidactie (Action for the South) project run by the Xaverius College in Antwerp. The organisation is supporting the Collège N'temo, a hospital and primary schools in Kasongo-Lunda, a town in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Water for Mabele project focuses specifically on drinking water supplies and sanitation for the hospital, the nursing school and the local population. A pump and solar panels have been installed to pump up groundwater.
Aquafin volunteers helped design a payment system for drawing water at 4 tapping points for residents. The money sponsored by Aquafin is to be used for the infrastructure needed to collect and use rainwater.
World Mission Aid (Wereldmissiehulp) - Uganda
In an existing school with 400 students, the mud huts are to be replaced by brick buildings. The project is being supported by experienced Wereldmissiehulp staff.
Using a high-performance nanofilter, water from the river and rainwater will be treated to obtain drinking water. Alongside the financial help, Aquafin staff contributed their know-how in the selection and ordering of the filter.