Launch of Revolutionary Water Supply Technology in Vulnerable Communities in South Africa
World Vision South Africa and Ford Motor Company Launches Revolutionary Water Supply Technology in Vulnerable Communities in South Africa.
After months of thorough preparations and stakeholder engagement, Ford and World Vision South Africa finally launched a revolutionary water-generating project in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape on 14 June 2019.
The project was launched at the Eastern Cape Motors Ford North End in Port Elizabeth. In attendance were World Vision SA senior officials, namely Mr Chikondi Phiri, the Officer in Charge, and Mr Ernest Fraser, the Advocacy and Technical Programming Team Leader, as well as two World Vision SA project staff.
The launch, and especially the spectacular technology behind it, was a successful exhibition that was greeted with enthusiasm by the invited stakeholders, who included the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Officials, Port Elizabeth District government officials, the media, motor industry delegates, and other delegates.
The $330 000 grant has a 2 year lifespan and is generously funded by the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, in conjunction with Ford Motor Company Fund. World Vision South Africa was delighted to be selected as a winner of the grant in 2018, and is the project implementer. On the other hand, the company Watergen is the supplier of the GENius atmospheric water-generating technology.
The Eastern Cape is one of the drought prone zones in South Africa; hence the province was chosen for implementation of this project. World Vision will be implementing this project in two communities in Port Elizabeth— Kwanobuhle and Utenhage, where we aim to prioritise water provision to schools, early childhood development centres(ECDs), clinics, and vulnerable households, with children as the focus of these relief efforts.
The unique water generating unit unveiled at the launch consists of a high-tech machine mounted on a trailer and towed by a Ford Ranger 2.2 TDCi XL Double Cab that was acquired from Eastern Cape Motors Ford North End in Port Elizabeth. This makes the unit mobile and appropriate for providing safe drinking water in remote areas or to provide emergency water supply during natural disasters or water supply interruptions. This is the primary purpose behind the conception of this tested and approved technology. Ford and World Vision have designed the machine to be powered by a diesel generator mounted on the same trailer, although the machine is also equipped to be powered by 3-phase electricity.
The advanced technology is a GENius atmospheric water-generating technology, patented by the company Watergen, and converts humidity in the air to clean and fresh drinking water. The technology works on a condensation principle and channels atmospheric air through a series of filters and an ultra violet lamp, to remove physical and microbial elements like dust, metal or bacteria, and adding essential minerals so that it’s drinkable. The machine produces up to 900 litres of clean water per day, which is primarily for drinking purposes.
Before the launch took place, World Vision South Africa deployed a well-trained field coordinator to the implementation site in Port Elizabeth to do community profiling and stakeholder engagement, with support of the World Vision National Office.
The field officer had earlier received training from Watergen on how to operate and maintain the expensive equipment. Key community structures, including local councillors, school officials, government health officials and local clinic leadership. A few days prior to the launch, World Vision received the green light from local authorities to conduct a community demonstration of the project, which was successfully done on 12 June at a local clinic – Isolomzi clinic in kwaNobuhle, in Uitenhage, Port Elizabeth.
The demonstration event was well attended by the community, children, adults, as well leadership and staff at the host clinic. The event was jointly steered by Mr Colin Mileman from Ford Communications, and the World Vision team, namely field officer (Mr Thulang Lecheko) and health technical manager (Mr Bernard Mutsago).The event became a barometer of the relevance and potential impact of the project on the lives of residents.
The project purpose, the water generation process, project timelines staff, envisaged community participation, as well as target beneficiaries, were well explained to those present, with a question and answer session at the end. Residents had the opportunity to watch the technology in operation, as well as to touch, feel, smell and drink the ‘wonder water’.
Comments and reactions received and recorded from those present confirmed the anticipated large scale impact of the project on vulnerable schools, ECDs, health facilities, and needy households. It was also clearly evident that the mobile water project will be a solution to pockets of informal dwellings that health authorities pointed to us, that exist and are ever mushrooming in Kwanobuhle and Uitenhage.
At the launch, World Vision had a slot to make a presentation. In his presentation, Mr Chikondi Phiri was emphatic that the project will make a huge impact in the lives of residents, and that effective partnerships and good stewardship were key to the success of the project.
As World Vision we also emphasize that while the government was the long term authority for service delivery, World Vision was there to meet pockets of need in the short term- to complement government’s long term efforts.
World Vision and Ford have built in strong sustainability and accountability mechanisms into the project, including the use of Ford and World Vision volunteers, the establishment or strengthening of water committees, as well as effective Monitoring & Evaluation and reporting.