In August 2017, a group of volunteers from the Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF), WWIF South Africa and H2O International pulled together for a ten-day road trip across southern Africa deploying water filtration technology (or wells) in developing areas battling the clean water crisis. What this trip also achieved was to provide donors and sponsors with the opportunity to be hands-on in deploying filtration technology and see first-hand the impact of their donations.
This was the second annual journey, dubbed the 10-1-10 Africa Expedition, and the route took the team through rural South Africa and Swaziland to areas like Usuthu Gorge, Lavumisa, Oshoek, Hazyview, Thonga Village and Komatipoort. The focus was on providing and installing wells at crèches and schools where the majority of the local community would congregate at mealtimes, and alongside the filtration solution, volunteers had the opportunity to discuss hygiene and sanitation with young minds who would one day pass this knowledge on to their own families.
Along the route the expedition team saw around 200 water filters deployed in new communities, directly impacting the lives of 2 000 people. They also visited the sites of previous deployments in order to check water quality and equipment.
Wishing Well purifiers use low-technology biofoam bucket systems that are a simple yet effective method for reducing bacteria and viruses in water. Flocculant is added at first to bind unwanted contaminants together that eventually settle at the bottom of the bucket and the system then uses gravity rather than pressure or electricity to pass water through the filtration media, which removes the remainder of impurities.
Whereas many non-profit organisations divert their funds to research or other areas that don’t directly benefit communities, WWIF has remained focused on turning donations into drinking water and thereby drastically improving the quality of life for the locals who live in those communities.
While there's still a large gap to cover and 200 wells might not sound like much, the logistics of the 10-1-10 Africa Expedition covers vast distances across rural Africa and makes an enormous impact. Just one well can provide clean, safe drinking water for ten people for up to ten years, and each well costs about R1 500.
For every R150 donated, one person’s life is changed for the better for the next ten years.
The team is hoping to raise enough money by 2019 to purchase 3 000 to 4 000 water filtration units to directly impact 30 000 to 40 000 lives. WWIF SA’s Ken Lister and WWIF SA President, Tony Marchesini, attended the 2017 expedition, along with Guillermo Guzman, Founder and CEO of WWIF, having already participated in WWIF projects in destinations such as Ghana, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They demonstrate the organisation’s hands-on approach and belief that “it’s crucial to lead by example”. He calls on the rest of the water treatment industry to join them in their mission to contribute towards a worthy cause.
Instead of having to travel outrageous distances daily to collect water from streams and rivers, families can drink and cook with filtered water from a source closer to home, thanks to the Wishing Well International Foundation. Not only is the water safer to consume, it also enables families to spend more time together, time that would otherwise be spent looking for cleaner water or in clinics due to poor health.
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