Kusini Water Champions: Empowering South Africa’s Youth with Safe Water Solutions and Employment

Safe Water
  1. Kusini Water Foundation and Absa have collaborated on a project to provide safe water solutions and employment opportunities to communities in South Africa, with a focus on skills development in the water sector.
  2. The project will see the installation of a community borehole at Dalrose Primary school, with a solar system, water treatment system, storage tanks, and distribution system.
  3. The initiative includes a training program for unemployed youth to become “Water Champions,” providing them with skills to run and own water kiosk businesses in their communities, ultimately improving their economic participation and access to safe water.

Kusini Water Foundation and Absa have collaborated on a project to provide safe water solutions and employment opportunities to communities in South Africa. The project site will be located in Kariega within the Nelson Mandela Metro and will bring clean water to the area with the installation of a community borehole at Dalrose Primary school.

The innovative solution includes a 5kva solar system with remote monitoring and backup power, a 200LPH water treatment system, four water storage tanks, and a 21 taps distribution system. To ensure skills transfer and the sustainability of the solution, the project will recruit 10 young people from the community aged between 18 and 35 as water champions. These champions will receive water filtration training, technical and moral support, and skills that enable them to conserve water in their communities.

The Kusini Water Champions programme is focused on skills development in the water sector across all of South Africa’s nine provinces. The programme kicked off in Limpopo last month, and the second bootcamp is currently taking place in the Eastern Cape in Gqeberha within the Nelson Mandela Metro/Kariega in partnership with Absa. The top four successful candidates will be selected to join the in-person bootcamp where they will be trained to run and own water kiosks.

The ultimate goal of the Water Champions programme is to improve economic participation by training 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. The bank believes in playing an enabling role in community projects that have a positive environmental, social, and economic impact, while empowering the lives of the people who are part of those communities.

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. With South Africa fast approaching physical water scarcity, initiatives such as the Kusini Water Champions programme are critical to ensuring access to safe water and providing opportunities for economic participation for the country’s youth.

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