Africa is home to more than 1.2 billion people. All nations on the continent share a common concern - how to maximise the use of water and preserve this resource that is essential to prosperity and growth.
It is these concerns that prompted inventors from across the globe to take part in the recent Standard Bank Water4Africa challenge. The competition concentrated on seeking global inputs in major areas of water conservation. These varied from ensuring the sustainability of groundwater, sanitation, and purification of water including solar, through to filtration and innovative solutions to promote wise water use.
One of the categories in the challenge centred on early stage solutions (new and promising concepts) to solve these issues, with three winners being awarded prizes of US$2,000 each.
The winning innovators are:
Joel Mukanga (30) of Uganda, a community development officer, whose lifelong interest in innovation began while he was still at school. His concept, entitled “Basic WASH Management Program” to convey its focus on water hygiene and sanitation. The idea is to introduce education about water hygiene, sanitation and conservation into the education system at all levels, as primary driver of change.
For Felix Manyogote (24), a medical student in Tanzania, was determination to play a role in his community wherever possible. His entry also focused on education. Felix focus was on the school WASH programme which provides expertise and interventions aimed at saving lives and reducing illness through access to healthy and safe water. The role of children is to pass on the knowledge of hygienic behaviour from their schools to their families and communities.
Jim Murphy (47), who has a strong background in applied physics and electronics, relocated from the UK to Cape Town in 2011. His idea was to develop an electrically-powered (incorporating solar power), three-wheel water ‘trike’ capable of carrying large quantities of water from a water source to a village.
Standard Bank’s Water4Africa challenge used ‘crowdsourcing’ as a powerful tool to gather innovative ideas and identify practical solutions to address the water issues facing Africa.