Water is one of the scarcest commodities in Africa. Finding creative and sustainable solutions to address the needs of the continent can be found by opening the search to “the crowd”.
Standard Bank Group’s Water4Africa initiative saw the use of online crowdsourcing to attract people from around the world to put forward suggestions on solving Africa’s water dilemmas.
Entrants were asked to address six major areas:
Groundwater, for which the emphasis was on ideas that would help ensure that communities gained long-term access to clean water
Sanitation, where the challenge was on identifying ways that sanitation could help increase access to clean water
Purification, which concentrated on simple solutions that people could use to treat water
Filtration, with a focus on how available water could be turned into potable water
Solar, as a means of leveraging the power of the sun to purify water
Innovative solutions that addressed the main campaign topic.
Since the competition opened in December 2014, hundreds of entries were received and evaluated. Those that rose to the top, were considered by a panel of expert judges for their feasibility and how effectively they could be transformed into programmes or products that could reach people and have an impact on their communities.
Winners in each of the categories were:
SpaTap, an eco-friendly hand washing and showering bottle. This Australian invention is a pocket-sized, silicone device that attaches to any bottle filled with water and transforms into a controllable shower or portable tap. This product is already on sale in several countries and has created a market niche for itself.
The MAJI 1200. From Zimbabwe, this is a mobile solar-powered water purification system that been tested and is ready for the market. It is the brainchild of two entrepreneurs and is a true investment in Africa by Africans.
Jim Murphy, a Briton living in South Africa, is a category winner for his solar-powered cart which enables water to be easily transported in rural areas. This is a great innovation for people who routinely have to walk long distances to get water.
The Water, Sanitation and Health Hygiene (WASH) project from Tanzania, focuses on behavioural change in WASH practices at education level.
From Uganda, the Basic Safe Water and Sanitation Management Programme, also provides essential education services to communities.
Winners also received a cash prize of up to US$10,000.
Standard Bank Group congratulates all the winners and look forward to the potential they have for impacting the lives of Africa’s people.
Crowdsourcing played a major role in attracting interest, and proved its potential as a valuable tool that we will continue to use to drive future innovations that are relevant to our customers, and the communities in which Standard Bank operates in.