Innovation: Africa marks milestone of impacting 5 million lives

Lack of clean water places significant economic, social and health burdens on developing communities.

Access to fresh water changes the lives of millions in rural Africa. Credit: Courtesy of Innovation: Africa.
Access to fresh water changes the lives of millions in rural Africa. Credit: Courtesy of Innovation: Africa.

Innovation: Africa, the international nonprofit organization that uses sustainable solar and water technologies to bring clean water and light to Africa, is celebrating a significant milestone. At the beginning of May, the organization opened the taps in the Nyamphanza Village in Zambia, bringing the number of people whose lives have been transformed with access to clean water, light and electricity since its inception in 2008 to more than 5 million people.

Innovation: Africa founder and CEO Sivan Yaari says that although the 5 million milestone marks tremendous progress, more than 400 million people across Africa still live without any access to clean water. “In developed countries, we often take clean tap water for granted. But in the developing world, a lack of access places significant economic, social and health burdens on communities, hindering people from self-determination and the ability to improve their quality of life and rise from poverty.”

By 2027, Innovation: Africa aims to extend its reach to nearly 8 million people. 

Zambia is currently facing the worst drought to hit the country in at least the last two decades, and a state of national emergency has been declared. The communities in rural populations are suffering from severe food shortages and water scarcity, as well as the worst cholera outbreak in southern Africa.

Raphael Mwale, a local leader from Nyamphanza, said: “For years, our community has suffered without clean water. We had to resort to drinking from a water source shared with livestock and other animals. As a result, many of our people fell severely ill with cholera, typhoid, bilharzia and more. We are so incredibly thankful for the life-changing gift of water, which will have a positive impact for generations to come.”

Primarily, women and children are tasked with obtaining water, often walking staggering distances to reach open water sources that wind up being contaminated. This leaves little time to pursue education and other opportunities, thus perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

Hellen Njobvu, a 54-year-old mother of six from Nyamphanza, said: “Since my sister passed away, I take care of her three children, as well as my own. I am excited because, with clean water, I will be able to farm vegetables for us to eat and sell to generate income. I can then build a bigger house, and I will be able to take better care of everyone.”

A crucial aspect of Innovation: Africa’s approach is to prioritize community involvement in their projects. In Nyamphanza, 10 local individuals were hired, paid and trained by the local contractor. This ensures that the community is equipped to maintain and operate the water and solar system, promoting long-term self-sufficiency and empowerment.

Dickson Phiri, a local man who is married with eight children, learned bricklaying during the training program. “I am willing to teach other community members what I have learned,” he said. “With my new skills, I can now seek employment and help build local schools, hospitals and houses. I am excited for the future.”

Innovation: Africa’s operations span across 10 African countries: Zambia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Senegal, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Swatini, employing a team of 150 predominantly African engineers. 

On average, each of the 1,000-plus African villages enabled by Innovation: Africa pumps 15,000 liters of clean water daily. Any aberrations in the water supply are immediately detected by its proprietary monitoring technology and reported to an in-country team that can address the problem. This ensures that villages sustain a continuous supply of safe drinking water for generations to come.

To learn more, visit: www.innoafrica.org. For media inquiries: media@innoafrica.org.

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Innovation: Africa is an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing sustainable technologies to African villages. Through innovative water and solar solutions, the organization aims to improve the lives of people by providing access to clean water, electricity and healthcare.
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