The repercussions of a critical lack of financial and human resources in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in South Africa go far beyond the sector - particularly jeopardising human health. UN-Water Chair and International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Gilbert Houngbo underscored that unless we make significant progress on our global goals for SDG6, billions of people are left “dangerously exposed to infectious diseases, especially in the aftermath of disasters, including climate change-related events.”
To answer to this call, Reckitt has launched its Fight for Access accelerator which identifies and scales effective solutions in WASH for parts of the world that need it the most. Together with Yunus Social Business, the Fight for Access accelerator in South Africa brings together effective social innovations that provide improvements for broader and better access within the current WASH sector, enable behaviour change and community engagement, and create opportunities for decentralisation to pave the way for a better model in the future. The accelerator forms part of Reckitt’s systems approach to tackling SDG 6. In line with its vision of becoming a purpose-driven organisation, the company is leveraging its strengths as a corporation to create pathways for collaboration and scale effective bottom-up solutions, in this case by empowering social entrepreneurs.
In this article, you will get to know the 6 inspiring social entrepreneurs that comprise the South African cohort 1 of Reckitt's Fight for Access accelerator and read about their journey on tackling SDG 6.
“The idea came as I was at my grandmother's house where the hand washing basin had broken,” recalls Rori Mpete, Loo Afrique’s founder.
“We had to use the outside tap to wash our hands. After the fourth time of having to go outside to wash our hands, I remembered that a toilet flushes with fresh clean water, and I began to wash my hands inside the toilet’s cistern. It was here when I figured that if we can all wash our hands inside the cistern, we would save millions of litres per day!”
Throughout his career, Rori worked throughout Africa and managed to witness real time water and sanitation shortage issues. This experience helped him to know that his purpose was to somehow be involved in water and sanitation solutions.
Loo Afrique manufactures sustainable hand-wash ready toilets from recycled material to improve hygiene and save water. They are a proud contributor to UN SDG 6, but also 9, 11 & 17.
Who would have thought that Founder Orion Herman, with his background in industrial psychology, would end up creating a unique, waterless sanitation solution that converts urine into a dry bio fertilizer? Aptly named LiquidGold, his social business not only prevents water pollution and reduces infections, but it enables the easy, circular, and smart management of wastewater.
Orion Herman says, “The idea was sparked by understanding the local and global challenges of sanitation for the marginalised, specifically how waste is managed and its downstream environmental impact. By applying a circular lens to sanitation and seeking the potential to unlock social good, positive environmental benefits and sustainable economic returns, LiquidGold was born.”
Through his work, he dreams with purpose and passion. “I want to leave a legacy vehicle for my family that positively impacts people and the environment.”
“I want to leave this world a better place than I found it” is the simple yet powerful mission statement of Aled Meulenberg. He is the founder of Rhiza Babuyile, a WASH solution that solves not one problem but two.
In Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, financial viability and access to clean water are two equally prominent issues. By putting boreholes into these ECD centres, Rhiza Babuyile provides them with access to clean and reliable water, as well as an additional revenue stream through the sale of clean water.
This intelligent and practical solution reflects founder Aled Meulenberg’s thinking - “I am all about impact!” he says.
When its founders searched in vain for a loo during a visit to South Africa, they discovered an exciting social business idea and founded Savvyloo.
Savvyloo is a waterless sanitation system that uses modern and environmentally friendly technologies to desiccate solids, separate liquids, and reduce pathogens and odours. Their innovative system significantly reduces life-cycle costs when compared to pit latrines, waterborne and chemical toilets. Impressively, they also manage to save more than 33% on logistics costs. And did we mention they are waterless?
Is it possible to practise hand hygiene and enjoy good health, even in the absence of water infrastructure? ECOBA makes it possible through a portable wash basin.
This concept was born after ECOBA’s founders discovered that healthcare workers who see patients inside temporary structures did not have access to convenient hand washing facilities.
“Every time they see a patient, they have to walk quite a distance to a tap where they can wash their hands. Each healthcare worker sees between 30 and 40 patients daily, meaning that healthcare workers use considerable time and energy making constant trips to a faraway tap.” says ECOBA founder, Kgalabi Mongatane.
Eco-friendly and decentralised, ECOBA’s washbasins not only provide users with clean water for handwashing, but saves them precious time and energy from making trips to distant water sources.
Working in the public water and sanitation sector in South Africa, Murendeni Mafumo, founder of Kusini Water, was inspired to act when he recognized the big divide in access to clean water between high- and low-income communities.
Kusini Water makes water filtration systems that use nanotechnology, locally sourced macadamia nut shells and solar power for communities without any piped network. Their systems bring clean, safe drinking water to people in rural, peri-urban and informal settlements throughout the African continent. All their systems are modular, mobile, durable, and affordable. All projects are fitted with a flow sensor, this sensor allows water monitoring by Kusini and by the partners on the projects.
Interested to learn more about Reckitt’s Fight for Access Accelerator? Check out 5 things you need to know here.
IKEA Foundation and Yunus Social Business carried out a 6-month joint research project, getting to the bottom of this question: With ever more organisations joining social-business ecosystems, how can we all start to plug the gaps in the support landscape?
By leveraging the power of their people and their commercial acumen, Reckitt's objective with the accelerator is to scale innovative, locally designed approaches in Brazil that enable better access to health and hygiene by collaborating with social businesses.
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