Marula Water Project
Life will never be the same in the Marula Village of the Huntington community, one of the villages neighbouring Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. Until recently, the community members had to walk an arduous path down to the nearest open water source to collect water in buckets. Sometimes children as young as six made this back-breaking daily trip, and the community never knew what the quality of the water would be.
Now, the community has access to 11 water taps set at strategic points throughout the village, bringing a steady flow of more than 54,000 litres a day of life-changing fresh water to their community.
The Marula Water Project was initiated by the Sabi Sabi Foundation to uplift a community that many Sabi Sabi staff members call home. With funding from the Gillespie Foundation, the amazing team from the not-for-profit company Innovation Africa South Africa (iASA) was brought on board to coordinate the project. The plan was to find an underground water supply near the village and then build a solar-powered well and water pump, connected by a network of pipes from the central stand to various tap points in the village, as selected by community members.
Drilling at Marula found water in an underground aquifer at a depth of 80 metres, with enough water to ensure a sustainable supply for the Huntington Community for years to come! Construction of the water tower, pump and solar installation began shortly after that, with iASA employing 10 community members (5 men and 5 women). Upon completion of the project each temporary worker received a training certificate, assisting them to gain future employment. This sustainability model aims to provide the community members with not only skills and training but also ownership.
The new taps were officially opened on the 20th of April in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by trustees of the Gillespie and Sabi Sabi Foundations, the village Induna and Ward Councillor, and various stakeholders and community members. It was a day of celebration, gratitude and hope, filled with singing, dancing and speeches of thanks as the people of Huntington started a bright new chapter in their history.
While the community’s initial excitement is predominantly thanks to having running, clean water ‘on tap’ right in their village for the first time, the impact of this water project will actually be far bigger, as it will provide added employment and resources for community members. They will now be able to grow crops, keep livestock, start up small businesses, and more. Furthermore, thanks to the skills passed on to the community through the work done by iASA, members of the community have been trained not only in the operation of the system, but also financial management, administration skills and reporting. This water pump now belongs to the community, and is managed by the community.
To date, the iASA model has positively impacted over 1.5 million people in 10 African countries, and will shortly bring much-needed relief and upliftment to even more of our staff, and other households in the area, as two additional water projects are planned in other villages adjoining Sabi Sabi.
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