• Beneficiary communities Include Students, Village Residents & Healthcare Workers
By Celestine Okorie
To help tackle the prevailing challenge of access to potable water in remote communities of Madagascar, the UAE-driven humanitarian initiative; 20by2020, recently installed ‘Safe Water Cube’ fountains across five rural areas of the East African country, with the aim of improving the quality of life for approximately 8,500 people on a daily basis.
The Safe Water Cube fountains are based on a filtration technology for surface waters, and were developed by the Agir Ensemble Association, a prominent France-based non-profit organisation and the 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize finalist under the ‘Water’ category. Four fountains have been installed in schools including St. Joseph School in Antsirabe and schools in Vohitrarivo, Ambohijafy and Ambohijafy Talata Andraikiba that are also accessible to local village residents. In addition, a fountain has been setup for the patients and healthcare workers at a hospital in Andraikiba.
The non-profit’s five-step mobile ultrafiltration technology makes surface water drinkable (river, pond, well or brackish water) by removing viruses and bacteria that cause diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and hepatitis, from up to 1,000 litres of water per hour with no energy or maintenance required, and no chemicals used.
In Madagascar, more than 58 per cent of people lack access to safe drinking water and nearly half of all households live without sanitation facilities, according to international estimates.
Building on the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan by exemplifying the deeply rooted humanitarian values of the UAE’s founding father, 20by2020 donates sustainable technologies and solutions to vulnerable communities in 20 countries. Each solution or technology has been recognised by the Zayed Sustainability Prize as a winner or finalist.
UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), H.E Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh a founding partner of the initiative said: “The 20by2020 deployment in Madagascar is a vital and life-improving project that serves to meet the essential water needs of numerous remote communities through innovative sustainable solutions, positively impacting their health and wellbeing.”
“The overall 20by2020 programme is aligned with the UAE’s Sustainable Development Agenda and brings to life the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s humanitarian vision of helping those communities in need and transforming lives by leveraging technology and sustainable solutions. I am glad that we are able to work closely with partners once again to introduce meaningful initiatives that develop a more sustainable and healthier world.”
On his part, Madagascar’s Minister of Energy, Water and Hydrocarbons, Honorable Vonjy Andriamanga said: “Enhancing the scope of water treatment solutions for rural areas has been a priority and key focus area for the Malagasy government on both a regional and national level as part of our commitment to reaching Sustainable Development Goals related to water, sanitation and hygiene. We firmly believe that the support of the 20by2020 initiative will complement our efforts in improving the quality of life for people in various remote parts of the country.”
“The Ministry and Malagasy government would like to extend their thanks and appreciation to the UAE’s leadership, the Zayed Sustainability Prize and the 20by2020 partners for commissioning these important, life changing solutions, and we look forward to working closely on other future sustainable projects.”
Thousands of village residents, hospital patients and medical workers in Madagascar’s Vakinankaratra central region can now avoid many of the waterborne diseases and other health issues stemming from dirty water, by offering new opportunities for better hygiene, an essential requirement given the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of coronavirus. The deployment follows the recent installation of Safe Water Cube fountains in Cambodia’s Preak Toal, Meat Khlar and Peak Kanteal villages in September, that provided access to clean water to 5,000 people daily.
20by2020 brings together a leading and growing roster of partners which include Abu Dhabi Global Market, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mubadala Petroleum, the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence and Masdar. Majed Al Futtaim had joined the initiative in support of projects in Egypt and Jordan, earlier this year.