HomeRegional NewsEast Africa20by2020 improves water quality and access in rural Madagascar

20by2020 improves water quality and access in rural Madagascar

Humanitarian initiative 20by2020 recently installed Safe Water Cube foundations across five rural areas of Madagascar.

The United Arab Emirates initiative is helping to tackle the challenge of access to potable water in remote communities to improve the quality of life for about 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. The association, a France-based non-profit organisation, is a 2019 Zayed Sustainability Prize finalist in the water category.

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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. Over the past 12 years, the prize has been awarded to 86 winners. Collectively they have directly and indirectly impacted the lives of more than 335 million people around the world.

Four fountains have been installed at schools, including St Joseph School in Antsirabe, and schools in Vohitrarivo, Ambohijafy and Ambohijafy Talata Andraikiba that are also accessible to local village residents. The fifth foundation has been set up for patients and healthcare workers at a hospital in Andraikiba.

Agir Ensemble Association’s five-step mobile ultrafiltration technology makes surface water (river, pond, well or brackish water) drinkable. It does so by removing viruses and bacteria that cause diarrhoea dysentery, cholera and hepatitis. It can clean up to 1,000 litres of water per hour with no energy or maintenance required, and no chemicals used.

Access to clean water transforms lives

More than 58% of people in Madagascar lack access to safe drinking water and almost half of all households live without sanitation facilities according to USAID estimates.

UAE minister of state and chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market and founding partner of the initiative, H.E Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh: “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.”

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“The overall 20by 2020 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.”

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. The clean water offers new opportunities for better hygiene which is an essential requirement given the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of coronavirus. The deployment follows recent installations of Safe Water Cube fountains in Cambodia’s Preak Toal, Meat Khlar and Peak Kanteal villages in September to provide access to clean water to 5,000 people daily.

Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a Content Specialist for ESI Africa.