Various members of Touching Africa Associates are currently involved with the process of developing an innovative program in support of rural development. This Rural Development Program has been initiated by and is being developed in partnership with Mosiamise Rural Development. This collaboration is a co-operative expression of our vision in Touching Africa – to make a practical difference in our African society as communities are physically impacted. Our dream is to establish a program that is not only successful – but more importantly that also IMPACTS the communities of Africa!
This rural development program is based on the delivery of two basic services – water and sanitation supply. These services are a foundational contribution to the dignity of any rural community. It is also from the platform of sustainable water and sanitation services that other related industries can develop ‘down the line’– where agricultural and related economic development becomes an important focus within a rural community.
The supply of water and sanitation services is unquestionably a positive contribution to development, but the real value to people is the dignity and value that access to these services brings within a society. This is making a significant impact! It is relatively easy to report on how much water has been provided to so many people – our dream, however, is that families once impacted will report back and give testimony of their lives that have been changed!
This program started at a small pilot project at SIGA village, in the Northwest Province, located approximately 50 km northwest of Sun City and Pilansberg. From the perspective of sustainable sanitation solutions, our aim is to provide 20 ‘Enviro-Loo’ installations which will demonstrate the value of a waterless, on-site sanitation system for a rural community. In respect of water supply, our aim is to optimise the existing boreholes that supply water to the community. The optimising of the water supply network will be by developing additional groundwater resources, upgrading the water storage facility, and by establishing water supply directly to a number of households. The reticulation, all be it very basic, is in line with our vision of supplying water directly to households in the rural community. In the future and as more funds are secured, attention would be given to local AGRI development which would have its own dedicated groundwater development.
It is from this starting point that the program is structured in collaboration with Mosiamise Rural Development so that it becomes both scalable and sustainable on a more regional basis within the rural community of South Africa. The initial institutional entities involved in the project structure are the ‘Rural Development Trust’ as developed by Mosiamise Rural Development and the ‘Touching Africa Development Trust’ representing the Touching Africa organisation. Enviro Options (suppliers of the Enviro Loo) together with the engineering company Matukane and Associates provide technical guidance to the sanitation services. In the water sector , the AGES Group will lead the team with support at a contractual level from Gabora Drilling and Construction. Several services providers within the Touching Africa Network will be also be involved with service delivery – including Crebus and AgricultSure from the AGRI sector.
Going forward and moving toward more regional implementation of the project, a specific ‘Water and Sanitation Project Vehicle’ will be developed by Mosiamise Rural Development. This regional implementation will be structured through a Social Impact Bond together with the established services providers within the Touching Africa Network. Through this Social Impact Bond both ‘Impact Investors’ and ‘Government Agencies or Departments’ can be involved as funders or financial contributors toward development. The first aim will be to have an impact on an estimated 28 000 households in the rural areas in the northwest of the Bojanala District, Northwest Province. This area is selected as it is one of many in the country that is not currently serviced by any longterm water supply strategy.
From the onset, the Rural Development Program will focus on total involvement from the community. In this regard, as part of the pilot implementation, Mosiamise with the assistance of Prof Erwin Schwella is assessing the viability of setting up a Village Innovation Lab in SIGA village. This innovation lab provides opportunity for participation of all sectors from the community where they can share their ideas, give inputs that impact their community, and where every idea is considered important. This innovation lab also provides a platform from where behavioural changes can be monitored and from where strategic changes can be planned and implemented in order to have a real impact on the society.
Further, engaging communities through this process of the Innovation Lab will ensure that technology and services are not forced onto communities, but that ownership and appreciation of the technology is developed as part of project implementation. Multigenerational change in the society that is real and positive is only possible where there are people with VISION to bring about change, and where there is UNITY amongst role players to do so. The partnership and cooperation between Mosiamise Rural Development and Touching Africa creates such an opportunity, because both parties have a passion to touch Africa as an expression of seeing the Kingdom of God on a very practical, tangible, and hands on level. We are excited as the sons of God and we treasure our unity, as this gives a platform of establishing value. It is from this platform that we can unlock the opportunity and make an IMPACT on the rural communities of South Africa!
We are sincerely convinced that we are partnering together as we take our part in a global move of God’s GLORY, that enables us to move in ‘perfect unity so that the world may know the LOVE of God’ (John 17: 22-23).