Like the rest of the world, 2020 was an eventful year for us. Despite enormous challenges, we stand proud of having delivered uninterrupted access to safe water in the world’s most vulnerable communities. It is time to look back at everything we achieved in these unusual 12 months. Watch our 2020 Highlights Video for more.
At Project Maji, we started the year with 45 operational sites across Ghana and Kenya. Up until February, everything was business as usual as we went on to install our first three new safe water kiosks in rural Ghana. Only a few weeks later, like a typical black swan event, COVID-19 hit and spread across the African continent. Our focus countries, Ghana and Kenya, administered complete lockdown and our teams on the ground were rendered immobile, unable to deploy new kiosks whilst faced with the very real threat posed by the virus.
Pivot, Protect, Persevere
As a safe water enterprise with access to the most vulnerable off-grid communities in the world, we knew it was time to act. We started looking inwards, to reflect on the effects of the pandemic on our ongoing operations and roll-out plans. We pivoted our priorities and used the lockdown weeks to design an aggressive handwashing campaign, building like-minded partnerships and fundraising to scale for an effective COVID-19 response. We completed the first round of handwashing trainings in September, reaching 12,000 people with 2,000 bars of soap. But it was hardly the time to stop. We set ourselves the goal of outrunning COVID-19 in rural Ghana and Kenya and are well on our way to achieve that goal. Till date, we have reached 21,900 people (and counting) with our COVID-19 response, giving them a fighting chance against the pandemic.
The need for water does not pause for pandemics
Through it all, we kept our focus on our core mission, ensuring sustainable access to safe water for water-poor communities. We know that clean water has no real substitutes, and the need for it does not pause for pandemics. Despite supply-chain obstructions, heightened health risks and mobility restrictions, we’ve seen hundreds of households waking up to clean water. Water that is safe and tasty, available a short stroll away from their front doors, at the touch of a tap. In 2020 alone, we opened the taps on 22 solar-powered safe water Maji kiosks bringing our total to 67 sites across Ghana and Kenya.
We never stopped innovating
In September, we introduced the uniquely designed zero-touch handwashing station – The Maji Bucket. The foot-operated solution is a truly Ghanaian invention made of locally available products that allow for its easy replication and bulk production. More importantly, the unique solution facilitates handwashing and eliminates the need for touch, successfully curbing the spread of the virus. The reach of the Maji Buckets gained true momentum when we became a #Sweat4Soap partner and runners across the globe helped us raise funds for 450 Maji Buckets to be deployed in underserved communities in rural Ghana. We anticipate reaching a total of 75,000 as our teams on the ground are currently rolling out the distribution of the buckets along with bars of soap and handwashing trainings.
That’s not all. At Project Maji, we always drive to innovate by observation in the field and this led us to develop our new smart solar standpipes. A truly, user-centric solution designed to enhance rural water access by cutting down deployment costs for service-providers and water collection time for our consumers. Our first three standpipes are installed in Ghana in partnership with Ghana Red Cross, who have applauded Project Maji’s efforts to provide affordable and sustainable solutions to scale up rural water access. We project to install at least 30 more standpipes in the West African country in the coming six months in marginalised, water-poor villages, investing in their health and prosperity.
Proud Partnerships & Memberships
This October, we joined International Humanitarian City – the largest humanitarian hub in the world. Through this membership, we have formalized our presence in the UAE, strengthening our local network to mobilize support for sustainable access to safe water for rural communities across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
Finally, we have also entered an action-research partnership with Practica Foundation from the Netherlands. The partnership is aimed at ensuring better access to safe water in water-poor communities leveraging fit-for-purpose technological solutions.
We believe this was all made possible by the unsung heroes, our teams on the ground, cheered on by the communities they serve and empowered by the generous contributions of our supporters. So, Thank you for your unwavering support throughout 2020 and into 2021. With people like you by our side, we can’t wait to see what’s ahead.