The Hague, 23 October 2019 – As of today, a community in Madagascar obtains drinking water by the sea using only the sun by Dutch sustainable off-grid desalination technology. Madagascar is one of the least developed nations in the world, and the 3000 inhabitants of the village of Efoetsy, located on the dry south-western coast, have been struggling with increasing water scarcity over the past years. Thanks to the work of the Dutch Elemental Water Foundation, they now have daily access to 15,000 liters of affordable clean drinking water year-round using the naturally available resources of the sea and sun.
We would like to thank you for your continued support to our cause and want to inform you that while the completion of our first project is great news. This is only the start of our great journey to further our cause; to supply areas of dire need with drinking water only using the sea and sun.
About the project
Water scarcity currently already affects 4 billion people globally. That means two-thirds of the world’s population lives in regions where water cannot be taken for granted. On the African island of Madagascar, 11 million people still lack access to safe water. The large majority of these people (85%) live in remote communities. One of these communities is Efoetsy.
The remote village of Efoetsy is located on the dry south-western coast of Madagascar and receives less than 200mm of rain per year. The 3000 people who live in and around the village live in extreme poverty and survive by farming, fishing and picking fruit and vegetables. In Efoetsy we also find the only high school in the region, providing space for 600 students. However, the lifestyle is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain by declining rainfall. In their effort to collect water, women and children had to travel hours each day for unsafe and salty water sources.
Years ago during a surf-trip in Madagascar, the Dutch engineer Sid Vollebregt experienced up-close the effects of a lack of freshwater on a local community. Inspired by the availability of the sunshine and the vastness of the surrounding ocean, Sid and his friend Reinoud Feenstra, both engineers of the The University of Technology Delft, developed technology to couple desalination technology to renewable energy such as the sun. When seawater can be converted into fresh water through the sole use of solar energy, it becomes possible to solve freshwater scarcity in remote coastal areas in a sustainable innovative way. Reinoud and Sid managed to improve the energy efficiency of the desalination process by a factor 3, to ensure the affordability of the water.
Sid & Reinoud decided to incorporate the Elemental Water Foundation, with the goal to help the people who need it most. The certified NGO, together with local partner Trans-Mad and supported by Wilde Ganzen have raised the funds required to install a solar-powered desalination system that generates 15,000 liters drinking water per day for the village of Efoetsy.
Due to Efoetsy’s isolated location, the salty groundwater in the surrounding area and the limited rainfall, solar desalination is an appropriate and sustainable solution for water scarcity reigning in the region. The sustainability of the project was not only ensured by using future proof resources of the sea and sun. The local community is involved in the operation and distribution, run together with the local NGO Trans-Mad. By distributing and selling the water for a price that matches the ability of the community, it’s ensured that value is added to the local community and that maintenance can be covered.
Today, the inhabitants of Efoetsy have a reliable, safe drinking water supply that will continue to provide for the community for years to come. Yet the 3,000 inhabitants of Efoetsy are not alone. There are several communities in the South-West of Madagascar and thousands of communities worldwide where similar solutions can make a life-changing difference. Elemental Water Foundation aims to make a change in these areas of direct need.
Trans-Mad’Développement is an NGO with the goal of increasing access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The organization has been actively engaging communities and regional – and central governments in Madagascar since 1997. In 2014, Trans-Mad’Développement undertook a feasibility study and implementation that lead a cocoa farmer collective in the Sambirano region (North-West Madagascar) to enjoy access to drinking water. Apart from the direct impact that resulted from the increase in access to safe water, it also led the collective to receive a Rainforest Alliance certification. Receiving this certification meant that farmers are now paid a fairer price for their produce and has increased their connectivity to the international market, thereby stimulating their economic development. Trans-Mad’Développement also launched its ‘Plein Nord’ program, which saw the installation of 9 independent drinking water systems which were organized under a newly formed regional board.
Feedback Company is a Dutch company that specializes in professional online feedback systems that collect customer reviews of businesses and their products and services. By enhancing business with a transparent, independent review system, customers become inclined and grateful to share and read online reviews. Reviews also provide interesting insights for the company, thus allowing companies to improve and better adapt to customer expectations. As part of their corporate social responsibility program, Feedback Company has coupled their feedback systems to the Elemental Water Foundation. After leaving their review, customers are forwarded and stimulated to donate to Elemental Water Foundation projects, while Feedback Company generously donates to a small amount of money for every customer review left on their feedback systems. The partnership between Feedback Company and Elemental Water Foundation thus contributes directly to our projects through their donations but also helps Elemental Water Foundation to increase its online visibility.
Global Shapers Amsterdam
The Global Shapers Community is a network of young people driving dialogue, action and change. With more than 7, 000 members, the Community spans 378 city-based hubs in 160 countries. The mission of the Amsterdam Hub of the Global Shapers community, is to help each other realize our dreams for a better society. We empower and strengthen initiatives that improve our local and global communities by providing them energy, ideas and access. “Each other” are now Amsterdam Shapers, and we want to extend this to Shapers worldwide and anyone in Amsterdam with a great initiative. Our key focus areas are sustainability, social empowerment and applied science.
JCI Volcke Rack
JCI is a nonprofit organization of young active citizens age 18 to 40 who are engaged and committed to creating impact in their communities. Active citizens are individuals invested in the future of our world. JCI gathers active citizens from all sectors of society. We develop the skills, knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions and take action. JCI Volcke Rack consists of an enthusiastic group of people with different backgrounds and professions. All not older than 40 years. Together we organize a range of activities, varying from training courses, company visits, networking events and of course fun factor should not be missing. JCI Volcke Rack will organize a national CvA conference in May 2019 with the theme ‘water’.
Wilde Ganzen is a Dutch organisation whose mission to end worldwide poverty and inequality. Wilde Ganzen has been working for almost 60 years with dedication and determination, because the prevailing inequality in the world is something they wish to change. The approach of Wilde Ganzen is to co-finance projects and provides support and advice. This way, projects which have been started with much enthusiasm and involvement have a better chance to become self-sustained. Every year, Wild Ganzen supports about 350 projects worldwide. Wilde Ganzen works hard to raise funds. The funds raised for projects by Wilde Ganzen are almost entirely from private sources.
Elemental Water Makers
Elemental Water Makers is a Netherlands-based technology company that provides desalination solutions powered by renewable energy. The mission of the organization is to solve fresh water scarcity, using only the sea, sun, earth and wind. The company was founded in 2012 by two engineers, Sid Vollebregt and Reinoud Feenstra, from the Technical University of Technology Delft and is located on The Hague Beach. Since its foundation, the company has executed numerous solar-powered desalination projects in the British Virgin Islands, Belize, Mozambique, The Philippines, Spain & Cape Verde. The company offers flexible desalination solutions that can integrate diverse sources of renewable energy in order to guarantee sustainable off-grid use. Wind, wave, sun and gravitational energy can be integrated to power a reverse osmosis (RO) systems that uses a patented energy recovery system. Together, these unique elements ensure sustainable, low-cost desalination in remote locations. The company contributes to the Elemental Water Foundation by providing all activities required to design, transport and construct desalination solutions, after which they provide trainings to a local team of prospective water operators. All the activities and materials required to implement EWF projects are either provided in-kind or provided at discounted rates equal to the standard of NGO wages and rates.