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Absa’s charity arm partners to provide R1.4m solar-powered water pumps in Lesotho

21 October 2011 Absa

Zandspruit informal settlement also receives a solar-powered bread-maker.

In a joint venture with international partners from Germany and the United Kingdom - as well as South Africa’s Rand Water - Sešego Cares, one of Absa’s charitable arms, today installed solar water pumps worth R1,4 million in seven schools in Lesotho.

Annemarie Mostert, National Co-ordinator of Sešego Cares, also announced the donation of 800kg of stationery to the learners of the respective schools. Through long-standing partnership with the Rotary Club, she also announced a financial contribution to assist with the completion of a borehole in one of the schools in Lesotho.

“The solar water pumps initiative shifts renewable energy from the fringe to the mainstream of sustainability,” says Mostert.

She adds: “Without access to clean drinking water, the standard of living in rural communities is adversely affected. Potable water is a key priority for any village and this is especially true for Lesotho, where drought is a serious problem.”

The solar water pumps will provide clean water for the communities that are impacted by this initiative and will also supply much-needed energy that will enable drip irrigation for critical crops. This, in turn, will increase food production, reduce the time spent by school-going children on activities such as the fetching of water while the pumping and purification of water will greatly reduce the risk of water-borne diseases.

“Ultimately, this joint initiative could make a contribution towards food security, enhance academic performance at the recipient schools and improve the health of the beneficiary communities,” states Mostert. “All this could be achieved with an energy-efficient and ‘green’ water system.”

Mostert firmly believes that the installation of the solar water pumps “will be a sound, long-term and life-changing investment in the fight against rural poverty”.

As Lesotho is not alone in facing poverty-related nutritional challenges, Sešego Cares will also donate a solar-powered bread-maker, valued at R110 000, to the informal settlement of Zandspruit in Randburg, Johannesburg. The machine, with its obvious energy efficient benefits, can produce 1000 loaves of bread per day.

“In a true partnership, The Rotary Club of Northcliff will also be hosting its biggest fundraising event tomorrow evening and hopes to raise an additional amount of R50 000 for the solar oven in Zandspruit,” states Mostert.

“Solar cooking will benefit the Zandspruit community as a more affordable alternative to electricity and fuel. Additionally, cooking the natural way is healthier and we are therefore confident that this initiative will ultimately limit hunger and disease,” says Mostert.

“Increasing access to modern energy technologies is critical to ensuring socio-economic development in Africa's poorest communities. The lack of basic needs such as clean water and food on our continent cannot be ignored. The voices of communities in need must be heard and solutions sought collectively,” emphasises Mostert.

“The combined efforts of our continent’s governments, the private sector and the goodwill of individuals will go a long way towards addressing our challenges in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world,” concludes Mostert.

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