Travel with a purpose: The fight for clean water in the forgotten corners of SA

Cape Town - Wishing Well International Foundation (WWIF) has been travelling to parts of SA that has been struggling with water issues long before Cape Town.

The international organisation, with a branch in South Africa, makes it their mission to provide people around the world with access to clean water by providing filters and raising awareness around safe water consumption. It is supported by the international filtration company H2O, who subsidises the filtration systems distributed by WWIF.

SEE: Two Eastern Cape towns to see 'Day Zero' sooner than Cape Town

Every year, WWIF embarks on a a deployment expedition with its American counterparts to deploy hundreds of filters to communities in South Africa and Swaziland, called the 10-1-10 Africa Expedition. The name is actually a statistic - $10 will provide clean water for 1 person for 10 years - though one filtration unit costs around R1 400 and can service 10 people.

The communities that they visit, like Masoyi in Mpumalanga and Emanyiseni in northern KwaZulu-Natal, all struggle with droughts, contaminated wells and borehole water, and usually have no access to clean piped water. Children in these areas are most affected, as contaminated water spreads disease, causing higher rates of absenteeism at schools.

But how do these filters work? Just boiling water doesn't completely clean contaminated water, and won't get rid of debris and other gunk in the water. WWIF initially started out with biosand filters, which are still in operation in many communities, but have recently switched over to biofoam filters, requiring minimum maintenance, easy installation and removes biological contaminants with more effectiveness. 

ALSO SEE: #WaterCrisis UPDATE: Schools open on Day Zero, #CapeWaterCrisis myths busted, tourism businesses affected by drought

Not only is the expedition a means of deploying the units, it also aims to raise awareness for more funding as well as show sponsors first-hand where their money goes and gets them involved on the ground level. The aim is also to up-skill the community so that they may deploy the units themselves, giving them ownership of the project.

You can learn more about how to get involved here and find out when is the next trip. 

Disclaimer: Traveller24's Gabi Zietsman was hosted by Wishing Well International Foundation for the 10-1-10 African Expedition.

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