Africa’s leading steel supplier, Macsteel, is taking collaborative space renewal to a new level with an innovative water solution that combines social needs with its established enterprise development initiative.
Macsteel recently facilitated the installation of a novel water-pump system at the Ntsoanatsatsi Educare Centre in QwaQwa, in collaboration with Roundabout Water Solutions (RWS).
Utilising the playful energy of children, the installation, called a PlayPump, is a sustainable water-pumping system attached to a children’s merry-go-round that supplies water to a storage tank for immediate use. Adding another favourable element, Macsteel drew on valued SMME customer support under its Usizo Enterprise Development umbrella by sub-contracting manufacturing to an Usizo partner.
“Collaborating with RWS serves as a golden opportunity to align our community involvement programme with our enterprise development initiative, Usizo,” explained Kim Allan, group CSI Manager.
RWS, a non-profit organisation, ascertains which schools in rural communities are unable to supply children with clean drinking water. When the Ntsoanatsatsi Educare Trust approached RWS with a plea for a PlayPump, Macsteel’s CSR network set the project in motion.
According to Kim Allan, Macsteel has been collaborating with RWS in this innovative water solution for rural communities since 2017. Macsteel in the case of Ntsoanatsatsi Educare also funded to drill the borehole. However, In the main, when a school is identified and lab-tests have given the borehole water the all-clear, RWS installs the merry-go-round over the borehole and an USIZO customer is commissioned to fabricate a Macsteel-supplied water-tank for installation close to the roundabout.
Providing water on tap for children and staff as well as the broader community, the installation brings several benefits, including an improvement to the children’s overall health, a decrease in water-borne illnesses, increased attendance at school and improved education results. It also removes the risk faced by young girls when walking long distances to fetch water from rivers and dams.
According to Elise Monaone, Principle of Ntsoanatsatsi Educare Centre, the merry-go-round is a huge hit with the children. She added that it has provided a solution for clean drinking water and for food preparation at the school and the children’s general hygiene.
So far the Macsteel-RWS partnership has created market and job opportunities for six valued Usizo customers and seen the fabrication of tank stands in 22 rural schools in five provinces in South Africa.
“Shared social value is key,” said Allan. “Creating opportunities that bring together underprivileged communities and Macsteel’s space renewal initiative through Usizo is central to our CSR vision.” She added that the combined issues of water scarcity and the rightful access to clean water, Macsteel remains committed to finding and contributing solutions in a sustainable way to the country’s water crisis in rural communities.