The Most Impactful Gift Yet To Take Home For The Holiday Season!
The Culture of Us!
How many times have you gone back home?
I mean, not the homes we go to after spending a day at work or school, but the homes we originated from. If you are an urban dweller like me, then probably you have gone there several times. You might also join me and ask the same question I find myself having; is this a culture in Africa? Information has that a rate of 7 per cent of the rural population in Africa would migrate to urban centres to seek better lives annually (UN Population Division, 2018). Most of the migrants will be youths, and after settling in towns and get established, there is an expectation of a serial en route back to the villages for reconnection and vacations.
The data shows that rural to urban migration is not only practised in Africa. It is practised in South Asia, South America, Australia and some parts of Europe as much as in Africa; hence it is not solely an African culture but a global phenomenon. Eventually, what has emerged as an African culture out of it is bearing gifts when we are visiting back home. Well, other places in the world also bear gifts back home but are not in the same customs as in Africa. While other parts of the world would bear all types of gifts to where they are going, In Africa, we bear specific gifts to particular places we are going. One cannot go with fruits only back to the village but will have pans, stoves, plates, blankets among others which makes it more specific to our developed culture.
But have we been thinking about the impact these gifts we are taking home can have? As we live in a world full of challenges, I have considered how we can tap into some opportunities we get to expound our impact footprint. Maybe rural to urban migration is a challenge but a blessing in disguise; perhaps the culture and customs we have developed from it have a potential impact on our world. Who knows maybe we are all hummingbirds, and we can do something for impact.
I am eager to explore with you how we can tap into the culture of gift-bearing we have so dearly developed into making our world a better place.
So Dry yet so Damp.
Behold, before we dive into the whats and hows on impact making, I think it is necessary to align on what challenges we face in our communities and some of their root causes. I believe that the best impacts are yield out of well-dissected problems.
So what is the challenge at hand?
Africa has a vast reserve for freshwater globally. It is the leading continent with natural freshwater resources. However, the continent is leading when it comes to water scarcity globally. (UN Water, 2020) Tanzania, for instance, has nine river basins, which is four basins extra from what an average country would have, have two of the largest and deepest lakes globally, receives rainfall fairly well, and the land has lumpsum natural springs running seasonally countrywide (Mahoo, 2015). Surprisingly, only about 40 per cent of Tanzania’s population can get clean, affordable freshwater annually. (Water Aid Tanzania, 2020)
Does it sound like a challenge to you yet? If not, maybe a bit of context might help!
Freshwater in Africa plays huge roles in our agricultural activities, industrial development, sanitation and hygiene in our daily lives, wildlife food supply as well as Hydropower production, among others. (Bernhard, 2020)
A country like Tanzania is constructing among Africa’s largest renewable energy production site from one of its prominent river basins, (East African Community, 2020) Aswan Dam and Nile River are powering irrigation schemes in desert lands of Northern Africa, South Africa is excelling on its industrial mining activities from the freshwater streams running from different corners of the country while yet most Africa’s metropolitan residents are tapping into better sanitation and hygiene practices thanks to freshwater (M Ashkam, 2017). Above all these, freshwater is powering African economies in all ways possible. Unfortunately, this might not be real in the near future if the current trend of climate change takes place, innovative ways to conserve freshwater are not embraced, and the population is not well managed in Africa.
The number of people accessing freshwater in Africa is reducing alarmingly. Sure, the population is booming, but with such vast water resources availability, several innovative methods to keep freshwater at our reach can solve this tragic reality from sustaining. For instance, in Tanzania’s freshwater accessibility, the challenge is grounded with a lack of proper water storage and supply infrastructure, poor water management strategies, lack of climate change resilience plans, and some extend, poor policies (JICA Tanzania, 2008). My grandmother living in the village mostly depends on the river system for water supply. A tap is not a luxury she can afford, let alone if there is infrastructure for the utility to be brought to her attention. When the river dries -which commonly happen during drought season, she will have to depend on wells, which provide rationed, unsafe water for her domestic uses. Like most African villages, mine is not much different; we have to share the available freshwater with wildlife and flora in our surroundings. Our water runs through wildlife buffer zones, national parks and some wetlands. That same water is also supposed to support our homes’ gardens and provide for any construction work around our neighbourhoods. With no infrastructure to store water for dry seasons, maybe only one out of three people in my village will get fresh water in the drought period. Is the situation different in your village? If it is not, what is life without water for the remaining two people? Who are these people? And how can we help the two people out of the trap?
The Gift of Water
Yes, we can route back to our culture of gift-bearing and take water for the remaining two. But that will not be sustainable; maybe it will cost us even much more money. As we have dissected our problem, we realised a gap in innovation and no infrastructure, among other issues. What if we could have an innovation that helps the two village members to store water even longer to sustain the drought season? Or better, if that might need too much investment and an advanced climate resilience plan, what if we have a way to ensure the water my grandmother gets from the wells is safe and adequate to provide for her domestic needs?
Yes, we can go with the latter. I have been working for almost a year to develop innovative ways to conserve water for villages like my grandmother’s and still give them a chance to enjoy the full benefits of accessing water resources. With my team and partners at Huru Initiatives, we are developing ecological filtration utilities that can be installed at homes, at an affordable price and with no harm to environment technology that can help people like her to get clean freshwater, either harvested from rain or taken from wells, store the water longer and save them the cost of water poverty for up to two years on a single purchase. The utility is portable, nicely decorated, and fit to be placed in rural homes setting. Our products will be locally made, with a local workforce and raw materials, which provides more employment for the local people. We are sourcing local suppliers in rural areas, some urban shopping centres, and our digital stores.
Once you buy one this year, if after two years is the time you get back to the village, in such a period, you will be just in time to bear another yet so impactful gift to home.
We are still developing our products, and we are all excited about the impact they will make on our loved ones who are underserved and deprived of access to the water resource which is vastly available in our continent. My team and I would wish to share the excitement with you. We are currently collecting contact details to send our updates and product launching information.
Take Action Now!
If you wish to send home the gift that so impactful, why not visit our website and drop your email for us to reach out to you later about our product launch? Visit our website at huruinitiatives.org and let us all get ready to impact nature and the people.
After all, the culture that we have developed over the years, born from a blessing in disguise, can be our turning point to make the world a better place.
Hello Minja, I really enjoyed reading your article, and I am excited about the product launch. I found it interesting how you transformed the idea of visiting back home with gifts but this time going with an impactful gift. I think it is a great way to have more people access fresh and clean water.
This is an important solution you have initiated Minja. I just wanna take this gift (your product) to taste and use freshwater (I have a feeling there is a significant difference between Ordinary and Fresh Water).
I like how you are using one of people’s tradition to address the challenge of lack of clean and fresh water, especially in the rural areas. Your initiative will surely impact many lives and I look forward to seeing the product launched. Well Done Minja!