Five members of the University’s Enactus team recently visited Malawi for nine days to implement their social enterprise project JuaMaji, the first solar distillation plant of its kind.
Enactus is a student led, global enterprise society which encourages students to develop practical entrepreneurial projects that will solve some of the challenges faced by the world’s most vulnerable people.
JuaMaji aims to tackle the lack of access to clean water in developing countries by operating solar distillation plants along the shores of Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi, allowing clean water to be freely distributed to local schools and clinics.
The project recently won a University sustainability award for its creativity, incorporating a fish farming enterprise within the ponds underneath the distillation structure. There are plans to incorporate a greenhouse into the current design to provide more sustainable food sources for the local population alongside fish.
Nikki Hawes, third year BSc Economics and Actuarial Science student and Enactus team member, said:
We learnt a lot from the community during our visit and we are maintaining close contact with our entrepreneurs to monitor the progress of our project. Working with Links International, we plan to build another three JuaMaji’s in Africa this coming year, which we are very excited about.
The first full-scale model of the system was devised following a visit to Kenya in 2015, where over-fishing, food shortages and diseases caused by lack of clean water sources were identified as the pressing issues affecting the local community.
The project aims to tackle these issues alongside improving the wellbeing of the local population, starting with funding the secondary education of 10 students at a nearby school.
Speaking about future plans for the Enactus team, Nikki says: “We are hoping this project can be presented at the Enactus National Competition next year, and maybe even secure us a place at the Enactus World Cup in 2017!”