Mvula – Improving Water Supply and Sanitation

The Mvula Trust

Mvula Trust is the largest Non-Governmental Organisation supporting Water and Sanitation Development in South Africa. We operate from a national office in Johannesburg as well as from six regional offices in North West, Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal (2 offices) Eastern Cape (3 offices) Free state and Mpumalanga.

The Mvula Trust is a dynamic, innovative and professional water supply and sanitation non-governmental organization (NGO). With 15 years of experience, Mvula has established itself as the leading water and sanitation services delivery NGO. The added value that Mvula brings as an NGO is our impresssive track-record and expertise in working wit poor communities and facilitating service delivery partnerships between these communities and their municipalities. We offer a professional and efficient service to our clients, together with a non-profit, people centred commitment to the communities we serve.

          MVULA NEWS

Wastewater Treatment – Crisis and Opportunity

The Mvula Trust together with the Development Bank of South Africa and the Water Research Commission hosted a workshop last month at the DBSA headquarters in Gauteng focused on technology choice for sustainable wastewater treatment. The workshop brought together a wide range of experts and stakeholders from the Department of Water Affairs, National Treasury, the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), Amathole District Municipality, USAID, NGOs, environmentalists and engineers from the private sector. The workshop aimed at agreeing on specific actions to ensure that the current crisis facing wastewater treatment in South Africa is addressed in a sustainable way and avoids sowing the seeds of a new crisis.

African Ministers Council on Water

The Mvula Trust was invited to a joint G8/Africa and AMCOW Working Summit Group for the AU and G8 summits held in Italy from 7th 10th July. Our very own Policy Specialist Khumbu Zuma led and represented the Trust. Khumbu worked with End Water Poverty as a South African spokesperson  on Africa perspective in water issues.


Wisa Award

The Mvula Trust won a WISA award for sustainability at Nhlungwane. It was a local water supply project (built around 1994/5) including a borehole, reticulation and standpipes- managed by local committee, consisting mainly of women, who collected a small contribution from each household for maintainance of the system. After ten years the pump was still functioning and well maintained, with surplus funds in  the community operation and maintenance account. For ten years the community was independent in respect to project maintanence and did not require municipal support. The implementation of the free-basic water policy altered the system and the Mzinyathi Mununicipality had to seek ways of remunerating and keeping on the capacity that was built in the project.

The Rural Schools Sanitation Programme

Between 1997 and 2002, the Mvula Trust implemented the Rural Schools Sanitation Programme with funding from the European Union. In more than 150 schools, ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines were constructed, and proper health and hygiene training and awareness raising were carried out.

Sibhasa School

The schools were requested to contribute 10% of the construction costs, in order to stimulate a sense of ownership of the project and to ensure the accountability of the project committees to parents.  Also, the schools were asked to form clusters of at least five neighbouring schools which all needed sanitation. This cluster approach had two main advantages. Firstly unit costs ( of administration, for example) were lowered as economies of scale became available. Secondly schools could help each other maintain momentum through peer pressure.

Health issues in Africa due to poor Water Supply

Normally, when we think of health issues, the first thing that comes to mind is death. The illnesses that we face are killing our brothers and sisters and it is for this issue that the subject that can’t be ignored. Below is a list of illnesses and sicknesses that common to African countries.
Malaria: An African child dies every 30 seconds as a result of Malaria. An African child who could have grown to become the finest lawyer, the chief of police or the next president. That is one child too many. The result is due to lack of health facilities that are not sufficient in the African countries. There are also not enough health workers in the African countries which prove to be another contributing factor to health issues. In Zimbabwe alone, there are 45 000 traditional healers and yet there are about 1400 health medics.
HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS continues to be a widespread disease in Africa. The number of people that are on antiretroviral treatment increases annually. HIV/AIDS kills over one million people in Sub-Saharan Africa on a yearly basis. Government and sponsors need to work twice as hard to decrease the number of people dying because of this epidemic disease.
Zika: Zika is a virus that is passed by mosquitoes during the day or night. Zika is a virus that is prone to Tanzania including Zanzibar. The virus is said to have serious defects for pregnant women. It is advised that pregnant women don’t travel to Tanzania. The Zika mosquito symptoms range from mild to no symptoms at all and could last up to a week or sometimes more. No vaccines or medical treatment is available for Zika at the present moment. Zanzibar is an amazing holiday destination with some fantastic holiday Zanzibar packages on offer, but for the health of your unborn baby, you might give it a pass for now.
Hunger: People might not think of hunger as a health issue that is killing the African people. Poverty is one of the reasons why people go hungry. When you don’t have the resources of feeding yourself or your family, you are going to go hungry.

Additionally, access to clean water is a problem facing a lot of African countries. However, when you look at it from an African’s child perspective, they have no choice but to drink from that dirty river or lake because there is no clean water at the disposal of the child. Drinking from these contaminated rivers and lakes brings another problem such as diarrhea which can kill a child.
The future of the children of Africa rests on us. The little that can be done to give them aid goes a long way. Programs need to be launched to help people from these African countries. Health care workers need to be increased and they need to be paid the correct remuneration. It would be pointless to want more health workers but you are not willing to pay them the salaries they deserve. So before you plan a holiday in one of the luxury Zanzibar hotels or any other African country, consider all these factors.
The future rests on the people that are willing to put in the work to feed one African child, educate one child and make sure they are fully equipped for an even brighter future. We don’t have to change the world overnight but the little that we do can change one child to thinking he is going to die to thinking he is going to be okay.
Collectively, we can do so much more. African children and the African population are dying because they are not being assisted or educated about their health. The African countries also need to be taught about health issues because they also need know how to take care of their health.

Access to clean water is a basic necessity

Have you ever envisioned the dreams you keep dreaming of coming true? The big house you always gaze at when passing by or the car you constantly stare at by the garage? You are so obsessed with these assets but your heart doesn’t allow that affection to turn into action. Access is to clean water in South Africa is something that every citizen has a right to, it should not have to be something that is dreamed of. You look at those things and think they are a bit far-fetched for you.

Here is my theory; if you can even allow your mind to think of a Porsche, you can get it. You have allowed your mind to think it is capable of driving that mean machine so why not start putting the dream into reality? Everybody can dream but it is useless if those dreams remain as dreams and are not executed or at least tried to be pursued.
Be careful of the brain, it is very good at playing useless mind games on people. Some people have a tendency of thinking that only a few people are eligible of the finer things in life. The society has killed our spirits to such an extent that we think only a selected few are fitting for certain things. There are several other organizations and NGO’s besides Mvula that are committed to ensuring that basic service delivery including access to clean purified water and sanitation are accessible to all.
It is sad to think that some people think they are only meant to stay on the bottom of the ladder of success, that all they were made for in life was to be told what to do and sleep. When you think about the opportunities that surface on a daily basis and you think about the numerous souls that are going to think they not good enough is despicable.
Don’t let that dim your shine, you can stay in the Upper East Side, you can drive a Merc Coupe and yes, you can run the corporate world, yes you! It doesn’t matter how you started what matters is what are you doing now? You are living now therefore, live!
Too many people are crushed by fears of not having enough confidence in their beliefs or talents. You are a true reflection of your past but your future is something you should start cooking now, add meat, spice, salt and the finest herbs and eat!
How you were brought up was not your business then and is not your business now. It is not your fault you thought you were not worthy before but it is your fault if you keep failing yourself hereon going forward. The stars shine to everyone from the sky, they don’t shine for a chosen location, we all get to witness the bright glory.
Never let anybody tell you can’t do it. You can do whatever you set your mind to, work hard for and whatever you put your determination in to. You know by? Everybody is equal in this ring of life, you are not categorized by your yesterday because that day has passed and can’t be fixed anymore but your tomorrow can always be changed because that is something you are slowly striving to be the best in.
You are not your parents that last bread you had to share with your siblings because that was the last one is not you either. You are a replica of those things but not a representative of the past now. You are rectifying all the hardships you went through now and just edifying them to put a shining point to your real yet sour upbringing.
Your scars don’t change your chances of becoming a mogul in the making. In fact I think you have better chances of succeeding because you know everything there is to know about trying times so living in prosperity should become mandatory for you. Water purification and implementing the delivery of it to rural and outlying areas is a bit more complicated than most would think.
Jump to the highest mountain not only because you can but because you, yes you, the village boy who had to walk miles to travel to school or fetch a bucket of water deserves it!

Volunteers assist with Water Sanitation

An internship is a great way of starting your career. It is a mandate that has been implemented to benefit the youth of South Africa and throughout the world. With job creation proving to be such a dilemma, internships give graduates a sense of belief that not all hope is lost. There are loads of university graduates from Europe and America that come to volunteer in South Africa to assist with local projects, including initiatives started by the Mvula Trust.

There is a wide variety of internships that are available on search engines and the choice of your internship will be based on what you studied. With companies being adamant that they are looking for experienced candidates, internships are a good way of putting your best foot forward.Water and sanitation of water resources in South Africa is a huge ongoing project and the use of volunteers and interns willing to assist has helped tremendously.

The benefit of being an intern is you have the opportunity of working with people who have been in the field for a long time. These experts are there to groom and transform you to be a better professional in the future. Being an intern is different than being a permanent employee.

A permanent employee is expected to know all the rules, responsibilities and requirements of an organization. An internship is taught the rules, responsibilities and requirements of an organization. Whenever you do a mistake, you are taught as an intern to rectify it and believe in your ambitions.

The most important aspect is confidence; an intern has to have assurance that they are going to be the best asset in their chosen field. Cape Town has a lot of opportunities for interns who want a kick start in the corporate game. It offers a diverse choice that doesn’t only cater for South Africans but for interested people outside South Africa too.

Cape Town is widely known for uplifting the lives of the youth in the best ways it knows how. Internships are a good way of giving interns a sense of independence and also cater for job creation in relevant careers. When graduates have something constructive to do, it also shows them that are a part of the change in the economy of South Africa.

It is always recommended that one must study something they enjoy and have a passion for. This is an important aspect because interning requires a lot of hunger to realize your dream. If you going to get a qualification for the sake of just having it, you won’t enjoy being an intern. However, if you love what you are doing, you will always strive to achieve efficient and effective results. African Sunrise volunteers gives students and graduates the opportunity to come and volunteer Africa.

With all that said, everything now rests on your shoulders as a graduate. The fact that you are being groomed to be a better professional shouldn’t make you relax and think you don’t have to work hard. An intern will always have a mentor and mentors don’t like guiding people who don’t have a vision. It is a waste of time according to them to teach someone who doesn’t want to be catapulted to greater heights.

Effort and commitment is required in everything that you put your mind to and being an intern is no different. What you have put in is what you will reap out. If you are devoted in your designated duties, you will achieve your desired goals and sometimes exceed them. On the flip side, if you show no labors to being the best intern ever hired, the results won’t be so favorable.

It all boils down to you as an individual essentially and if you don’t keep pushing yourself, nobody will. If you don’t fight for your career and your future, you will not be amongst the interns who decided to work hard and remain positive no matter what obstacle they faced. However, if you keep nurturing your specialty, the rewards will be fruitful.

Rural water supply

Despite significant investment and important progress, access to safe potable water continues to be one of the most pressing challenges for rural communities in South Africa. Figures provided by the department of water affairs indicate that in April 2010 1.6-million people in South Africa did not have access to any formal water supply. However, because these figures are based on expenditure on water infrastructure, the actual backlog may be significantly high given that water supply in rural areas faces major challenges in terms of operation and maintenance and many villages counted as served, no longer have a functional supply.

Since Mvula’s inception in 1993 we have championed community-based models for water services provision. We have an international reputation for advancing community based management and establishing highly successful community based water services providers.

Our Implementation Model: Tried, Tested and Sustainable

Over the years we have piloted and refined an implementation approach based on a number of sound principles. This has become known as the CBO Implementation Model. This model focuses on a community management approach where a local water committee plays a key role in the implementation of a water project.   Our approach to project implementation ensures:

  • A thorough feasibility study including technical, social, institutional and financial assessments to ensure the overall viability of proposed projects
  • Participatory project planning, where all stakeholders (in particular local government and community representatives) participate in key decisions. Decision making is focused on who the legal water services provider (WSP) will be, level of service, technology choice and roles and responsibilities
  • A holistic project design that addresses all components necessary for sustainability including community needs, appropriate technology choice, health and hygiene practices, institutional capacity building, cost recovery and effective operations and maintenance.
  • A construction phase that focuses on community awareness, local capacity building, entrepreneurial skills development, and use of local labour.

An operations and maintenance (O&M) mentoring phase where Mvula ensures:


  1. The WSP has the necessary capacity to effectively fulfill its functions of O&M, billing and revenue collection, customer relations and monitoring and reporting
  2. Support mechanisms are in place
  3. Health and hygiene promotion continues within the community
  4. Development of partnerships between local government, the community and water services institutions
  5. A monitoring and evaluation phase where information is used to take any corrective action needed.