13 June 2018 | In a first for the organization, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has opened up a safe water kiosk in Mocuba, Mozambique. The water vending machine is being tested in a pilot scheme aimed at providing a reliable source of drinking water via a self-sustaining business concept as opposed to free wells that suffer from inadequate upkeep.

An ADRA press release said that the water kiosk will provide 20 liters a day of safe water for more than 1,000 people in Mocuba, a district of the Zambezia province in Mozambique which has lacked an adequate safe water supply for years and has suffered from prolonged drought conditions in Southern Africa. Before the water kiosk, many were forced to fetch their water from a contaminated nearby river.

Mocuba’s mayor, Beatriz Gulamo, joined a group of over 100 people present at the grand opening of the new water kiosk. “We are very pleased to receive this kiosk. To the entire municipality, this is of great value,” said Gulamo.

“Though water vending is not new, ADRA’s water kiosk approach is unique because it is a self-sustaining business model that in addition, distributes safe drinking water,” said Jason Brooks, senior technical advisor for WASH at ADRA International. “The approach of simply drilling wells and training the community to repair them had to give way to a more sustainable service for larger numbers of people, and ADRA wants to provide the most cost effective and long-lasting water service that will not break down for lack of funds to repair them. With a 15-year presence already established in Mocuba and a great need for safe water, ADRA selected the neighborhood of 6,000 as the first launching point to install the water kiosk.”

The kiosk is powered by solar panels and features multiple water taps, two video monitors showing sanitation and hygiene tips; ice dispensers; clothes wash and recycling capabilities; and cell phone chargers that permit users to buy cellphone credits.

A kiosk attendant wielding a tablet handles sales of soap, toothbrushes and feminine products and is also available to help monitor the water taps.

Funding for the water kiosk has come from a number of sources including a $60,000 contribution from the General Conference Adventist Health Ministries. Grundfos, a global pump manufacturer, provided the kiosk’s water pump technology.

“ADRA wants to be at the forefront of responding to pressing needs for basic essentials such as water,” said Brooks, “We plan to run two to three other kiosks in other locations, but this is a pilot that we will test out for a while before we can do so.”

According to the denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, there are 361,962 Adventists in Mozambique as well as 1,038 churches.

Image courtesy of ADRA Mozambique. Mocuba’s mayor, Beatriz Gulamo (in red), tests the new water system installed in the community.

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