LINDA DE JAGER & MONAKO DIBETLE
Through an exciting partnership with internationally acclaimed land artist, Strijdom van der Merwe, our project aims at shining the spotlight on a remarkable and heart-warming case study about a group of elderly women in the village of Moretele, outside of Hammanskraal, North West Province. After many years of water insecurity in their village, the women formed a “Water Stokvel” and saved money towards the drilling of boreholes for each contributing member. On a meagre government pension and against a soaring cost of living, the women beat the odds, and are today water secure.
Across Africa, women and girls are most often the primary users, providers and managers of water in their households and are the guardians of household hygiene. If a water system falls into disrepair, women are the ones forced to travel long distances over many hours to meet their families’ water needs. One estimate suggests that some 40 billion hours a year, are spent collecting water in sub-Saharan Africa – equal to a year’s labour for the entire workforce of France (UNDP, 2006). Socially defined gender roles in water management often create disparities and inequalities regarding water access, use, and labour, making consideration of gender issues an important component of water governance. (Journal of Gender and Water, 2019)
The short-term goal of the venture is to create awareness about underground water, celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of these women and empower them with new skills to build an even stronger community. The long-term goal of this venture is to create a “Water Stokvel” blueprint to help shape a new narrative about water stewardship that other communities can learn from and potentially replicate.