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Clean water for one million people in Africa

Shoppers in British supermarkets are providing fresh, clean drinking water for one million people in Africa.

While people in the UK take water for granted, one billion people in the world don’t have access to clean water and two million people die every year from water-related diseases.

The Co-operative started donating a percentage of the sales from its own-brand range of mineral water - Fairbourne Springs, to a water systems project in Africa, in 2007.

Three years later, the deal has managed to bring life-saving water to some of the poorest and most remote communities in the world.

It has payed for unique roundabout pumps in South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland, transforming the lives of whole communities, especially for many women and children, who may have previously spent hours each day walking to collect water.

Twelve year-old Lerato Mogap used to spend three hours a day gathering water for her sick mum and younger brother. Now the clever ‘PlayPump’ has been installed in her village, Skuinsdrift, in the North West Province of South Africa, Lerato now uses this precious time studying towards her dream of becoming a nurse.

The clever ‘PlayPump’ water systems are powered by roundabouts, which children play on and pump water up to a storage tank for use by the whole community. The roundabout pumpsare so popular with children that there is never a shortage of volunteers, and the highly-efficient pumps also pump exta water for watering crops.

Sales of the mineral water were boosted when the Co-op bought Somerfield last year, as the consumer-owned retailer has continued its commitment to ethical trading, extending its reach.

Co-operative and Somerfield customers have now raised enough money to pay for 400 pumps in Africa, where new installations are being approved every week. The amount of clean drinking water this will provide equates to 140 Olympic-sized swimming pools - and means that one million people will have access to clean, safe water.

The Co-op’s Sean Toal, said: “Co-operative and Somerfield customers have really got behind this initiative. To provide clean and safe water for so many is an incredible achievement, which has literally been life-changing for the people concerned.

I collect water from this PlayPump,” said Ntsoaki Moerane from Ha-Mpusi village in Lesotho, southern Africa. “It helps us a lot because now there is always safe, clean water in the village. Previously I had to scare the animals away first so that I could collect water from the wells,” the 40-year-old said.

Hayley attribution