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University of Venda: Mukondeni Ceramic Water Filters & Pottery Project

Seeing Opportunities

The Enactus 2017 National Champions from the University of Venda (UNIVEN) who represented South Africa at the 2017 Enactus World Cup, partnered with Mukondeni Cooperative in 2015. This cooperative is aimed at improving rural water quality in communities without access to clean water and women economic empowerment. This NGO is located in Mashamba Village, in the Makhado Municipality and it is operated by 33 beneficiaries. The group manufactured ceramic water filters as well as handmade pottery inspired by indigenous African cultural knowledge and skills.

Taking Action

Mukondeni Cooperative experienced challenges with the efficiency of their products, and in particular the water filter. After a thorough needs assessment, the team assisted the beneficiaries to address the defect formula for efficient and improved percolation of this low-cost ceramic water filter. They also suggested the introduction of porcelain as alternative to the current pottery as part of their increased product range diversification strategy and fostered strategic partnerships for market expansion and increased sales. A vocational work program was introduced to create awareness and interest amongst youth in partnering with the cooperative for sustainability purposes.

Enabling Progress

Through this project, the local rural community now have access to affordable clean drinking water, while it also drove sales and ensured an increased income for the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries were capacitated as they attended an e-commerce-marketing training program. This equipped them with relevant marketing, financial literacy and accounting skills. The Team also offered a two-day Conflict Resolution Workshop. A new partnership was established through an MOU with Tangible-Deco Company that is aimed at driving their sales. This led to an expanded market-base internationally with orders from Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the table. The sales increased from 3,100 filters sold in 2016 to 4,500 filters in 2017.