Majik water is a technology-driven solution company that has a prototype machines that harvest water from atmosphere to provide clean water to off-grid communities. Their device absorbs water from the air and converts it into clean drinking water using solar technology.
The device uses silica gel that are non-toxic desiccants and sponge- like materials to absorb water from atmosphere. Humidity is captured into the device by a solar-powered fan and the desiccant collects the water. The gels are then heated up with solar power to release the water.
How it was founded?
Majik water was founded by Anastasia Kaschenko, Beth Koigi and Clare Sewell. The company was registered in 2017. Majik is derived from Kiswahili words Maji meaning water while k stands for kuvuna-that means harvesting.
Beth was born in Kijabe an area that has adequate water supply. However, when she was studying at Chuka University, they faced perennial water shortages which forced them to buy clean water for drinking. The only available water they could receive was filthy.
“Going for months without any tap water became a very bad situation. Where I used to live, we didn’t get any tap water at all, so even doing simple things like going to the toilet – I would go to the mall instead. Having no water at all is worse than just having unpurified water, so I started thinking about a way to not have to rely on the council,” Said Beth.
It is this long suffering that motivated her to create carbon filters to help in water purification. Later, while doing a course on climate change at Singularity University at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center in California, she met Clare Sewell and Anastasia Kaschenko who had similar idea to provide reliable water solution to the society.
Clare, had been working as a strategic consultant for 9 years in London and she has also started her own startup firm in Malawi. Anastacia is an expert in Environmental Science and she has worked for product research and development companies in Canada. Beth holds a Master’s degree in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi and she has extensive project management and water market expertise having started her own water filtration company that distributed over 5,000 filters to low income households in Kenya.
The trio ladies realised they shared a common vision to provide a lasting solution to the water scarcity around the world where every person has access to adequate clean drinking water.
One of the first pilot project is in Ark Children’s Home at Thika which has a device that harvests 50 litres of water per day that provides the children and staff with clean and safe drinking water generated from the atmosphere. The second project of the company is its third piloting stage in Cape Town South Africa and it provides 500 liters per day depending on levels of humidity. The pilot programmes are meant to test how the technology will perform in Kenya and South Africa.
Source of energy and cost of the device
The solar energy and batteries used for the prototype are very expensive and they are currently looking for ways to reduce the costs down.
The company is planning to partner with companies dealing with non-renewable sources of energy to make their device affordable and provide sustainable sources of energy to their prospective clients. The prototype in Thika explores to reduce the cost substantially by using direct solar thermal energy and will be in larger scale.
Majik Water has been accorded several accolades internationally thanks to their efforts of innovate new technology.
The company was awarded the 1st prize EDF Pulse Africa awards in Paris emerging the winner out of 97 companies that submitted entries for the very first time on December 19th 2017.
” Access to drinking water is one of the continents greatest challenges. Our solution helps prevent the spread of certain disuses, thereby helping to save lives. EDF pulse Africa gives us the opportunity to cross borders and develop our project in francophone Africa. Our project lead team is made up of three women. Female entrepreneurship in Africa must be encouraged”, Said Beth Koigi after Majik Water was presented with the award.
In 2018, they managed to get the second place in MIT’s water Innovation Prize, third place at University of Oxford Africa Innovation Fair and were honoured as the Young Water Solutions Fellowship 2018.
In 2018 November, magic water was shortlisted for the forthcoming Royal Academy of Engineering Africa prize 2019. The Royal Academy of Engineering Africa prize is in its fifth year, where 16 African inventors from six countries have been shortlisted to compete for funding, training and mentoring for projects that can revolutionise sectors of agriculture, science and women’s health. The winner will be awarded £25,000 and the three runners up will receive £10,000 each.
Beth Koigi and her cofounders, Sewell and Anastasia Kaschenko, were also among the 2018 finalists in UN Environmental Young Champions of the Earth.
Majik water appeared on Financial Times as one of the new ideas that will transform and shape the world in the future and was among the nine firms that had a chance to pitch at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), a body that backed the ISHOW Innovation.
Solutions to the water scarcity
It is estimated that there are six times as much water in the air as there is in all rivers in the world and If you have air, you can have enough, clean, safe drinking water. The firm believes water-from-air technologies is a great solution that can be used when clean drinking water from natural sources is not readily available.
With effects of climate change and population increase in the world, water has remained a scarce resource in some countries. But with innovations like majik water, technology can hasten contributing progress and permanent solutions across a range of sustainable Development Goals, among them water and sanitation, health, economics and the environment. Sustainable Development Goal number six aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
“The problem is that, increasingly, people are suffering from drought, or their water is contaminated with items that are dangerous but expensive to remove from the water, such as the high fluoride contamination in parts of Kenya. This means there are large water-stressed swathes of the country where organizations will not drill boreholes because the water does not meet World Health Organization standards”, Clare Sewell one of the cofounders of majik water noted.
On her part, Beth urged the government and the Kenyans to develop effective measures to harvest and store water during rain seasons so as to tackle water shortages during dry spells. She also asked industries to avoid water pollution. Beth explained their water firm is targeting to reach out to the local communities living in arid and semi-arid regions who do not have access to enough clean drinking water.
Ms Koigi expressed great hope that two to three years from now, the development of Majik Water will advance to manufacture more ‘majik ‘products in the market by establishing water bottling substations in Kenya and abroad.