Clean Water, Strong Communities: How Youth Are Innovating for Peace

As the world marks another World Water Day on March 22nd, the theme for this year, “Water for Peace,” serves as a powerful reminder of the crucial role that water plays in promoting peace, stability, and cooperation among nations and communities worldwide.


In the face of escalating global challenges, this year’s theme underscores the imperative of leveraging water as a catalyst for peacebuilding and sustainable development.


Amidst this call to action, the African Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge (YouthADAPT) emerges as a beacon of hope, empowering young minds to spearhead innovative initiatives addressing water-related challenges. Recognizing the pivotal role of youth in driving positive change, this challenge serves as a platform for nurturing their creativity, passion, and commitment towards water conservation and equitable access.


In a world marred by conflict and instability, access to clean water is often a casualty of discord, exacerbating tensions and perpetuating cycles of poverty and deprivation. However, the YouthADAPT Challenge offers a ray of optimism, as young leaders across the globe come together to devise ingenious solutions to mitigate water scarcity, promote sustainable usage, and foster resilience in vulnerable communities.


The YouthADAPT Winners represent a diverse array of backgrounds, from urban centers to rural communities, spanning across regions and continents. Despite their varied contexts, they share a common dedication to improving access to clean water, promoting sanitation practices, and enhancing hygiene behaviors, particularly in underserved and vulnerable populations.


In line with this year’s theme of Leveraging Water for Peace, the YouthADAPT  Challenge winners stand out as agents for change through their solutions ranging from innovative technologies and community-driven initiatives to advocacy campaigns and capacity-building programs. Whether it’s designing low-cost water purification systems, implementing sustainable sanitation solutions, or empowering communities through education and awareness campaigns, these young leaders are driving tangible and sustainable change in their communities and beyond 


In this introduction, we will delve into the inspiring stories of YouthADAPT Winners who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, resilience, and leadership in tackling water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges. Through their groundbreaking solutions, they not only address immediate needs but also contribute to building more resilient and sustainable communities for future generations fostering peace building all over the continent.



Founded by Kaveto Tjatjara from Namibia


The project addresses water scarcity, an effect of climate change in Sub Saharan Africa, by building environmentally friendly waterless toilets that restore the dignity of people and improve their health. Flushh turns human waste into valuable biochar that can be used as fertiliser. Flushh is on a mission to revolutionize sanitation in Namibia. 

Their innovative waterless toilet is crafted from locally sourced and recycled materials, making it a sustainable solution for communities grappling with water scarcity. 


In a recent interview for AfriLabs, Flushh CEO Kaveto emphasized his role as an advocate for change, striving to contribute to peacekeeping efforts. He stated, “Water has always been central to human development. In 2018-2019, Namibia experienced its worst drought in 90 years, leading the government to declare a national emergency. Unfortunately, the impact of climate change means that many developing nations will face water scarcity in the future. As water becomes a precious yet limited resource, it is crucial that we utilize it wisely to maintain peace among neighboring countries. This is why, at Flushh, we believe in the importance of continuously innovating our eco-friendly waterless toilets to enhance our human resilience and adaptation.”



Established by Rita Idehai, a young female entrepreneur from Nigeria


Ecobarter is a social enterprise improving Nigeria’s adaptive capacity to climate risks such as flooding, by mainstreaming sustainable wastes management practices across major cities and invariably keeping Nigeria’s drainages free of waste materials. Through her technology enabled doorstep waste collection and recycling platform, Rita is helping households use their wastes as cash, currency for basic health insurance, and donations to charity amongst others. She is also empowering vulnerable women communities to build back their lives transforming typically hard to recycle wastes into new functional products.

For Rita, “Water supports life in its basic form.  It helps nourish our bodies, grow our food, and move us across geographies while providing economic resources. Without the fundamentals that water provides to life – humans, plants, and animals – we would simply cease to exist”

Mpatsa Engineering

Founded by Ulaya Mwale from Malawi, Mpatsa Engineering is committed to advancing modern and sustainable technologies in water supply, irrigation, and energy provision in Malawi. Through their solar-powered water supply systems, they have facilitated access to clean water for communities. The enterprise aims to establish itself as a prominent advocate for sustainable water, energy, and irrigation technologies, serving both local and international clients.


“Ulaya Mwale, Mpatsa Engineering’s CEO, emphasizes this commitment: “We’re dedicated to tackling the WASH crisis in Africa. Millions lack clean water, sanitation, and are susceptible to preventable illnesses. This motivates us to develop innovative solutions for lasting access to safe water and sanitation.


WASH is more than just hygiene; it’s a foundation for progress. It fosters public health, education, gender equality, and economic growth. Clean water and sanitation are fundamental human rights, and Mpatsa Engineering strives to make them a reality for all. WASH empowers individuals, especially women and girls, by freeing up time for education and economic pursuits. It also protects the environment and strengthens resilience to climate change.

Iriba Water Group 

Founded by Yvette Ishimwe from Rwanda, IRIBA Water Group Ltd is a social enterprise that offers innovative drinking water solutions to communities and schools in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The enterprise aims to provide safe drinking water to low-income communities and schools.


Their three-fold business model includes:


IRIBA Tap&Drink for low-earning communities: The enterprise provides eco-friendly water ATMs and kiosks for public drinking water points in urban communities, particularly in crowded areas such as markets and public car parking stations. This initiative aims to facilitate access to affordable safe drinking water for low-income earners.


IRIBA Tap&Drink for schools: For schools lacking drinking water facilities, the enterprise installs eco-friendly water ATMs customized to fit each school’s needs. Students pay a nominal termly subscription fee and receive unlimited access to safe drinking water for the entire academic term at no upfront cost to the school.


IRIBA for rural communities: The enterprise installs solar-powered pumps in hard-to-reach valleys to provide rural communities with access to safe water.

Through her innovation, Yvette has been able to reach over 300,000 people, thereby reducing the number of children missing school due to a lack of access to safe drinking water. According to Yvette, “clean water is life, and life is a human right.”

This World Water Day, themed “Water for Peace,” reminds us that water is more than just essential; it’s a bridge to global harmony. The YouthADAPT  Challenge exemplifies the power of young minds tackling water issues. Their innovative ideas and unwavering commitment aren’t just building a sustainable future, they’re paving the way for lasting peace and prosperity. Let’s celebrate their achievements and renew our commitment to using water as a tool for peace, stability, and shared global progress. We can achieve this by actively supporting and empowering young water changemakers!