Annalise Grobler was a graphic designer in South Africa when she was struck by an idea. Why not devise a very simple, cost-effective, viable way to purify water in Africa? Africa is a land of inconceivable extremities when it comes to water. The large rivers include the Congo, Nile, Zambezi and Niger and Lake Victoria is the world’s second largest – but Africa is the second driest continent in the world, after Australia, owing its sad position mostly due to a lot of factors. According to WWF, “Fourteen countries in Africa are already experiencing water stress; another 11 countries are expected to join them by 2025 at which time nearly 50 per cent of Africa’s predicted population of 1.45 billion people will face water stress or scarcity. Nearly 51 per cent (300 million people) in sub-Saharan countries lack access to a supply of safe water and 41 per cent lack adequate sanitation.” And it is in this context that Annalise Grober’s Aqua Salveo might just hold the key to solving the biggest natural resource crisis on planet Earth.
Annalise was more focused on the immediate processes primarily, delegating the ‘after-effects’ and the ‘big picture’ for a later stage as she looked around for a team to make this idea a reality. Hendrick Petrick, an SA based scientist whom she met through a mutual friend decided to take the challenge in return for a share in the enterprise, and through him Modderfontein Laboratory became the testing ground. A venture that started in 2002 tasted success in two years, christened Aqua Salveo. Adding just three drops of these chlorine- and odorfree water purification drops can disinfect a litre of water for up to two years in less than an hour ! The implications are infinite to say the least, starting with Africa.
In addition to Aqua Salveo, she has developed two more products – Human Glove™ , which is a revolutionary alcohol free protective gel that forms an anti-bacterial glove on the hands in under a minute and remains active for 4 – 7 hours and Surface Sanitizer™ that forms an anti bacterial layer on the surface in minutes after application that remains effective for up to 24 hours and up to 14 days on hard surfaces. Similar to our Human Glove™ product, Surface Sanitizer™ is used on work surfaces, kitchen tops, medical implements and other equipment in need of long term sterilization.
Annalise has also ensured that her flagship product is conforms to the most stringent health guidelines and audit of the European Union and the US ( a process that took her 4 years), and with the internationally recognized SAB accreditation, it has now been recognized in Italy, Iran, South America, Nigeria Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya (which took only two weeks because of the SABS mark) and Swaziland. Aqua Salveo had quoted an estimated R10-million in product of which almost 50% was destined for export guaranteed in 2008.
Aqua Salveo was recently a finalist in the JCCI/Nedbank 2009 Exporter of the Year Awards in the category for Emerging Exporter.
With a business that is guided by the belief that all lives, no matter where they are lived, have equal value and the right to basic necessities, Aqua Salveo might just hold the solution, all thanks to a graphic designer struck by an idea.
Aqua Salveo would hopefully make reports like this a thing of the past. Sam Lazaro reports on the shortage of potable water in Ethiopia.