A chance meeting of three young ladies at a training program birthed the concept of Majik Water. Among shortlisted attendees for the Global Solutions Program by Singularity University in Silicon Valley, United States, Beth Koigi, Clare Sewell and Anastasia Kaschenko came together while pitching their projects. They had been working on similar concepts, Beth worked previously in water filtration and had interests in Atmospheric water generation and Anastasia a Ukrainian living in Canada, having worked on similar projects for a couple of years. The collaboration was cemented by Claire Sewell, a strategic consultant from London, who came on board to catapult the idea into a working enterprise.
Their concept is exploring ways to provide water to regions that experience water scarcity at a large scale. In October last year, they conducted a research in dry land regions such as Makueni County, to aid in building their prototype that would be able to provide clean drinking water from the atmosphere.
In December of the same year, they won the EDF Pulse Africa Award. The €15,000 cash prizewent into completing their prototype. Available technology for atmospheric water harvesting is expensive, consumes a lot of energy and primarily works in high humid conditions. They were very specific that their product should be affordable, use solar energy and finally be able to harvest water in dry regions. Early in 2018, they came second at the MIT Water Innovation Award and received a cash prize of $7,500.
They are among nine finalists that will pitch at the 2018 American Society of Mechanical Engineers(ASME) in May in the ISHOW Innovation Showcase. The competition is aimed at individuals and organizations with physical sellable products that will have a social impact. The global competition has four Kenyan startups among the finalists for the East African Chapter.
Beth says, “A lot is happening in the Kenyan innovative space. What we are trying to do is simply address a pressing issue of water scarcity. It is projected that by year 2025, 1.8 billion people mostly from Sub Saharan Africa will have zero access to water.”
They were featured by the Financial Times as being among the 50 ideas that will change the world and also in the Tech Moran a leading Kenyan tech and start-up blog.
They are currently participating in the Mass challenge Israel, a 3-month accelerator program in which they are receiving mentorship from a renowned practitioner in the field of water innovation. They stand a chance to win the overall award at the end of the program.
In March 2018, they joined the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre where they are receiving business development and advisory services in addition to networking opportunities to access future funding for their project.