Surajo Ismaila is a young Nigerian innovator who built a truck using scrap iron and a motorcycle engine to fight the water crisis in his community. Before we tell you about his innovative water solution, let’s first look at the water situation in Nigeria.
Freshwater is one of the most sought natural resources in the world. While 70 percent of the earth is covered with water, a staggering number of the world’s population lacks access to it. This natural resource has over the years become increasingly scarce. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to thundering river valleys.
However, this is where most of the world’s water challenges are concentrated. Sadly, in the midst of plenty, many Africans remain thirsty. According to UNICEF, water scarcity in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, is worrying. About 26.5 million Nigerian children experience high water vulnerability. According to WaterAid, 60 million Nigerians do not have clean water close to their homes.
The water crisis in Nigeria is particularly acute in the northern region where only 30% of people gain access to safe drinking water. The situation has contributed to the widespread of waterborne diseases as well as an increase in deaths particularly among children. In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari declared a state of emergency in the water, hygiene, sanitation sector.
He went on to launch an action plan to tackle the water crisis in Nigeria. While the government is making effort to curb the water problem, more work still needs to be done. Luckily, NGOs and independent bodies have joined the fight. Individuals are also fighting the water menace in Nigeria.
Surajo Ismaila Supplies Water to his Community
Ismaila is a native of the Rubochi community. The 23-year-old self-taught technician is solving the water problem in his community. A report by WHO and UNICEF on water supply, sanitation, and hygiene revealed significant progress has been made toward achieving universal access to basic water. However, it also showed huge gaps in water services provided across the world.
Such a gap is evidently wide in Surajo’s village and that is what prompted him to think about a way to help. One day, he came across a woman who had traveled a long distance looking for water. This prompted him to reflect on the struggle women in his village endure walking long distances to fetch water. He decided to build a truck. Subsequently, he went out and looked for scraps of iron.
Then, he bought a motorcycle engine. Since he didn’t have money to acquire everything he needed at once, it took him two years to build the truck. Today, women in his village do not walk long distances to fetch water. Instead, they simply call Surajo Ismaila to get water in a matter of minutes. The young Nigerian has brought great relief to his people. With his intervention, families get enough water whenever they need it.
Ismaila’s Plan for the Community
Surajo has a bigger vision for his people. He is seeking more effective and sustainable ways to provide potable water to the community. In this regard, He recently invented a subscription-based water dispenser. His idea is to register community members and have water dispensers around the community.
Members will use cards to access water and if one is not registered, they cannot get water. This innovation will help Surajo to reach more people and also ensure a continuous supply of water even when he is away. Previously, he has come up with other inventions.
During his primary school days, he fabricated tippers, lorries, tractors, a bulldozer, an excavator, and a payloader using discarded cartons. While in college, he participated in different exhibitions and competitions and won several awards. His childhood dream was to become a certified mechanical engineer.
Although he has not realized this dream, he has been trying as much as possible to acquire technical experience locally. The young Nigerian innovator laments that neither the government nor the private sector has offered him support to gain more knowledge and skills in innovation. He explains,
“Although I do get financial support from some organizations especially during exhibition, but the major challenge I am facing is how government or any organization will come to my aid to support me with funds to buy some equipment so that I can also stand on my own.”
Ismaila is passionate about addressing the water problem in his community. He also hopes to raise money to fabricate a robot and other moving machines. His vision is to create innovative solutions to solve other problems in society. He looks forward to acquiring advanced knowledge in technology to help him become a better innovator. Take a look at his innovations in this video.