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Critical water and hygiene aid through Xylem partnership with SOS

September 30, 2020

JOHANNESBURG, SA, (September 30, 2020) – Xylem Africa has solidified its partnership with Save Our Schools (SOS), a non-profit organisation founded to improve water equity within impoverished communities. The partnership will see a collaborative effort from both organisations to provide and improve hygiene and sanitation facilities in schools and within the broader community.

Recently, residents of the Bloekombos informal community and surrounding areas received 8,000 masks from SOS and Xylem Africa.

As the pandemic gained momentum, SOS increased its efforts to help and engaged Xylem Africa to sponsor facemasks to help keep the community safe. The 8,000 masks were distributed through soup kitchens hosted by SOS, as well as in the Bloekombos HIV Clinic, TB clinic and Secondary Schools in the area. Located roughly two kilometres from Kraaifontein in the Oostenberg municipality, Bloekombos is home to 65,000 people, eight schools, two clinics and innumerable small and micro-businesses. The facemasks help support a community where healthcare services are in high demand, and the clinics support around 7,500 residents each month.

"Xylem Africa's affinity with water has always brought us close to the needs of under-serviced communities across the continent," said Chetan Mistry, Strategy and Marketing Manager for Xylem Africa. "We partnered with SOS as it aligned with the values we put at the core of our work. SOS is doing incredible work to improve the lives of countless South Africans, and we are humbled and excited to continue a journey of sustainable impact with them.”

The masks were donated through Watermark, Xylem Africa's social responsibility program. Watermark provides volunteer, donation, education and innovation opportunities for Xylem’s staff and partners, working closely with communities to create the most lasting impacts.

Through Watermark, Xylem engages with numerous non-profits and NGOs across the globe to help deliver collective goals such as access to clean water. Watermark is supporting different initiatives to promote community health and resilience, including a donation of 40,000 masks to essential water workers in rural communities in the United States.

Watermark has partnered with UNICEF to provide COVID-19 relief. The partnership provides access to safe water and sanitation for vulnerable children and families. Xylem’s COVID-19 contributions are directed to the most at-risk communities, providing critical supplies and supporting UNICEF’s community health programs and youth engagement initiatives. Xylem’s partners can also participate by nominating charities for the Partner Community Grants Program. Learn more at

“The role of water in community health and resilience has grown during the pandemic,” said Chetan Mistry, Strategy and Marketing Manager for Xylem Africa. “This PPE initiative is one aspect of our efforts to support the health and safety of essential water operators as they serve their communities. A safe working environment is a fundamental part of providing safe water and sanitation to our communities. By combining our efforts with innovative partners, we are one step closer to solving water in those communities.”

“SOS projects focus on the WASH sector in under-privileged communities to improve water and sanitation access. Our goals support SDG6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. We work closely with the community leaders to create sustainable solutions that have a lasting impact. Through the projects, it means we can also create critical job opportunities, with a focus on women, which is vital to uplift and engage in employment" said Shelley Humphreys, CEO of SOS.

The NPO's efforts have not gone unnoticed, and it was the first UNESCO-partnered water charity to be made co-directors for Netflix documentary, How NOT to drain a country. For SOS to continue in its mission, however, the support of businesses is required to back its efforts. Xylem Africa is proud to collaborate with SOS and provide the facemasks, which had previously been non-existent in the Bloekembos community.