When they visited South Africa, Kenya and Malawi, Niels and Minna Due Jensen saw with their own eyes that donations from the Poul Due Jensen Foundation make a world of difference.
- We saw it with our own eyes: That water is the source of life,
and that our support for a water supply, for example, creates new
and better life conditions for a lot of people. It is fantastic to
see that the contributions from The Poul Due Jensen Foundation make
These are the words of Chairman of The Foundation Niels Due
Jensen. Together with his wife Minna, he recently visited Africa,
which offered great experiences that made their mark on both of
them. On their journey, they met Grundfos colleagues, people in
small dusty villages and happy children in schools with water
supplies supported by the Foundation - and they were faced with
great challenges when visiting one of the world's biggest slum
cities with a world famous actor.
Always good to meet face to face
The first stop was to Grundfos colleagues in South Africa.
- It is always a great pleasure to visit the various parts of
Grundfos and meet the employees. There is so much talk about
globalisation, and it feels great to meet people face to face and
hear about the business, which is going well. The African continent
offers great potential for Grundfos solutions, and our companies
are making a great effort, says Niels Due Jensen.
- It is always a positive experience, because we are given such
a warm welcome. We were met with great hospitality, Minna Due
Improved living conditions in Malawi
The main purpose of the journey was to visit some of the projects
that have received support from The Poul Due Jensen Foundation,
either financially or in the form of Grundfos products, typically
SQFlex pumps or LIFELINK systems. Niels and Minna went on to Malawi
and Kenya, and this leg of the journey was characterised by long
drives - which were unavoidable in order to reach the remote areas
where the Foundation is making a difference. In Malawi, one of the
poorest countries on the continent, they met up with the American
organisation Water Missions International, WMI, which is behind a
number of projects which aims to provide people with clean
- Not only is WMI a valued business partner, they are also a
loyal Grundfos customer. In order for the donations from the
Foundation to really work, our business partners need to have an
insight into and show respect for life in the local communities.
And this is definitely the case here, where they help to provide
clean water. Without training in and an understanding of hygiene it
is impossible to safeguard the water, and on top of that, the water
is a prerequisite for growing vegetables, thereby creating the
possibility for improved nourishment and maybe even a livelihood
for some people. Here, the average life expectancy is only 40
years, and clean water is actually the source of a better and
longer life through better health and hygiene, and also offers the
means for families to grow crops for themselves or even for selling
some of it at the local market, says Niels.
Local ownership is important
The projects are thus based on self-help and sustainability. They
also focus on creating a sense of ownership for the water
installations and systems among the local population, as otherwise
the systems are at risk of perishing due to lack of maintenance.
The Danish organisation Dan-ChurchAid operates in Malawi too. The
Foundation is supporting a four-year project with ten water and
- Africa is such a beautiful country, but severe poverty reigns
in many places. I very often thought that if only they had our
knowledge and tools, many things would be different in the small
villages that we passed on our way, Niels says.
- One moment you felt the hopelessness and saw the empty eyes,
and the next moment you experienced singing, happiness and
optimism. We could not help thinking that it must be possible to do
more. I spoke to a single mother who told me about her constant
worry: Have we got enough for tomorrow? Will we get enough water
and food tomorrow? Will we avoid illness tomorrow?
However, they were both happy to see that the donations from the
Foundation are making a difference.
Also via Dan-ChurchAid, which manages to collaborate with the
local tribes to ensure that everything is done at the right pace
and ensuring that everybody is working towards the same end
- These systems were openedin the autumn of 2012 and have
ensured the villagers an extra crop and thus prevented food
shortage. There is so much land here, and with the right tools, for
example our solar-driven solutions, it can be cultivated and ensure
food and welfare for many people, says Niels.
School, museum and slum
Kenya was the next destination for Niels and Minna. In addition to
visiting the Grundfos office in Nairobi and loyal dealers and
distributors, they visited the African farm that used to be owned
by the famous Danish author Karen Blixen in Ngong Hills an hour's
drive outside the capital Nairobi. Here, they took a closer look at
the SQFlex system which the Foundation has donated to the new
reception building. The place is beautifully situated and is a
magnet for tourists and known in many parts of the world. Back in
Nairobi, they met Hollywood actress Connie Nielsen, who runs the
Human Needs Project and is dedicated to improving
the living conditions in the vast slum city of Kibera in Nairobi.
Officially, 800,000 people live here in extreme poverty, in sheds
or huts with no running water and sewage systems.
The Human Needs Project aims to create a town centre that offers
a clean water supply and sanitary installations. These are
currently being built in close collaboration with the local people
and according to sustainable principles using, for example,
solar-based electricity, water purification and water reuse,
rainwater collection and a LIFELINK system donated by The Poul Due
The next point on the agenda was a visit to the town of
Kathangathini, where a LIFELINK system secures clean water.
- The visit to the local school was a fantastic experience. They
were very happy to receive us, and the children expressed their joy
with a happy song and dance. They demonstrated an amazing joy of
life that was quite infectious", Minna says.
- We experienced an incredible sense of solidarity and met the
local water board. They ensure that the equipment is running
satisfactorily and that everybody is given equal access to the
drinking water. They assume responsibility, Niels explains.
- All in all, our journey confirmed the fact that the donations
made by The Poul Due Jensen Foundation and Grundfos' solutions can
create changes by ensuring clean water. Because water is the source