Majico is a social enterprise that aims to empower communities with sustainable water treatment technologies. Our water purification systems are powered by sunlight and can destroy pollutants and microorganisms, making them a complete method of water treatment.

Globally, 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and the problem is acute across Africa, where inadequate and unreliable public water provision has driven the rise of a thriving industry of small-scale, localised water vendors selling bottled water. In Tanzania, for example, 38% of the population depends on bottled water.

Majico works closely with local communities in sub-Saharan Africa to build affordable solar-powered water purification systems. We believe in the importance of building long-lasting partnerships with the communities that will be the primary beneficiaries and users of our technology. Central to our prototype design is the understanding of the culture and environment of the primary user.

In addition to implementing our systems in the communities, we are aiming to raise awareness of the water problem in urban areas, and, to achieve all this in a sustainable way, we are looking to build relations with the community through empowering local champions while giving communities the ownership of the design and implementation of our technologies.

The introduction of Majico’s cost-effective water purification systems will improve health by reducing the burden of water-borne diseases and providing easy and affordable access to clean drinking water. A healthier population with improved access to clean water is linked to increased productivity and its attendant economic benefits.

Summary of the technology

Our core technology is a novel photocatalytic membrane that can exploit both UV and visible light to degrade pollutants and remove bacteria from water. Our membrane uses photocatalysis, a process in which light activates a catalyst and triggers chemical reactions that degrade organic pollutants and attack bacteria. Our membrane exhibits much enhanced degradation and disinfection properties compared to conventional photoactive materials. Our technology is off-grid (uses no electricity), produces no toxic by-products, doesn’t affect the taste and smell of the water (unlike chlorination) and doesn’t produce secondary pollution or differential pressure (unlike filtration). These advantages allow for the design of automated and affordable off-grid solar powered treatment systems that can purify a plethora of water contaminants with minimal operation and at low cost.

Prizes, Funding, Competitions, Workshops

  • Part of the Allia Serious Impact Accelerator Programme (May 2018)
  • Finalists CUE 10k (Cambridge University Entrepreneur Society) (2018)
  • Winners of 100£ for 100 words challenge CUE (2017)
  • Finalists Student Challenges Competition, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London (2018)
  • Awarded Technology for Development Sandpit prize (2018)

The team

  • Serena Belluschi: I am a PhD student in medical science and I am interested in global health and international development with a focus on the history and the issues of the African continent. I have previously volunteered for a Ugandan NGO which focuses on improving quality of life through education. I there gained experience in working in developing countries in the not for profit sector. I brought my experience, passion and commitment to Majico with the mission and aim to help reducing the spread of waterborne diseases which are still a major cause of death affecting over 800 million people worldwide.
  • Mike Coto: I am a consultant and social entrepreneur working in the field of technology development. My research has taken me on a journey over the last 4 years exposing me to the issues facing the poorest billions. This has led me to become passionate about developing technologies that can empower communities, improve health and alleviate poverty. Through Majico I am working to apply the experience gained from academic research and transfer it into devices that can supply appropriate and affordable water treatment devices to the people most in need.
  • Peter Knight: I am a former biochemist currently working in materials science. Like many of my colleagues, I first embarked on a scientific career because it offers a means to contribute to society – at a minimum by adding to the sum of knowledge, but most satisfyingly if you can directly make a difference. Majico can make a difference, by using photocatalytic technology to provide clean water to those most in need in the developing world. The potential benefit is clear and inspiring, and it’s a pleasure to be part of a skilled and committed team translating research into real life solutions.
  • Jeroen Verheyen: Academic research can accomplish great things only when it gets into the real world. With that vision in mind, I have been working with numerous organisations in recent years to help bridge that gap. As a technology consultant, I worked with large multinational organisations to leverage on emerging technologies. Over the last 3 years, I have been very passionate about sustainable development, reflected not only by conferences and challenges I organised, but also by my work around photocatalytic water purification and its potential impact for developing countries. After my work on unravelling water issues in Tanzania, I thought it was time to break the chains of academia and further our mission through our social enterprise, Majico.
  • Samer Kurdi: Through my journey living in five countries I have gained both scientific and cultural knowledge. These competencies drove me to co-found Majico, a social enterprise that strives to better the living conditions of those in poverty whilst maintaining cultural integrity. While working for Majico, I am also completing my P.h.D. in Materials Science. I have realised that education without purpose is valueless, so I have made it my personal mission to use my knowledge to give back by educating others.