Travellers often want to help the communities they visit, but don’t know in advance what supplies are most needed. Pack for a Purpose is a platform that helps them understand in advance what sort of donation will make the biggest difference in the specific place they’re visiting, and encourages them to dedicate some space in their suitcase for those items.

Once the traveller arrives at their destination, they deliver the supplies to a dedicated drop-off point at a local business. These drop-off points are often accommodation or tour companies based in lodges or game reserves in the countryside. They can be difficult to find, and many are located off the main road, with no official street addresses. Even when they have an address, geocoding is often inaccurate, so when people enter the address into car satnavs or navigation apps, they get directed to the wrong place. To complicate matters even further, phone signal is often very unreliable in these areas, so there’s no way to call for directions.

To make finding the drop-off points easier for travellers in South Africa, Pack for a Purpose is using what3words. Each South African drop-off point listed on its website is displayed along with its 3 word address. what3words is a global addressing system that has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique address made of 3 dictionary words. The 3 word address ///stronger.bike.cherishes for example, identifies the precise drop-off location for the Madikwe Safari Lodge in South Africa. Travellers are requested to bring school and library supplies such as books and flashcards to the drop-off point, from which they will be delivered to the Motshabaesi Primary School.

3 word addresses are simple, accurate and provide universal coverage. They can be used in 14 languages, so travellers can find the drop-off location in their native language, rather than struggling with local place names and pronunciation. Using the free what3words app, travellers can navigate directly to the drop-off location, even offline, without a data connection.