Contacts: Don Roxby & Eric Goethe
One of the biggest problems facing the residents of the Nyakach Plateau is the lack of clean drinking water. Water cisterns are a good solution, but their costs, and complex installation make them impractical for large-scale deployment. There is an overwhelming need for a reasonably priced, effective and accessible solution.
Our proposed solution:
We want to build a factory on the plateau that will produce between 35 and 50 ceramic water filters each day. The filters will be made from local clay mixed with ground rice husks or sawdust. After forming and drying, the pots are fired in a kiln, which burns away the vegetable material, creating a ceramic pot with thousands of tiny pores. The pots are then painted with an antibacterial colloidal silver solution and mated with a plastic pail and spigot. Unfiltered water is poured into the ceramic pot and the water is cleaned and sterilized as it passes through the clay into the plastic bucket below. The filters have been tested and proven to be 99.88% effective at removing pathogens, and they have a lifespan of at least 3 years. The factory will employ 4 to 5 full time employees. The pots generally sell for between $15.00 and $25.00 U.S. We hope to be able to sell in volume to NGO’s while keeping the prices to local residents as low as possible. We are shooting for a go live date of May 2013!
We are working with a non-profit, Potters for Peace that has successfully constructed and launched filter factories in Nicaragua and Tanzania. They will be providing guidance as we work through each step of the project and will also provide an onsite trainer for 30 days when we are ready to go live. The trainer will supervise the construction of the kiln and train the employees on the actual production process.
For a further explanation of how these filters work, watch this youtube video:
Benefits for the community and beyond:
The benefits to the local community are numerous. Besides providing much needed full time employment on the plateau, there should be significant trickledown income to clay and rice husk suppliers, carpenters, drivers etc.
We are also considering providing space for local potters to produce products beyond filters. If successful the factory could generate significant income that could be used to finance the Bethlehem Kuoko School, provide support for the Bethlehem Home orphans and elders, or be used to subsidize filters for the poorest members of the community. The biggest impact will be the availability of highly effective water filters to the residents of the plateau for the first time.
What we need:
To make the factory happen we will need to purchase a plot of land large enough to house the operation. We will then need to construct a factory building that is at least 2500 square feet. We will need to purchase two molds and two presses for forming the pots. We will also need to raise money to pay for the expenses Potters for Peace trainer to travel on-site.
Budgeting is still in process, but we will likely need to raise between $25,000 and $30,000 U.S. to get the plant operational. Once running at full capacity, 50 pots per day, we can expect the factory to gross ~ $900.00 U.S. per day.
It is an ambitious project but one that is very realistic given the guidance we will receive from Potters for Peace. Pastor Habil has already selected a plot of land in the community that could be purchased for this project.
Water tanks in 2011
Water quality testing in 2012
A tank and rainwater gutter system on a home in 2011