Conclusion of Kampala Lifewater Filter Distribution Project – Uganda
This project has been completed under the direction of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Jeremy Mak.
To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.
Through this project, 50 Sawyer Point One water filters were distributed to two children’s homes and 40 households in the greater Kampala area, helping 389 women, children, and men acquire durable, long-term access to clean water. Sawyer Point One Filters have 0.1 micron absolute hollow fiber membranes, which effectively removes bacteria (e.g. Cholera, Botulism (Clostridium botulinum), Typhoid (Salmonella typhi), Amoebic Dysentery, E. Coli, Coliform Bacteria, Streptococcus, Salmonella, Protozoan/Cyst, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Cyclospora.
With these filters, recipients could safely avoid waterborne diseases while no longer having to boil water, which will save money on expensive charcoal, and also reduce the time beneficiaries expose themselves to dangerous indoor smoke and fumes during boiling. These triple aims are especially attractive to participants, many of them who earn only a few hundred dollars or less a year. The filters themselves do not require pumping or chemicals. With its incredibly fast flow rate, ease of use, and ability to be backwashed to extend its life, each filter can last a decade without needing to be replaced.
A total of 16 training and distribution events took place from January 8th to March 8th, 2016 in the Kampala area. During the interactive and highly participatory trainings, recipient participants were sensitized to the health and economic benefits of using the Sawyer filter, and received practical instructions on how to install, use, maintain, and clean the filters. Several of the training sessions included a short presentation of this video from a previous Water Charity filter distribution, which clearly demonstrates the ability of the filter to clean dirty water. Participants were also given contact details for the local distributor of Sawyer filters, in case of any service questions or interest in purchasing additional filters at full cost.
Chances for Children, a home for orphans and street children, is located in Wakiso, a neighborhood outside of Kampala. Run by Martin Male, a former street child himself, C4C provides clothing, food, housing, and healthcare for 61 children, as well as outreach services to surrounding communities.
You can see a tour of the orphanage here. The home uses either rainwater or piped water, but must boil their water first (although I did see children drinking directly from the tap when I was there). The orphanage spends about $50 on charcoal every month, and about half of this is estimated to go towards boiling water. We provided C4C with 5 filters and several Nalgene water bottles, as well as SOG clothing. We showed caretakers how to install and use the filters, demonstrating how well the filter could clean dirty water. It is expected that by utilizing the filters, the orphanage will free up more funds for other necessities to provide for the children.
Teresa Homein Kabowa received 2 filters for its counseling center and 3 filters for its home for 20 young children. Johnson Kagoye, a local Ugandan, convinced of the need for clean water, purchased the filter buckets for Teresa Home (as well as for two disadvantaged households) after receiving a filter himself. As part of this project, Teresa Home also received a water dispenser unit so that filtered water could be more easily collected, protected, and distributed. A testimonial on the impact of the filters from Jeniffer, the Teresa Home caretaker, can be seen here.
In addition, as mentioned, a total of forty individual households also received filters (including eight given to the caretakers at C4C and Teresa Home to take to their homes). A representative from each family was taken through step-by-step on how to install, use, maintain, and clean their filters. They were also each tested in hole drilling (to install the filter on the bucket), assembling the filter, and backwashing the filter. All recipients received a complete filter kit which includes instructions on assembly and backwashing, a backwashing syringe, the actual filter and hose, and a drill bit to cut a hole into a new bucket if needed.
Although many of the participants are based in Kampala, several chose to send their filters upcountry to parents and family members facing rural clean water access issues. Filters were sent as far as Soroti, LiraGulu,Kasese, Ft. Portal, and Napak. After realizing the impact of the filters, the demand was tremendous. Several participants requested more filters than we had in stock and were willing to pay above the contribution that we asked.
A high sustainability priority for this project was to include strong community buy-in to:
1) ensure that beneficiaries appreciate the long-term benefits of these filters and their commercial value (154,000 Ugandan Shillings each, or $50)
As such, children’s homes were required to purchase their own buckets, onto which the filters are installed. Individual households were initially requested to pay only 15,000 shillings to cover the actual cost of a bucket, but as interest grew, this was increased to 30,000 shillings to also cover a 10% contribution towards the cost of the filter. Four participants requested additional filters, and they paid 70,000 shillings for their second filter (55,000 shillings if no bucket was received). The money received paid for buckets, an additional Sawyer filter for demonstration purposes, and also a month’s communication costs to coordinate clean water activities in Uganda (and the Gambia).
It is important to note that two additional children’s homes and daycare centers in Kampala were approached to participate in this project, but due to poor response, were unfortunately not included).
Jeremy thanks Water Charity’s Filters for Life Program for its support, and also appreciates Nalgene and SOG’s product donations.
This project impacted 389 women, children, and men with a long-lasting solution to clean water, eliminating the need to boil water and saving resources for other competing needs and productive investments, like contributing to savings, buying food for one’s family, or paying for school fees and medical expenses.
This is part of Water Charity’s ongoing Filters For Life Program – Worldwide.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Jeremy Mak, a member of the National Peace Corps Association and the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Los Angeles.
Jeremy has done a large number of projects with Water Charity. Starting as a PCV in The Gambia, then as an RPCV, and including quite a few ambitious programs to repair or provide new handpumps in communities where their old pumps had ceased functioning, as well as distributing household filters to villages relying on open wells. Water Charity has funded these Gambia Lifewater Pump projects readily (benefitting more than 15,000 Gambians), and will continue to work with Jeremy through a new round of pump and filter projects.
This filter project is Jeremy’s first in Uganda. To see a complete list of projects that Jeremy has worked on with Water Charity, CLICK HERE.
We would like to thank Jeremy once again for executing so many outstanding projects.