AVEC Water Filter Training – Democratic Republic of Congo

AVEC – Northeast Congo

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION working with Friendly Water for the World.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, scroll down below.

LocationNzulo KAMURONZA, Northeast Congo

Problem Addressed:
There is currently a major cholera epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 20 of 26 provinces affected. There is no clear count of the number of cases, as only those who show up at health centers are counted, but it is likely that there are 100,000 cases, and perhaps close to 2,000 deaths.

Nowhere is the epidemic worse than in the hilly areas to the northeast of the city of Goma. Because of mining operations (many of them illicit), water from the few streams there are is virtually undrinkable. People make do gathering water from small ponds and even puddles, or from ground-level cisterns. Waterborne illnesses seriously weaken the population, constantly ravaged by war and civil strife.

Project Description:
Initiated in 2009 when the great humanitarian Zawadi Nikuze began aiding survivors of war-related rape, the Peace Center for Healing and Reconstruction of Community (CPGRBC) has been a leader in building a framework to respond to inter-ethnic violence and rebuild social links, and to assist communities in seeking solutions to their own problems in the Congo. All of this takes place in the context of continuing war and civil strife, and as a backdrop, a new, massive outbreak of cholera.

Over the past eight years, CPGRBC has created and sustained 120 peace committees and 23 village savings and loan associations (AVECs) (banks are not trustworthy), built a management office in Goma, and trained four new groups in BioSand Filters/community sanitation and hygiene. The original group of rape survivors that Friendly Water for the World trained in Goma has played a major role in fighting the cholera epidemic there. CPGRBC has also recently acquired new space to build a headquarters and training center.

The plan is for CPGRBC to train and equip four new groups, each representing one of the AVECs. These groups already meet weekly, so they are organized to take up the challenge, and to market BioSand Filters to all of their members. They will also include community sanitation and hygiene as part of the peace/conflict resolution curricula. CPGRBC is experienced in monitoring and evaluation and is an excellent, trustworthy partner.

Project Impact:
The project is likely to have substantial impact on the populations CPGRBC serves. Already existing CPGRBC BioSand Filter projects in the region have made massive differences in people’s lives, both in the provision of clean water and new employment opportunities. Other projects in chicken and goat production have been generated, and many people now have enough income to be able to afford to send their children to school. People with HIV are now able to fight off opportunistic infections.

What makes this project special is that those trained come from the CPGRBC savings and loan associations. Banks in the area are unstable and untrustworthy. By banding together, members of the associations have new access to credit, all within the context of their local community. Once the new teams are created, there will be ready market for BioSand Filters among their own members, and those in need will be able to access funds to purchase them. This may become a new model program, and could later expand to all 23 savings and loan associations.

Immediate Beneficiaries:

–          60 Individuals trained
–          300 members of their families

Community Beneficiaries (in first two years):

–          Four groups build & distribute 600 BioSand Filters each in first 2 years = 2,400 Filters
–          Each Filter serves on average 10 people – 24,000 people served
–          60 Filters go schools and orphanages – 4,200 people served

Future Beneficiaries:

–          Program spreads to as many as 19 other AVEC groups

–          Waterborne illnesses curtailed
–          Health improved
–          Child morbidity and mortality reduced
–          Medical/pharmaceutical expenses curtailed
–          School attendance increases
–          Community productivity enhanced

Person Directing:
Aristote Bwaire has long experience working with CPGRBC since its inception, and in carrying out BioSand Filter training programs with CPGRBC throughout the region. He will work with Friendly Water for the World’s Medical Officer, Dr. Kambale Musubao and Congo-DRC Country Representative Eliphaz Bashilwango.

Each group will have a monitor trained to go into homes and check on Filter installation and use. The groups will report 90 days after the workshops are set up, and business plans adjusted as appropriate. CPGRBC will be responsible for communicating results. Funds are included in the project for follow-up.

Trained with filters, Congo


Transport facilitators 2X5 days @ $15 ea = $150
Certificate 40 @ $2.5 ea = $100
Molds 8 @ $650 ea = $5200
Sand, gravel, cement 4 groups @ $250 ea = $1000
Tool kit 4 groups @ $450 ea = $1,800
Facilitation (2 people) @ $150 ea = $300
Printing modules 40 modules @ $7ea = $280

Training Materials = $1OO
Coffee break 40 persons @ $3 x 5 days = $600
Room rental 5 days @ $50/day = $250
Transport of participants 40×5 days @ $10 ea = $1,000
Local Participation$2,950

This project has been funded by an anonymous donor. Please donate to Water Charity to allow us to expand our efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Conclusion of AVEC Water Filter Training – Congo

This project has successfully been completed.  The training was a thorough success.  We are proud to say that there are now water filters being produced at a good rate, and the technology is spreading!  🙂

Nana Reports:

More than 40 people, including 23 community leaders and 17 women, took part in the “AVEC Training” in BioSand Filter fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance put on the Center for Peace and Reconciliation (CPGRBC) in northeastern Congo-DRC. The training was sponsored by Friendly Water for the World, with critical financial support from Water Charity.

The trainees were especially motivated to work as another major cholera epidemic that has impacted the region, as it has some 20 of the Congo’s 26 provinces. All the participants represented four local savings and loan associations (AVECs), with the idea that Filter sales can be promoted through the associations.  So far, more than 200 BioSand Filters have been sold and installed, providing clean water for some 2,400-3,000 people. Friendly Water supplemented the funds with additional funding for starter materials so that all participants could purchase Filters for themselves at a cost – which is a major step in marketing.

In this hilly region, Filter delivery is always a challenge. People carry them, put them on the back of bicycles, or using the traditional wooden-slat vehicles called tsukudu, which is a major form of transportation of goods in the Congo-DRC. In a few places, a van was required. CPGRBC profusely thanks Water Charity for funding the project and looks forward in the future to expanding it to 19 additional AVECs in northeastern Congo.