Beni Biosand Training – Democratic Republic of Congo

Beni Biosand Training – Democratic Republic of Congo

Beni Biosand Training – Democratic Republic of Congo

This project in the Democratic Republic of Congo is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association, working with Friendly Water for the World.

The training of the nurses in Beni has been COMPLETED. Read about the #conclusion below!    

North Kivu town of Beni, R D Congo Province

Community Description
Communities of the territory of Beni, in the province of North Kivu, have been victims of repetitive violent attacks to the civilian populations from October 2014 to today. In addition, cases of sexual violence, kidnapping; murder and other cases of abuse have been identified in this part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

These attacks have had a severe humanitarian impact, characterized by movements of populations in the different areas of the territory of Beni, which include the ZS of Mutanga, the ZS of Eringeti, the ZS of Oicha, the Kalunguta ZS, and the city of Beni. These movements are more concentrated on the South for their safety, i.e. Beni and Kalunguta.

An official state of alert is in effect for this area around the water situation.  Lack of access to clean drinking water keeps getting worse, increasing the state of alert.  Cases of waterborne diseases, which have already been identified in some corners of urban health centers of Beni, motivate the design and execution of this project to decrease the levels of public stress and contribute to eradicating the waterborne disease.  Waterborne illnesses have long been identified as a prime form of vulnerability for these already vulnerable communities.

The health zone of Beni has an estimated population of at least 500,000 inhabitants, but without a proper water filtration system, they can estimate an increase in waterborne diseases in the area. Waterborne diseases are the 2nd leading cause of death in the region, after malaria (which has stagnant water pools as its vector of spreading).

Problem Addressed
The goal of this project is to train 20 people in the construction of bio-sand water filters: ‘Strengthening capacities of 10 members of the association of nurses and 10 community leaders in the fight against water-related diseases by training in construction and use of the bio-sand filters in the city of Beni.’

Through this project, the NGO CONTAD CONMIGO/DRC, in concert with Water Charity & Friendly Water For The World, aims to contribute to a 30% reduction in the rate of cases of waterborne diseases identified in the area of health around Beni through its targeted medical facilities.

Project Description
The project is in collaboration with the Urban Health District of Beni. The approach is to train 10 community nurses association members and 10 leaders who will, in turn, go on to train community members to spread the knowledge to different social levels of the areas affected by the health alert.  The success of this project will most certainly create a ripple effect, as the people trained to train others and the knowledge of this life-saving technique spreads, benefiting other areas of health in the Province of North Kivu.

The training will focus on two phases: The first will focus on the theoretical aspects, and the second on the practice. All 20 participants will be provided with teaching materials for the manufacturing and installation of bio-sand filters. We hope to will ensure the mastery and capacity of 10 people trained to increase better outcomes in their community health centers and 10 other members of the association for the manufacturing and installation of filters. Materials will be at their disposal and materials will be transported to create the activities of four days. The theoretical part will take 1 day and the practice 3 days. The last will be devoted to the assessment of the work of the trainees.

Community Organization
NGO Contad Conmigo/DRC

Project Impact
This project will train 20 community members directly: 10 Member Association of nurses and 10 community leaders. The plan is to continue spreading this knowledge through the different levels of the community.  Increased use of filters will positively impact the health of the entire community.

Indirect beneficiaries:

  •        The communities in the area of urban Beni identified within the areas of health centers involved in this project.
  •        The families who will find at their disposal quality drinking water and knowledge acquired in manufacturing, use, maintenance of the bio-sand filters.
  •        Internal displaced communities / IDPS living in foster in the identified areas of health.
  •        The community Relay Agents / ARC of medical facilities will benefit from the training by 20 trained staff-led activities

Friendly Water for the World Volunteer Directing Project
David Albert

Monitoring and Maintenance
To assess the reliability of the success of the project, trained staff will be evaluated on their level of adaptation and learning during the training.

After training, these staff will be tracked monthly where they make bio-sand filters in their medical associations and where they will benefit from technical assistance of CONTAD CONMIGO officers, who will then provide a follow-up report and guidance.

In the end, a community monitoring system will be also be executed by members of the community.  Those trained and experienced will ensure this monitoring by permanent guidance and assistance offered to the community. They will share their reports with Contad Conmigo, Water Charity and Friendly Water for the World. This system will allow a permanent reconciliation between the recipients in the field and will ensure a permanent exchange of experiences between communities.  Interactive communication with international staff will be available for the follow-up to the members of the association formed within the communities.

These monitoring activities will be carried out on a monthly basis. They will focus on the control of manufacturing techniques, use, and maintenance of the filters. The influence on consumer culture of clean water for consumption is the major objective, along with the fight against water-related diseases.  The consumption of clean water through the production and use of bio-sand filters will be assessed for its beneficial effects on the overall health of the community, with the children being most impacted generally.

To sustain the activities, committees have been created in the region focusing on the health areas targeted.  These Biosables (SFBC) committees are meeting in Beni town and other circles of the region. These committees will be involved in community outreach on topics covering the use of filters biosables, their manufacturing and maintenance issues.

1) Twenty direct beneficiaries whose 10 members of the association of nurses and 10 community leaders are trained in manufacturing, use, and maintenance of the filters.

2) Ten facilities in the area of urban health of Beni have their capacities strengthened in manufacturing, use, and maintenance of the filters

3) One “area of health” is strengthened, the capacity of techniques to prevent and fight against water-related diseases by the manufacturing system, use, and maintenance of the filters.

4) The city of Beni, a center of travel to the East of DR Congo, and a destination for displaced persons and refugees will have a strengthened capacity to combat waterborne diseases.

This project has been funded by an anonymous donor.

Training of the nurses in Beni, DRC has been concluded!

Friendly Water’s Medical Officer Dr. Kambale Musubao (Goma, Congo-DRC) lead a six-day training program along with Contad Conmingo and the Congo Orphan’s Trust. The training brought together 10 nurses and 10 community leaders to form a cooperative to fabricate, sell, distribute, and install BioSand Water Filters.

Beni has been going through some very tough times, with high levels of military and guerrilla activity, and with tens of thousands of refugees streaming into the town. The health clinics, hospitals, and orphanages have been full to overflowing. Yet, at the same time, the overwhelming majority of trained nurses are unemployed, as there is no money to pay them.

So the idea is to make use of their skill and commitment to bring clean water to the community, to clinics, and to refugee settlements. As part of the larger medical community, the nurses are in a perfect position to raise consciousness about the singular importance of clean water. At the same time, community leaders will go out and promote the use of BioSand Filters to the larger community. We view this as a pilot project, one that can likely be reproduced in many areas.

Since the training in July, the group already made and installed dozens of filters. The group also made a series of visits to the homes where the BSFs were installed, and are returning for monitoring and making sure the filters are fully operational. Monitoring and evaluation are scheduled to be done monthly by the group.

​All in all, a tremendous success, and one with far-reaching consequences.  Filters produced because of this training are being used at medical clinics, refugee stations, orphanages, and other such community buildings.  As the techniques are re-taught, the knowledge will spread far and wide in the region.  We can already see the immense ripple effect the training is having.



BioSand Filter Training Program – Liberia

BioSand Filter Training Program – Liberia

BioSand Filter Training Program – Liberia

New Groups Being Trained in Liberia to Make Filters!

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

Location: Paynesville, Liberia

Problem Addressed

Flag of Liberia The first and second Liberian Civil Wars took place from 1989 to 2003 and destroyed much of this very small country. A combination of tribal hostilities, personal power-grabbing, and interference from neighboring countries left some 250,000 dead, and a million displaced, and most of the water and power infrastructure destroyed. The country has been faced with trying to rebuild trust and infrastructure at the same time. It hasn’t been easy.

WHO reports that only one out of every four Liberians gets water from an “improved water source” – this doesn’t mean that the water is safe, only that it comes out of a pipe. In the countryside, the percentage would be far lower than that. It is estimated that as many as one out of every five Liberians die of a condition related to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation. Many rural and urban areas are almost entirely without toilets. Cholera and other waterborne illnesses are common. 80% of the population lives in poverty; unemployment is extremely high, and the cause of continued unrest.

Between 2014-2016, there were almost 11,000 cases of Ebola reported, and close to 5,000 deaths. However, it should be noted that many cases went unreported. At the start of the outbreak, there were only 50 doctors in a population of 4.3 million. Liberia was declared “Ebola-free” in early 2016.  However, even at the height of the Ebola epidemic, far, far more people were dying from waterborne illnesses. And while much foreign assistance was received, little of it has gone to improving water and sanitation conditions.

Today, there are over 4.7 million people in Liberia, and WASH continues to be the biggest issue.  There is hope, though… as Water Charity is part of a multi-NGO effort to bring clean water access to every person in Liberia by December 2020.  See our Rivercess Well Repair Program – Liberia for details.

Project Description

Four groups will be trained in the fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance of BioSand Water Filters, and in the teaching of sanitation and hygiene.

The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is a training program designed to enable participants to respond to potentially violent situations in new and creative ways. First developed by Quakers and others working in U.S. prisons in the 1970s, it has since proliferated around the world. The first training was organized in Liberia in 2010, and it has spread. Many of the participants are students, and are also seeking employment opportunities, and are excited about BioSand Filter projects.

Camp for Peace Liberia (CFP-Liberia) was established in 2005 by a group of visionary youths with the goal to transform the lives of young people through community-based education and awareness in response to the manifest need for sustainable peace and development. CFP-Liberia was incorporated in 2010 as a non-profit organization with an overarching goal to contribute to the development, empowerment, and self-sustainability of young people in Liberia. It focuses on the promotion of the culture of nonviolence, reconciliation, promotion of education, and creating awareness of accountable governance and social transformation. It creates opportunities for young people to be equipped to deal with their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and to participate socially and economically in Liberia’s post-war development. CFP also provides micro-credit to enable youth to establish their own enterprises. To focus on its vision, mission, and goal, CFP is supervised by a management team comprising of 75% young people including a vast number of volunteers who offer activities through a network of trainers.

AVP and CFP-Liberia will be trained as a single team.

RICCE – The Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment (RICCE) empowers rural communities to participate in decision-making in Liberia, with emphasis on issues that impact on their lives and threaten community peace and security. To do this, RICCE facilitates community-based peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes and works for the promotion of biodiversity and transparency in natural resource management. RICCE was established by development specialists, engineers, health professionals, grassroots activists and professors at the University of Liberia who were alarmed by the conditions of rural residents in 2005. At the time it was observed that the rural people were neglected when it came to political decision-making, economic opportunities, better schools, hospitals and basic protection of fundamental human rights. These conditions still exist today, contributing to conflict in Liberia. RICEE is also involved in advocating for women’s rights, and promoting female empowerment through programs that allow them to participate in leadership and decision-making processes.

Peaceful Lutheran Church in Paynesville, on the outskirts of Monrovia, will be hosting the training and will be sending a team to be trained, with a workshop to be set up there.

Woman with pail of water, LiberiaRescue Women Liberia is a non-governmental organization established in 2015 by a group of gender activists. The organization is involved in promoting basic human rights of women including access to justice, sexual and reproductive health, combating gender-based violence, and promotion of clean water and sanitation. Currently, they do not have funding but have been involved with voluntary community service in health education in communities and schools, awareness of gender-based violence in and around Montserrado County.

Project Impact

The project is likely to have a considerable impact. Fifty people will be trained, and four ongoing workshops set up and equipped. Health and employment will immediately improve among the 50 families. Taken together, the four groups have substantial contacts with NGOs throughout Liberia, with demand for Filters likely to be high among their constituents. The four groups will also have considerable contact with small community-based organizations throughout the country.

There will be a significant reduction in waterborne illnesses, increased employment, and new small business opportunities generated. The four groups, taken together, should be able to create significant synergies in the development sector.

Immediate Beneficiaries:

–          50 Individuals trained
–          200 members of their families

Community Beneficiaries (in first two years):

–          Four groups build and distribute 500 BioSand Filters each in the first two years = 2,000 Filters
–          Each Filter serves on average 10 people – 20,000 people served
–          50 Filters go to schools and orphanages – 3,500 children served

Future Beneficiaries:

–          Programs expand and require more than two molds each
–          Large orders are likely to be received from other NGOs working in Liberia


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

Person Directing
The training will be directed by Friendly Water for the World Technical Advisor Wayne Medrud, with assistance from Alisa and Ken Malloch, both of whom have significant experience with missions in sub-Saharan Africa. Philip Quoqui, Director of AVP in Liberia, will serve as the interim country coordinator.


Each group will have a trained monitor to visit homes post-installation and keep records. The first report from each group will be due 90 days after they start operations. Following the reports, each group will meet to adjust their business plans as appropriate. The coordinator will keep track of the activities of the four groups.


The joint training and operation of these four groups together create an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the long-suffering people of Liberia.

Liberia Training Budget Breakdown

Description Amount raised by Water Charity Quantity Cost per Item  Funders Budget Justification:
Liberia Project –  4 groups
Steel Molds $4,800.00 8 $600.00 Water Charity Each mold makes one filter/day.* Equip all four groups
Toolkits $1,900.00 4 $450.00 Water Charity Needed for Filter Fabrication*
Starter Materials $1,000.00 4 $250.00 Water Charity Sand,gravel,cement,tubing for first 20-25 Filters
Printing and Copying Materials $800.00 4 $200.00 Water Charity
Travel for Trainers – Wayne $1,800.00 1 $1,800.00 Water Charity
Honorarium – Wayne $400.00 1 $400.00 Water Charity **
Lunch/Tea for Trainees 50 $25.00 Local Community Lunch and Tea for five days**
Training Space 1 $200.00 Paynesville Church **
Trainers – Accommodation/Food $1,800.00 3 $600.00 Water Charity
Internal Transportation $400.00 1 $400.00 Water Charity
(Two trainers – Alisa and Ken Malloch – are paying their own transportation) *Molds and Toolkits are provided on long-term loan

**Local community contributions are required.

This project has been funded by an anonymous donor. Please donate to Water Charity to allow us to expand our efforts in Liberia.

Youth “Water Cadre” Training Program – Uganda

Youth “Water Cadre” Training Program – Uganda

Youth “Water Cadre” Training Program – Uganda

Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association, together with Friendly Water, present YOUTH FOR WATER: Creating a Water Corps

Mityana, Uganda

Problem Addressed:
Mityana District in west-central Uganda has some 80,000 households and more than 350,000 people (54% aged between 0-17 years and 21.4% aged between 18-30). Two-thirds of them live in rural areas.  Unemployment is the norm, and among youth who are not in school, the unemployed are the clear majority.

Nearly 70% of these people, and far higher for rural residents, lack access to even ostensibly clean water.  Three-quarters of the population live more than five kilometers from any public health facility.

Waterborne illnesses are the norm. More than 8,300 people are receiving HIV-related services; likely more than double that are affected. Deaths from opportunistic infections related to contaminated water are common, even among those receiving anti-retroviral drugs.  Health systems are entirely overwhelmed.

Project Description:
Mityana Rotary President Richard Kyambadde is building a Center for Clean Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in western Uganda. While the center isn’t finished yet, the people of Mityana District can’t wait for clean water!  To this end, this project will train 150 youths to make and distribute BioSand Water Filters.

With the assistance of the district water committee on which he serves and his Rotary, Richard plans to train 10 groups (15 per group) of unemployed youth in fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance of BioSand Water Filters, as well as in teaching community sanitation and hygiene. There will be one group for each of the subdistricts in the region, with workshop space provided by local authorities.

Subdistricts of Mityana, Uganda:
Busimbi, Butayunja, Ssekanyonyi, Bulera, Kikandwa, Malangala, Manyi, Kalangalo, Namungo, Manyi and Mityana TC

Each group will be equipped with a pair of Molds, tool kits and all the necessary start-up material in kind and delivered to the construction site.  Each group is expected to be self-sufficient in the first three months, as demand for clean water is very high in an area where it is simply otherwise unavailable. The training will take place over a seven-month period.

Once this new “water cadre” is created, there will be additional training in the fabrication of rainwater catchment/Ferro-cement tank systems, MicroFlush toilets, spring- and well-head protection, interlocking bricks, and soapmaking. All of these activities will take place at the new Friendly Water Center. The idea is to create an ongoing “Water Corps,” with youth at least partially employed in ensuring clean water, community sanitation, and hygiene-related services to the entire District.

Project Impact:
The project aims at tackling the twin problems of lack of clean water and mass unemployment. A business plan for selling BioSand Filters has already been developed, and each of the ten subdistricts is providing workshop space for the project. The objective is not only to ensure clean water and employment for some, but by working so intensively with youth, to change consciousness around water-related issues in the entire District.
Immediately:  150 youth will be trained in this skill, with 4 filters made in each group during the training (40 filters).  The filters will be used at the center and community places, and will help as many as 100 people each.
After 3 Months:  This initial project will yield a total of 500 BioSand Water filters which will be installed in 500 homes, reaching approximately 2,100 people in a period of not more than 3 moths.
Long term:    The first batch of the filters will be sold at 100,000 in Ugandan currency, with  customers paying  a down payment of 50,000 each, and the last installment in two months.   The proceeds from the BSF will be managed by the group`s treasurer. Collections will be used to purchase materials for the next production and payment of salaries.  The groups will be assisted to develop a self-reliant model through a period of 6 months.  This will form phase one of this project   Phase two will involve construction of affordable latrines using interlocking stabilized soil blocks.  Future phases will involve rainwater catchment, water storage tank construction, and training of other youths.
​While it is impossible to say how many people will be affected by this work, we estimate that something like 20,000 people will be touched in the first year.  (either by clean water, income or both)  Many households will be spared the indignities of both unclean water AND extreme poverty.  Once the Water Cadres and the Water Corps at large are established, it is quite possible that this first step might result in the entire district benefitting!

Person Directing:
A young man of 27, Richard Kyambadde has been Friendly Water for the World’s Uganda Country Representative since he was 20. He is President of his local Rotary Club, member of his District’s water committee, and is completing a degree in environmental management, all while working on the Friendly Water Center in Mityana. He has trained groups in India, Rwanda, and the Congo-DRC, and has traveled as far as South Korea while doing this work. He wants it to be known he is HIV-positive, and is international chair of Friendly Water’s Building New Lives Campaign, which works to transform people with HIV into the water protectors of their communities, with projects currently in five countries.

Each group will have a trained monitor, who will go into homes to ensure BioSand Filters are installed properly and are being used correctly. Reports from each group will be done in 90 days, at which time business plans will be adjusted as necessary. There will be “before” and “after” health surveys.

BUDGET for Youth “Water Cadre” Training Program – Uganda

Item Definition Qty Price/Unit  (USD) AMOUNT (USD) Provided by Rotary Mityana Provided by the trainees Provided by Water Charity
BSF construction
Steel Molds 20  500 10,000 0


Tool kits 10 470 4700 0


Startup material (send, cement, gravel, tubing, Crisco, metal sheet, sieves) 10 250 2500 2500 0


Transportation of materials to the training site if applicable




Educational Costs
BSF training Manual 150 10 1500 0


Training materials (sand, cement and gravels) 02 500 500


Certificates 150 2 300 0


Note books and pens 150 0.5 75 75


Trainers costs
Trainers honorarium 2 200 2000 0


Trainees costs
Meals for Trainees 5x150x3


3 2250 2250


Transport of trainees 150


10 1500 1500


Evaluation and follow up
Follow up visit 6 Months 200 1200


Transport 250

This project has been implemented through the generosity of an anonymous Water Charity donor.  Your contribution using the Donate button below will allow us to continue to expand this amazing project.


Bukavu Handicapped Women Training – Democratic Republic Of Congo

Bukavu Handicapped Women Training – Democratic Republic Of Congo

Bukavu Handicapped Women Training – Democratic Republic Of Congo

Hope for Africa – Bukavu, Congo

Location: Bukavu, Congo

Problem Addressed:

Bukavu is the capital of South Kivu Province, in eastern Congo-DRC. It has a population of 885,000, with hundreds of thousands more in surrounding areas, and not counting several hundred thousand refugees, on the shores of Lake Kivu It has been beset by war and violence since 1996. It is sometimes referred to as the “wartime-rape capital of the world.” The area is extremely hilly, with neighborhoods within the city often isolated from each other.

There is virtually no clean water. The national water company Regideso’s plant in Bukavu was built in 1956, when the population was only a quarter of its current size, and rehabbed once, in 1990. The plant is rundown, barely operational, does not reach large portions of the population, and there are no funds and no plan to repair it anytime soon. Epidemics of typhoid and cholera regularly ravage the city; amoebic and bacterial dysentery are endemic. There is a large portion of the population that is HIV-positive (often the victims of wartime rape), many of them receiving anti-retroviral drugs, but no clean water to take them with.

In certain areas that do not have access to contaminated rivers and the lake, people dig extremely shallow wells on their plots called “bizolas” (picture to the right) where women lie prone, and scoop out water for their families. As there are no sanitary facilities, the water is contaminated with disease-causing waterborne micro-organisms.

Project Description:

Friendly Water for the World’s Congo-DRC Country Representative runs an organization called Hope for Africa – Great Lakes. Its main function is to bring together community-based organizations, relevant local government agencies, and, occasionally, larger NGOs to collaborate on solving water-related challenges.

For this project, 10 members of five organizations based in different parts of Bukavu will come together for training in fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance of BioSand Water Filters, as well as in teaching community sanitation and hygiene. Each group will be equipped with two steel molds, toolkits, and an enhanced amount of starter materials so that each person trained will be able to purchase a Filter for the cost of materials, plus their own labor. This will also assist in marketing, as participants will be able to offer personal testimony as to the Filter’s effectiveness. Prior to receiving a Filter, each recipient/customer will fill out an epidemiological questionnaire, which has been translated into Kiswahili, and will fill it again at the three/six-month follow-up. Hope for Africa is responsible for data collection.

Each group will serve a different subdistrict. Each group is expected to be self-sufficient in the first 3-6 months, as demand for clean water is very high in an area where it is simply otherwise unavailable.

A management committee will be established to which each of the community-based organizations will report. The committee will aid in mobilizing and educating people about waterborne illnesses and the need for clean water, and to help market Filters. In the future, they may assist with the training of new groups.

The management committee will also include representatives of the South Kivu Provincial Health and Energy Division, and the Provincial Action Committee for Water and Sanitation, who will help by providing epidemiological background information and monitoring. In addition, the international monitor of the WASH cluster in Bukavu for UNICEF will also monitor progress through interagency meetings.

One group – the Association of Handicapped Women – already has two steel molds and has built some Filters for their members. To be successful, they need assistance in the transportation of Filters and in marketing, which they will receive through this program.

Project Impact:

The project aims at a coordinated approach to the use of BioSand Water Filters in addressing the need for clean water and the reduction of waterborne illnesses in Bukavu. In addition, the potential for the development of new groups through this approach is much greater than if a single group was working in such a large community.

Initially, each of the trainees will be able to purchase a single filter at cost, providing clean water for approximately 500 people. It is reasonable to assume that each group will be able to produce and sell 50 Filters a month, or 250 filters combined. Thus 1,500 were installed over six months, providing clean water to some 15,000 people. In addition, Filters will be made available to schools, orphanages, and health care facilities. Over the course of two years, clean water will now be available to some 60,000 people.

It is hoped that this model will also lead to increased collaboration among community-based organizations, government entities, and NGOs, hence multiplying the effectiveness of their common work.

Persons Directing:

Eliphaz Bashilwango, 35, has been Friendly Water for the World’s Congo-DRC Country Representative for the past four years, and he has managed a number of Water Charity’s filter construction training. He has more than a decade of experience in the water and sanitation sectors, having worked for the Tear Fund, Mennonite Central Committee, and the World Bank on rainwater catchment, gravity-fed distribution systems, community sanitation, and BioSand Water Filters, especially with Batwa/Pygmy groups. He has trained groups in war-torn areas of the Congo-DRC and Burundi (even in areas where active military activity is taking place.) He is a very courageous man. He also operates an orphanage for war orphans near Uvira.

​The Association of Handicapped Women is organized by our friend Aristote. After being trained in Beni, Congo-DRC, and assisting in leading a BioSand Filter fabrication training in Minova (both projects can be found here on our website), our friend and colleague Aristote Masimango Bash has returned to his home in Bukavu to establish a Filter workshop with the Association of Handicapped Women, or, to be more exact, AEPIFHA – “The Association for the Integral Promotion of Women Living with Handicaps”

This is a group of 25 women (and one man!) composed mainly of those living with physical disabilities. There are others who, according to the group, “carry internal wounds of sexual violence or who are traumatized because of HIV/AIDS.” They were founded in 2001, and Aristote’s adopted mother is among them.

Aristote was a little reluctant at the beginning. He wrote:

“Enable the disabled, translate disability into ability, capacity, capability, turning, a winning opportunity indeed a reality. Before implementing the BioSand Filter Program with disabled women I could fear the weight of the material. How heavy is a mold! What strength it takes to make concrete! But these women have at all costs said disability is not inability and we are now making BioSand Filters! Many thanks for Water Charity & Friendly Water for the World! Together we will achieve great things.”

This will be a challenging project. On the one hand, the need for clean water in Bukavu is massive. Waterborne epidemics are virtually an everyday occurrence, and there is no other clean water to be had. On the other hand, Bukavu is built on a series of hills, and even collecting dirty water is a chore, especially for disabled women. The women will have to decide whether they wish to manufacture and sell Filters (with the challenging problem of accessing building materials and finding transportation) or selling clean water (which would require regular access to contaminated water to clean.)

Aristote, though, is hopeful. The spirit of solidarity that has carried the group this far is strong, and he believes there is no obstacle they can’t overcome.


Each group will have a trained monitor, who will go into homes to ensure BioSand Filters are installed properly and are being used correctly. Overall monitoring will be the responsibility of the management group, which will help groups adjust their business plans as needed. The epidemiological questionnaire will be used for those receiving Filters, and at the three/six-month followup.

Bukavu, Congo-DRC – Hope for Africa Project
Items Qty. Cost per Total
Steel Molds 8 $600 $4,800
Toolkits 5 $450 $2,250
Starter Material 5 $500 $2,500
Transportation of Materials 1 $250 $250
Manuals 50 $5 $250
Graduation Certificates 50 $3 $150
Pens, notebooks, etc. 50 $1 $50
Trainers honoraria 2 $300 $600
Trainers accommodation 2 $210 $420
Trainers meals 2 $90 $180
Trainers  transport 2 $75 $150
Followup/Evaluation visits 3 $150 $450
Transport 3 $50 $150
Administration $600
Provided by the groups:
Meals/tea for Trainees $1,875
Transport of Trainees $625

Although the funds for this project have been contributed by an anonymous donor, your donation using this Donate button will ensure that we have funds available for our next project in this country.

Making Filters - BukavuTwo women with filter
Women with finished filters - Bukavu, Congo

Caribbean Clean Water Hurricane Relief Program

Caribbean Clean Water Hurricane Relief Program

Caribbean Clean Water Hurricane Relief Program

Caribbean Clean Water Hurricane Relief Program

Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda

This project was made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION, working with SAMARITAN’S PURSE

This Hurricane Relief Program on all 4 islands has been completed.

We are hoping to expand the program and do more to help the people rebuilding with their water & sanitation issues, so please continue to donate using the button below.  New pictures and info will be appended to the bottom of the original program report, so check back.


As most of you know, a series of destructive storms hit the Caribbean this year with a ferocity and intensity that was truly catastrophic.  The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was a hyperactive, deadly, and extremely destructive season, featuring 17 named storms!  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria did the majority of the damage, though, setting records and leaving a wake of devastation in their wakes.

Hurricane Maria was regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica and Puerto Rico, and caused catastrophic damage and triggered a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.  In Maria’s wake, Dominica’s population suffered from an island-wide water shortage due to uprooted pipes, nearly every roof on the island was damaged, and 100% of the banana and tuber plantations were lost.  In Puerto Rico, the hurricane completely destroyed the island’s power grid, leaving all 3.4 million residents without electricity, and an outbreak of leptospirosis materialized in the weeks following the hurricane, as standing water remained and became contaminated with animal urine and feces.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which was also a Category 5, development on the islands of Barbuda and Sint Maarten (also St. Martin) was described as being “95% destroyed” by respective political leaders, with 1,400 people feared homeless in Barbuda. In many areas, every building was damaged or destroyed, including the shelters!  The winds at Irma’s peak were in excess of 185 mph, the strongest to hit the area on record.

Water Charity has done a lot of disaster responses over the years, and we believe very strongly that water filters save lives.  In the wake of a natural or man-made disaster, people are displaced and in the shelters and camps that spring up, waterborne illnesses can spread very quickly.  In many cases, deaths from cholera, typhoid, dysentery and the like can surpass that of the disaster itself by orders of magnitude.  Water Charity was helping in Haiti after their 2010 earthquake when a cholera outbreak took hold that went on to affect nearly 700,000 people (more than 6% of the population)!  It is only recently coming out that the number of deaths from that event is probably at least 3x as great as what was reported at the time.

The Solution

In order to help as quickly and efficiently as possible, Water Charity teamed up with our friends at Samaritan’s Purse to deal with the water issues from the outset, and get filters where they were needed.  We are happy to say that these filters were among the first to be distributed and placed in the afflicted areas.

There are 3 types of filters, 4 Islands covered, and 5 projects in our relief program, so far.  We are proud to say that more than 100,000 people are drinking clean water due to this program now, and we would like to expand it if we can raise more money.

Here, we will give an overview of all the various projects in the program.  Each of them will also have their own dedicated page on this site where you can go to see more detailed information, pictures and video from the work and so on.

SAWYER FILTER DISTRIBUTION (Puerto Rico, Dominica, St. Maarten)

​Those of you who know Water Charity will know about our longstanding and frequent use of the Sawyer “hollow

membrane” water filter technology. See our Filters For Life Program for some examples.  Many of our distributions fall into other programs, but you will see that we were one of the earliest adopters of this method and product, and have helped Sawyer build out an entire international relief effort to match their commercial efforts.  This has caused an explosion of use around the world, a huge drop in price, and a lot of people having access to safe water who wouldn’t otherwise.

Fast forward to 2017, prices for filters are now less than 1/4th of what they were when we started using them, and they were a deal back then. They have many advantages over the ceramic and carbon filters we used to use. They are light, small, last forever (guaranteed for a million gallons, and they go way beyond that), require almost no maintenance and are engineered so the carbon nanotubes do not let anything larger than .1 micron (or .02 for the extreme model) through. No living pathogen is smaller than .1 micron, so it is a brilliant solution.  See a testimonial from Kenya here.

Now, in many homes across Dominica, Puerto Rico, and St. Maarten, Sawyer filters are providing hurricane-affected families with clean water. These personal filtration systems filter more than 150 gallons of water per day. In certain remote areas of Puerto Rico—where residents were trapped by blocked roads and had neither running water nor power—some people resorted to drinking from local streams. Using a helicopter, our disaster response staff airlifted thousands of Sawyer water filters and buckets to these remote communities. Once residents received the filters, they had ongoing access to clean water.

  • 5,500 Sawyer Filters installed in Puerto Rico (also see Community Filter Installation below)
  • 1,000 Sawyer Filters installed in Dominica
  • 88 Sawyer Filters installed in St. Maarten (also see Community Filter Installation below)


Barbuda is a sparsely populated island in the nation of Antigua & Barbuda, that was hit rather hard by Irma. Much of the population of the island has simply left, but the people who stayed had very serious water needs.  The Parker Unit (desalination) was chosen to meet the needs there.  It is a workhorse, community-wide device that is designed to be in constant operation.

The Parker unit is installed at the Fisheries Complex. This location was chosen because it is secure, at the main arrival point for boats, and an ideal access point for the saltwater. The Parker unit produces about 500 gallons of clean water on an average day. The water is being used by everyone on the island, which currently is approximately 300 people.

*UPDATE* Last week (December 4-10), this unit filtered and produced 3,940 gallons of clean water which has been about average since Irma struck.


​In addition to the Sawyer Filters we have distributed, this program has also built a large Living Water Treatment System capable of providing clean water for thousands of people a day.  It has been installed and online since between Irma and Maria serving 800 households nearby as well as people from around the region.

The Living Water Treatment System was installed in Canovanas municipality, Campo Rico Barrio, which was devastated by both hurricanes Irma and Maria. Irma caused severe flooding in the flood-prone valley, followed by Maria’s winds that destroyed many homes in the exposed mountainous areas. The municipal government identified the population in Campo Rico as among the most vulnerable in the community. The exact location of the filtration system was determined according to proximity to a constant and sufficient water source, a secure location for the system to operate, and easy accessibility for the local population to come to receive water. The system is installed at the base of a hillside with an estimated 800 households. The location is immediately adjacent to the main road passing through the southern half of the municipality, so there was constant heavy vehicle traffic that had access to collect treated water. The Water Charity & Samaritan’s Purse partnership was the first aid organization to arrive in Canovanas—even ahead of the government response.​

  • Over 58% of all residents in Campo Rico lived below the poverty line in 2016.
  • 72% of the head of households have less than high school education.
  • Many immigrant families in the area are not eligible for FEMA funding.


In addition to the small Sawyer filter distribution we did for St. Maarten (see above), we also installed a large community filtration system that was able to generate water for 2,500 people a day.  Reverse osmosis is a technique that allows for the complete removal of all pathogens and was a good choice for the specific conditions on Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin.

Samaritan’s Purse installed four community-size reverse osmosis treatment systems in St. Maarten: • Two at Pelican Key Pier • One at Simpson Bay Coast Guard base • One at Oyster Bay.  Water Charity was responsible for the one at Oyster Bay. These locations were selected in coordination with the municipal water authority on St. Maarten to supplement their water trucking capacity. Each of these locations was at the fringes of the damaged water distribution system, among larger populations without clean water, able to be secured, and had access to non-turbid sources of seawater. We estimate that our water system served a population of approximately 1,200 people during the critical period after Hurricane Irma, and before municipal potable water distribution could be restored on the island.

Puerto Rico Living Water System​

This disaster response program has been a big deal, and we are committed to continuing helping the people who suffered from Hurricanes… even after the events have faded from the media coverage.  We would like to expand our help and are currently looking into ways to aid the hard-hit US Virgin Island St. Croix.  Updates will be posted here when available, and we will nest book pages for information on the 5 projects currently comprising this program.

Please consider supporting this work.  Every donation counts.  With more money, we can help more people.  Having lost their homes, and livelihoods, the least we can do for them is to make sure the water they drink is not causing loss of life as well.

Initial funding to implement this program has been provided by the Paul Bechtner Foundation.

Puerto Rico Helicopter Deliver of Sawyer Bucket Filters

Barbuda Parker Filter Installation​                                                                                St. Maarten Reverse Osmosis System   




Rukwa Cholera Response Filter Training – Tanzania

Rukwa Cholera Response Filter Training – Tanzania

Rukwa Cholera Response Filter Training – Tanzania

Ukwa Cholera Response Water Filter Training – Tanzania

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.  WORKING WITH FRIENDLY WATER FOR THE WORLD.

Location: Rukwa, Tanzania

Problem Addressed:

Rukwa District is in far western Tanzania, bordering Lake Tanganyika, Zambia, and Congo-DRC. It is home to the Fipa people, most of whom live by subsistence agriculture and sheep herding. There is also a refugee population from the Congo. It is a highly underdeveloped area, some 1,500 miles from the nation’s capital. With a million people, there are few roads (no airport), little industry, few doctors, and virtually no public health infrastructure. There are very few active non-governmental organizations.

Waterborne illnesses are the norm. Cholera and typhoid are a yearly occurrence, but this year, cholera has hit particularly hard. So far, there are more than 600 cases, and scores of deaths reported (but very many are never reported).

The District Commissioner of Rukwa called the District Commissioner of Mara to ask whether the Water Charity, Hope Revival Children’s Organization (HRCO) and Friendly Water could help. Stephen Marwa, director of HRCO, has been doing extraordinary work with some very, very poor people on the Serengeti plain, in the Mara region, and near the shores of Lake Victoria, and Water Charity & Friendly Water have both worked with him on other projects of this sort. Entire communities have been rejuvenated; funds saved have been going toward new community development projects – chicken- and goat-raising for the market (and in the Serengeti, for local hotels), leatherwork, small community gardens. Not only are people freed from waterborne illnesses; they are eating better. Children are returning to school. Clean water is the true basis of community development.

Once they’ve seen what we can do, local governments in Tanzania have gotten in on the action. They’ve provided free transportation for trainees, free training space, and have even donated land for ongoing operations. Clean water has truly become a community affair. And there has been nationwide publicity. Hence the call from the Rukwa District Commissioner.

We sent a very small amount of money to Stephen to go visit, 1,700 kilometers away. On a bus. It took two-and-a-half days to get there. Stephen found a community ready to work, and the local government ready to help.

Project Description:

This is a project to train as many people as possible in the region in the construction of BioSand Water Filters.  We have done a good many of these projects over the years, and it is an extremely efficient way to spread filters and clean water throughout the region.  Trainees not only make their own filters and learn the technique, but they can sell water, sell filters, and train other people in the technique.  The ripple effect from these projects has surpassed all expectations because when you give people a solution to their biggest, most pressing problem, they are highly motivated to put it into practice in a big way.

Stephen worked with us (and the local government) to craft a plan. There was no time to train a local welder, so steel molds were made and shipped, along with other equipment, from Mwanza.  As with many of our projects, this is already well underway.  We prefer to start projects immediately and then when there is time, we present it to our donors and try to recoup the funds we have already spent.

Originally, this project was intended to be 8 separate pieces of training.  However, since there wasn’t time to train eight separate groups (from the eight sub-regions hardest hit), we have begun to train them all at once. A team of three from HRCO went down to Rukwa (yes, the same bus!) to conduct the training, and then after, to go from community to community setting all the workshops in motion. The government is paying for all their expenses while down there plus transportation for Filters, as well as contributing funds for half the starter materials, making it possible for each participant to purchase a BioSand Filter at cost. Filters would be sold – not donated (except to orphanages, health clinics, and families impacted by HIV, if groups applied under our Card program). The team is planning to stay several months, providing follow-up and on-the-ground monitoring and evaluation.

Stephen is currently in Rukwa, meeting with every government official in all of the sub-districts, and presenting at community meetings. Water Charity, in coordination with Friendly Water, has laid out all the funds.

Project Impact:

The enthusiasm with which the team has been met is already extraordinary. We very much expect that the project will allow the communities to get a handle on the current cholera outbreak – we’ve managed that elsewhere, so there is no reason to believe it can’t be accomplished in Rukwa. But more than that, the people of Rukwa will have demonstrated that, with the necessary knowledge-sharing and training, they will be able to take control of their lives, complete in the knowledge that clean water, and an end to waterborne illnesses, are within their grasp.

We expect that the eight teams will also significantly contribute to village economies. Funds that have been going toward medical treatment and pharmaceuticals (which can be up to 70% of a family’s income) will now be towards better nutrition, home repair, the development of small businesses, and expanded agriculture. School attendance will increase; fewer young children will experience parasitic stress. People will begin to be able to plan more rationally for their own futures.

If each group builds and installs 400 Filters in the next 12 months, more than 40,000 people will have access to clean water; more, if Filters are shared. Also, if successful, we expect the groups to purchase more steel molds, which will expand their operations.

Person Directing:

The project is being directed by David Albert, Chairman of Friendly Water for the world, working with Stephen Marwa, Director of Hope Revival Children’s Organization (HRCO) in Musoma, Tanzania. The latter organization provides services to orphans, children with HIV (and their parents), and pregnant and parenting women. HRCO has spearheaded many initiatives in small business and cooperative development – leatherwork, chicken-raising, market-based vegetable growing, handicrafts, and the manufacture of interlocking bricks. Stephen started work with Friendly Water for the World more than three years ago and has strong relationships with local governments in the region.


Each of the eight groups will have a trained monitor, who will go into homes to ensure BioSand Filters are installed properly and are being used correctly. Reports from each group will be done in 90 days, at which time business plans will be adjusted as necessary. In addition, trainers from HRCO will remain in Rukwa for 2-3 months to monitor ongoing progress at each of the eight workshops.

Project Funding:

$13,000 has been contributed by the local government.  The remainder has been paid for through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

If you like this project and wish to see additional training of this type, please Donate using the button below.

Water Filters For South Sudan – Program

Water Filters For South Sudan – Program

Water Filters For South Sudan – Program

South Sudan Sawyer Filter Distribution Program

An unmitigated success!

This project was made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association and Water is Basic, working with WiB South Sudan Director, Bishop Taban and the local leadership in Yei River State. We are pleased to announce that the project to deliver water filters to Yei River State was a success1,000 Sawyer Hollow Membrane Filters were distributed in this phase of the overall effort from 2017 into 2018, and all recipients received training on the use and maintenance of these life-saving devices. It is a part of our ongoing Filters For Life Initiative – Worldwide.

The program began with Yei River State and extended into Gogrial State and Kajo-Keji in Central Equatoria State. All of these areas experienced conflict and displacement during this time, and the water filters have been a lifeline to those on the move. The distribution and training of how to use these filters continue in areas of greatest need.


Yei River State, Gogrial State, Central Equatoria State, South Sudan


Our work has always been about local solutions. Another goal from day one has been to provide clean safe water to as many people as fast as possible.

Here in South Sudan, we have done a lot of work with our friends Water Is Basic, a local South Sudanese organization birthed from decades of war, made possible by a joining forces of key religious leaders and humanitarians in South Sudan.  Clean water is more than basic, it is essential to life itself. When scarce, it steals the very life of a nation by undermining a family’s ability to become economically independent, educated and a productive part of society.

Together, WC & WIB have been hard at work helping local communities establish what we enjoy, and so often take for granted: a regular supply of safe, clean water.

Problem Addressed

This project is to provide 1,000 water filters in 3 states.

When civil war broke out in 2013, many people had to leave their villages. Some left for refugee camps in Uganda or The Democratic Republic of Congo. Others fled to the bush or to Internally Displaced Person Camps within the border of South Sudan. Wells were abandoned and left to rust. Other wells were broken because of overuse with so many displaced people sharing them. An increase in cholera and typhoid comes with disruptions to clean water supplies.

In addition to the many well installation and rehabilitation projects we have done (see our South Sudan Well Rehabilitation Program), we have also decided to get water filters to the people, so families could have instant and portable safe water.  With so many people still unsettled, and drinking from dangerous, dirty water sources, having the ability to clean their water on the go was essential in our opinion.
Project Description

Water Charity has been using Sawyer Filters for a very long time.  We were, in fact, one of the first water charities to implement the technology for humanitarian purposes, and have been working with them as they developed this aspect of their product, which had been primarily for camping/survival type markets. The Sawyer filter has the potential to last decades, it is portable, and can give 500 liters of clean water per day serving up to 100 people per day. They remove 99.999% of the pathogens that make people sick and so often lead to death. (see some of our other Sawyer projects by clicking here)

There are a number of models, but the system we used was their Point One model and included a filter and a bucket. It’s a simple design with no technical training required and no moving parts to break down. The 0.1-micron filter is affixed to a plastic container. When contaminated water from any source is filled into the bucket, gravity does the rest. When the filter clogs or slows, a backflush syringe or cleaning plunger, included in the filter kit, is used to simply backwash the filter.  Even the muddiest, most turbid water (the sort refugees might find in the arid brush), can be rendered clear and safe with this filter.  There are no known pathogens small enough to pass through .1 micron holes.

Project Impact

The overall goal was to distribute 10,000 filters to areas of greatest need in Yei River State and for the leaders to receive training to properly train their communities in use and maintenance. That goal was met, and 1,000 of those filters were generously funded by Water Charity donors through this program.  With each filter, individuals also received one bucket and the training to use them properly. With the need being so great and the amount of displaced individuals so high, families shared their filters meaning these 10,000 filters have impacted more than 200,000 South Sudanese in their toughest hour.

Governor of Gogrial State learns to use the water filters​

Water Filters Project – Detailed Description & Report

The first demonstration took place at the Water is Basic headquarters, the EPC Center in Yei, when our longstanding friend Gregg Keen of Sawyer Filters showed how a filter cleans dirty water. Fetching water from the Yei river and pouring it directly into the bucket attached to the Sawyer filter, community members and leaders were astonished to watch him drink the filtered water. (photo and video included) News spread to community leaders and plans were made for filters to be delivered and training to take place so that leaders from all over Yei River State would be empowered to equip their communities to use the life-changing filters. The need was there and the community leaders were ready to train and deliver. All that was needed was the funding to purchase the filters. Water is Basic and Water Charity worked rapidly to raise the necessary funds.

In December of 2016, the first shipment of filters and buckets were delivered into Yei, South Sudan from Uganda. As the community gathered to learn more about the difference a filter could make for their families, Dr. Timothy Isabu, resident doctor at the EPC Clinic, demonstrated the power of the filter by drinking water from the dirty Yei River himself. (see video and photos)

Richard Khemis and his wife Christine received one of the first filters to be distributed in Yei. Their daughter, Abby was just under two and struggled with typhoid because of the quality of the water she was drinking. Because they now drink clean, safe, filtered water, Abbey is healthy, no longer battling high fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. (photo included)

On December 13th, 2016, Anngrace Asha Taban, wife of Bishop Elias Taban of Water is Basic, trained government officials and NGO representatives on the use of the water filters. On that day, 1,500 filters were distributed. 88 filters were distributed to civil servants including Deputy Governors, Ministers, and Commissioners. The Minister of Health attended the training as well, proclaiming that it is more costly to treat preventable diseases than prevent them. He stated, “We shall continue to hold our hands together to make sure that Yei River State is free from preventable diseases.” (video and photos included)

Training and distributions also took place at various local gatherings such as Christ the King Catholic Church in Yei. (video included) Once the community members saw evidence of how the filters worked, they proclaimed they would “treat them like a baby.” To worry about the safety of your children in a conflict area is traumatic enough. Mothers were filled with the assurance that at least they could provide the basics of clean water for their children despite the uncertainty of where they would find their next meal or perhaps where they would need to seek shelter in the likely event that they would need to flee for security reasons.

News rapidly spread to neighboring counties and states and throughout 2017, while the Water is Basic team continued to restore wells, the number one priority was to train County Commissioners, Community leaders and State Officials so that they could get the filters into the hands of the people in their areas that needed them the most.

The local leadership in Yei found that not only were the filters providing emergency relief and saving families from the added costs of medical bills, but they served as tools for peace at the grassroots level. Leaders of opposing forces SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) and SPLA-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Army- In Opposition) were willing to come out of the bush and the barracks to lay down their arms in exchange for a filter and a chance to sit down at the negotiating table to peacefully discuss their grievances. Around the table and around a filter, just like around a well, all have the same basic human needs. Dialogue at the grassroots level plants seeds of reconciliation and healing as the haze of conflict lifts and hope for a path forward can be grasped.

Our local team and their local partners had the opportunity to share this model with leaders of Gogrial State. On July 4th, 2017, two leaders from warring clans in Gogrial State visited Yei River State to discuss how to handle the fighting between their people. They learned how the water filters were a tool for health and for peace. Lieutenant General Salva Matok of the Apuok Clan and Honorable Machok of the Aguok Clan participated in their first peaceful dialogue in Yei that day. Plans were laid to deliver filters to their state and on July 31, 1,500 filters were shipped to Gogrial State. (video and photos included)

In November of 2017, the four Commissioners of Kajo-Keji of Central Equatoria State visited the Water is Basic headquarters in Yei to learn how to train others in the use of the filters in their counties. (video and photos included) Later that month, conflict-hit in their area resulting in 17,300 displaced people with the majority reported having crossed to Uganda (UN). Thousands of filters were in the hands of people who had to flee to the bush, to other communities, or to refugee camps in Uganda.

Filters continue to be distributed to areas of greatest need and stories of relief, peace and health because of the filters continue to pour in from South Sudan. We are grateful to our donor, who chooses to remain anonymous, for providing the funds for this project.  We encourage people to continue donating to this program so that the partnership Water Charity has established in South Sudan can continue to uniquely reach people in one of the most troubled countries on our planet. In the context of a civil war, this partnership in bringing clean water solutions provides a lifeline to people in areas that public and private services fail to reach.



La Paz Region Water Filter Construction Training – Bolivia

La Paz Region Water Filter Construction Training – Bolivia

La Paz Region Water Filter Construction Training – Bolivia

Water Charity is Training 30 People To Make & Distribute Water Filters

Clean water for the slums of Bolivia’s capital city, La Paz!

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Location: La Paz, Bolivia

Problem Addressed:

The ex-urban areas surrounding La Paz, Bolivia are growing extremely rapidly. Some estimates are that the population in these areas now outstrips that of La Paz proper. Few municipal services are being extended beyond the city’s borders, and there are few plans to develop them. Most of the inhabitants of these areas are poor, with roughly two-thirds unemployed.

The strain on water resources in these areas is great. To make way for habitations, much of the tree/vegetarian cover has been destroyed, leaving the area prone to floods and increased drought. Climate changes have exacerbated the situation, and waterborne illnesses not seen in years are re-emerging. In one area surveyed for this project, four waterborne illness deaths were reported in the past three months, where none had occurred for many years.

Project Description:

The Friends International Bilingual Center (FIBC) contacted Friendly Water for the World in March 2018. Participants in their ongoing programming reported the increasing difficulties their communities are having with waterborne illnesses. A two-hour online webinar was arranged with the Center in early May to introduce the work of Friendly Water to gauge interest. The response was enthusiastic. They began using Friendly Water’s epidemiological questionnaire, which confirmed what they had been reporting anecdotally.

The plan is to train 30 participants in BioSand Filter fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance, as well as teaching others about community sanitation and hygiene. The group will then be split into two: one focusing on BioSand Filter production, the other focused on education and marketing in the community. While operating under the umbrella of FIBC), the group will have its own operations and treasurer and will be financially independent of FIBC.

The training will be conducted by Friendly Water’s Technical Advisor Wayne Medrud and Palabra Whitby, who has experience training groups in Mexico, and who has been living in Mexico. A welder has been located to produce the necessary steel molds.

This is a pilot project. We expect that once the project takes off, there will be demand initially for more steel molds, and ultimately for more groups to be trained.

Project Impact:

The project aims at tackling the twin problems of lack of clean water and unemployment. Initially, the project will serve the 30 families represented among those trained, and at least 100 other families receiving Filters in the first six months, for a total of roughly 2,000 people. It is realistic that each group will fabricate and sell a minimum of 250 Filters each in the first year alone.

In the future, the sale of Filters may also translate into the building of rainwater catchment systems (not part of this project but a follow-up one). Consciousness about clean water and the requirements of community sanitation and hygiene will be enhanced.


The project is being directed by Friendly Water Technical Advisor Wayne Medrud. Wayne has experience setting up projects in Uganda, Burundi, India, Liberia, and Mexico. He will be providing weekly check-ins with members of the program upon completion.


The group will have several trained monitors, who will go into homes to ensure BioSand Filters are installed properly and are being used correctly. Reports from the group will be due in 90 days, at which time business plans will be adjusted as necessary. All 30 members of the group have already taken the epidemiological survey, hence providing “before” data.


Project Funding

Initial funding for this project is being provided by the Paul Bechtner Foundation.  Please click this Donate button to help us with this great project.

Project Budget:

La Paz, Bolivia BioSand Filter/Community Sanitation and Hygiene Training
30 Participants – To be conducted by Wayne Medrud and Palabra Whitby with the Friends International Bilingual Center
Qty $/Unit Total Other
Materials Costs
Steel Molds – 2 $650 $1,300
Toolkits 1 $400 $400
Starter Materials 1 $400 $400 Includes sand/cement/gravel/tubing/tarps/metal sheeting
Materials for Trainee Filters (30) 1 $350 $350
Transportation of materials 1 $40 $40
Subtotal $2,490
Education Costs
Training Manual 2 $12 $24
Certificates 30 $2 $60
Notebooks and Pens 30 $1 $15 Provided by the participants
Subtotal $84
Trainer Costs
Trainer Honoraria – two trainings 2 $875 $1,750 Two trainers in each training
Trainer Lodging – 13 days 4 $20 $80 $180 Nine days are being provided by the group
Trainer Meals – 13 days 4 $50 $200 $450 Nine days are being provided by the group
Trainer Transport 2 $1,300 $2,600 $60 $60 is local transportation
Subtotal $4,630
Trainee Costs
Trainee Meals 150 $3 $450 Provide by the Group
Trainee Transportation 30 $10 $300 Provided by local government
Subtotal $0
Evaluation and Follow-up
Administration 1 $600 $600 Includes data analysis and reporting
Fund Transfer Fees 1
Training Site 1 Provided
Subtotal $600
Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Democratic Republic of Congo

Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Democratic Republic of Congo

Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Democratic Republic of Congo

Our 1st Water Filter Training Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Minova, DRC

50 km west of Goma, on the northwest shore of Lake Kivu, in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo

Community Description
The village has about 30,000 inhabitants, plus 5,200 internally displaced people in camps (refugees). There are another 30,000 or so in three surrounding villages.

The surrounding area is mountainous, with numerous volcanoes. The volcanic soil is fertile but does not hold water well.

     War-Torn Area

  • For the past 20 years, war has raged throughout the area, mostly over control of natural resources, including coltan.
  • In 2012, Congolese government forces, backed by United Nations troops, fought and lost a major battle with M23 (and perhaps other) militia forces in Goma.
  • Congolese troops retreated to Minova, where besides other destruction and killings, they raped at least 139 women and young girls as young as nine years old.
  • Following an international outcry, a trial of 37 low-ranking soldiers was held in Goma, Dozens of survivors testified.
  • Only two were found guilty of rape.
  • The events and the trial are depicted in the 2015 Academy Awards shortlisted short film The Testimony. (It can be seen on Netflix) Photos from the trial can be seen here:

     Women Coming Together

  • Almost all the women had been farmers.
  • Most of the husbands of the women who had been raped deserted them, leaving them without funds to send their children to school, or enough labor to tend their fields effectively. Food became scarce, and hunger was common.
  • HIV had been relatively uncommon in Minova. However, the war – and rape – brought HIV to the community.
  • A community leader named Masika Katsuva, who was among those raped, stepped forward to help organize a group of women in agriculture (180 in all), to give them a voice, and to help them come forward at the rape trial. She also set up a center for women and children abandoned by their families.
  • Masika’s story is told in the 2014 feature-length documentary film Seeds of Hope Watch the trailer on the website.
  • Masika’s organization APDUD received significant international support before and during the trial.
  • International support of APDUD fell off significantly after the trial.

In February 2016, Masika died, leaving APDUD in some disarray. Her daughter Desanges hopes to revitalize the organization, and at only 23 years of age, has already done a lot to promote the organization and organize local women.

It is through Masika’s women’s center organization APDUD, and working with Desanges Kamate Kabua, Congolese NGO leader Herman Chirahambali, and our friends at Friendly Water For The World, that Water Charity will be conducting this support and training in much-needed water filters. Herman met Dr. Kambale who does training and works for Friendly Water and recognized the need for this project immediately.

Problem Addressed
The area is prone to large amounts of waterborne illnesses.  Cholera, dysentery, and a host of other pathogenic microbes pollute all the available water sources, and sickness due to these microbes is a huge problem.  Children under 5 are especially vulnerable to such illnesses. Worldwide it is the 2nd leading cause of death for children, and in the DRC, Diarrheal Diseases are the #1 cause of death (according to the CDC and the WHO)!

Project Description
Water Charity will fund a bio-sand filter workshop led by trainers Dr. Kambale Musubao and Aristote Lubao Mbairwe (who work with our friends at Friendly Water Congo), for the women of Minova.  At least 35 women will be provided with a 5-6 day training on how to construct, use, and care for their own bio-sand filters. These filters, when used correctly, can basically last forever… especially the cement mold types we will train them to make.

We will provide them with a few molds, and materials enough for all of the women to make their own filters.  Manuals and printed training materials will be given out in Swahili, English, French, Kinyarwanda. Furthermore, they will receive business training by which they will build filters, and sell them (as well as water) to the people of the Minova area.

There will be an office established at the Women’s Center whereby the women of the program can advertise and sell their product… and in time, they can even begin to conduct their own training to spread the technology.

Funds raised by selling water and filters will go towards purchasing more molds, more materials, and more tools.  Filters and water are in high demand, so there is every reason to believe that this effort will be sustainable, effective and successful.  We expect that more women will come wanting to learn how to make these lifesaving devices, and the Women’s Center will be happy to share this with them.  Thus, in a short time, the ability to make effective water filters will spread across the region.

All in all, a very sustainable effort with a great deal of positive “ripple effect!”

Project Impact
The project has the potential to help and impact all of the 65,000 plus people in the Minova area (Minova town, refugees, and the 3 neighboring villages).  The direct, immediate beneficiaries include all the families and friends of the women of the Women’s center, as well as everyone who purchases a filter or water from them.  This number is hard to pinpoint, but it should amount to 5,000 or more people in the first year alone.

Volunteers Directing Project
Herman and Desanges will be running the project on the ground, and management of the project will be under the direction of David Albert, Board Chairman of Friendly Water for the World, with Water Charity overseeing.

Herman Chirahambali

  • ​Herman is a former school principal. His career came to an end when soldiers came and occupied his school, destroying all desks and burning all books. His mother was killed when rebels pillaged his village. His sister died of AIDS, the result of war-related rape. His wife died giving birth to his second child, who also died.
  • Today, Herman is a volunteer for a non-profit that teaches environmental stewardship through language. They teach female farmers native literacy classes and also run an after-school English language program for children. They reach hundreds of women and children, yet still, struggle to raise the $6.00/month they need to rent their classroom while operating with no computer and only a few books.

Desanges Kamate Kabua

  • Daughter of Women’s Center founder and current organizer and leader of APDUD.
  • It was her drive to help the families of Minova that led to FW and WC becoming involved in this wonderful project.

Monitoring and Maintenance
Eliphaz Bashilwango (FW representative) will be tasked with reporting, in concert with Herman and Desanges, who will be there on the ground to make sure the project achieves its goals.  Should further training and assistance become necessary, any of these individuals will be able to contact WC & FW and request such aid.

This noteworthy project is part of our Training and Support Initiative and is a sister project to our even larger and more comprehensive DRC filter project in Nyiragongo, Congo which is being started promptly. It is our desire to have a continuing and substantial effect on these communities, so expect even more projects of this nature there, including training the women to build rainwater catchments and Ferro-cement water tanks!

This project has been fully funded by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.  If you would like to see us expand, scale-up and do more projects like this one, use the DONATE button below, and your donation will go to more training projects like this one.  Use the comments if you wish your donation to be used for DRC projects specifically.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.

AVEC Water Filter Training – Democratic Republic of Congo

AVEC Water Filter Training – Democratic Republic of Congo

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.