Gusii Community Network Training – Kenya

Gusii Community Network Training – Kenya

Gusii Community Network Training – Kenya

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.

Gusii Community Network (GUCONET) BioSand Filter Construction Training

Kisii, Kenya (near Lake Victoria – click map to enlarge)

Problem Addressed:
Lack of safe and clean water is rampant in most rural communities in Kenya, as well as in urban slums. Water may be available but it is not safe for human consumption. Outbreaks of typhoid, cholera and other water-related diseases are, and have become part of the life of, the people living in these areas, especially in southwestern Kenya, which also has among the highest HIV rates in the world.

The Gusii are a minority Bantu tribe located only in southwest Kenya. They make up a large majority of the population of the city of Kisii, and have more than a million members. Because of their minority status, they are almost entirely ignored when it comes to government health and environmental services. Much of their water comes from Lake Victoria, and is contaminated, bringing with it high levels of amoebic and bacterial dysentery, typhoid, and occasionally, cholera.

Project Description:
GUCONET is an international network working for the sustainable development of the Gusii community. Clean water is a very high priority for the GUCONET secretariat, as they have identified clean water as a major way to lower the disease burden on the community already strapped for health care resources.

Six established groups already identified will send 10 participants each to a five-day training in BioSand Filter fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance. They will also learn to teach community sanitation and hygiene. At the conclusion of the training, six separate workshops will be set up, with all the necessary tools, steel molds, and starter materials. During the training, the teams will undergo a brief introduction to small-scale business management. The teams will be able to make filters and sell them to the entire Gusii Community hence making them self-reliant.

The work of the group will be overseen by the GUCONET secretariat.

Project Impact:
The first direct beneficiaries will be the 60 participants who are trained, and their families, who will now have access to both clean water and increased incomes. The groups they come from will be the next line of beneficiaries, and it will spread from there to the entire community. Waterborne illnesses will be curtailed and health improved; people with HIV will live longer; school attendance will increase; medical expenses will be reduced; community productivity will be enhanced. It should be noted that GUCONET has other initiatives in the areas of agricultural improvement and education, and this effort should facilitate greater success in these areas as well. We expect BioSand Filters to proliferate rapidly within the Gusii community.

Immediate Beneficiaries:
–          60 Individuals trained
–          300 members of their families

Community Beneficiaries (in first two years):
–          Six groups build and distribute 400 BioSand Filters each in first two 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:
–          Programs expand and require more than two molds each
–          Four groups to be trained in south Kisii – the process begins again.

–          Waterborne illnesses curtailed

–          Health improved

–          Child morbidity and mortality reduced

–          Medical/pharmaceutical expenses curtailed

–          School attendance increases

–          Community productivity enhanced

Person Directing:
Eric Lung’aho Lijodi, Friendly Water’s Kenya and All-Africa Representative, will lead the training, together with three experienced members of the Kambiri Water and Sanitation Group.

A group will have a monitor who is trained to visit and check on Filters after installation. A report will be sent 90 days after each group is operational. The GUCONET secretariat will be responsible to ensure reports are forthcoming. After the reports, the business plans for each group will be reviewed, and changes made. The budget for this proposal includes funds for two follow-up visits by Eric.

Water Charity has done a fair number of these training projects, and we believe that the long term “bang for the buck” is very high on them.  Teach a man to fish etc.  The ripple effect of training people who go on to train others is uncountable.  People will benefit from these projects that we will never know about.  People will drink water from filters that were made by people who never met any of our trainers.

Furthermore, this knowledge will also benefit everyone it comes in contact with along the way economically.  People will sell clean water and sell filters.  Profits from this get reinvested into more tools, molds, and materials.  The ability to teach other needy people to do the same is key.

Helping people to help themselves makes sense.

It should be noted that we already have a request to train four more groups, most people with HIV, in south Kisii. We have put them on hold until we see this training succeed, as we hope they will become a “satellite” project of the GUCONET one.

​To see other projects done with Friendly Water Trainers, Click Here.

Budget Detail:
No. Item Description Quantity Unit Cost


Total Source of funds
1. Steel molds 12 430.00 5160.00 WC
2. Tool kits 06 450.00 2700.00 WC
3. Starter Material 06 250.00 1500.00 WC
4. Certificates 60 001.00 0060.00 Local Community
5. Trainees material 60 005.00 0300.00 WC
6. Participants Transport 60 005.00 0300.00 Local Community
7. Participants meals 60 005 x5 1500.00 Local Community
8. Venue 01 050.00 0250.00 Local Community
9. Trainees Acomm. 60 020 x 5 6000.00 Local Community
10. Trainers Acomm./meals 03 050 x 8 1200.00 WC
11. Trainers Transport 03 100 .00 0300.00 WC
12. Trainers Honoraria 03 300.00 900.00 WC
13. Transport for molds 12 020.00 0240.00 WC
14. Follow up 1000.00 WC

This project has been paid for through the generosity of an anonymous donor.


Conclusion of Gussi Community Network Training – Kenya

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!  🙂

Eric Reports:

Water Charity & Friendly Water for the World’s All-Africa representative Eric Lung’aho Lijodi (along with a trained team we have been working with for some time now) conducted a training in BioSand Filter fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance in Kisii, Kenya, under the auspices of GUCONET (Gusii Community Network). It was extremely successful.

The Gusii community, a Bantu tribal group only found in this area of southwestern Kenya, has been beset in recent years with substantial outbreaks of typhoid, bacterial and amoebic dysentery, Rotavirus, and occasional cholera. Most of the water comes from Lake Victoria, and the disease burden carried by the community is extremely high.

The training was to be of six groups from the community, representing different sections of Kisii. However, a seventh group “demanded” at the last instance that they are allowed to participate, and additional funds were found for them. Two of the groups are associated with the local Adventist Church; two groups are all-women; the three others describe themselves as self-help groups. Each group has a leader/contact person, who is also charged with ensuring proper follow-up.

The participants were enthusiastic about being able both to be able to combat waterborne illnesses effectively and also to provide an avenue to assist participants and the community as a whole deal with poverty, as many families currently spend a very substantial part of their incomes on medical care. 

In keeping with a new policy, we provided funds for additional starter materials so that every participant could purchase a BioSand Fitter for the cost of materials, plus their own labor. This provides a quicker path to building a base of Filters within the community and serves as a jumpstart to marketing efforts. Each group is crafting its own business plan but will be reporting to the GUCONET leadership team. A series of four evaluations are planned.

So far, more than a hundred Filters have been built and sold (even though they were slowed for about six weeks by extended drought.) Other groups in the area have come forward and asked to be trained as well, but we will await the success of this project first before proceeding further. 

More will be forthcoming, so come back to this page for further updates!


Bukoba Water Filter Training & Catchment Building – Tanzania

Bukoba Water Filter Training & Catchment Building – Tanzania

Bukoba Water Filter Training & Catchment Building – Tanzania

Water Filter Construction Training & Rainwater Catchments For 10 Villages in Bukoba


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 is already underway, and the training portion has been completed successfully.  The catchment systems are being installed, and the villages already have access to clean water for the first time.  Health results are already very good. Pictures & Updates follow
#below, and as news comes in from the communities, it will be appended to the bottom of this page.

Problem Addressed:

The rural areas of the Bukoba region, in far northwestern Tanzania, have some of the worst water conditions in the country. There are virtually no wells or pipelines. Water is distributed from rivers and Lake Victoria by bicycle or gathered in buckets and resold (31 cents for 20 liters). Women who do not have the means to pay are reported to walk as far as nine kilometers each way in search of water, with the resulting loss in community productivity.

According to the largest district hospital in Muleba District, out of every 500 patients, 430-450 are being treated for waterborne illnesses, mostly typhoid and amoebic and bacterial dysentery. The already limited health system in the region is overwhelmed.  Through the use of Friendly Water for the World’s epidemiological questionnaire, it was found that children miss on average 11 days of school every month on account of waterborne illnesses.

Seeing the success of Water Charity & Friendly Water training in other regions in northern Tanzania, the local government requested our assistance through our affiliate in the region, the Community Life Amelioration Organization (CLAO), based in Mwanza.

Project Description:

Working together with the local government, CLAO identified ten already existing self-help groups in the region, with 440 members (13% have HIV, with the rate among women more than triple that among men.) Four of the 10 groups are all-women.

CLAO is planning two trainings – back-to-back – with a total of 81 representatives of the 10 groups. Members will be trained in BioSand Filter fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance, as well as teaching others about community sanitation and hygiene. The training are planned around Uhuru Torch Day (Tanzania Independence Day) celebrations (September 7th) so that the opportunity can be used to promote Filter sales. All participants are to receive Filters for just the cost of materials, which will mean that the ten communities will have an immediate experience of the effectiveness of BioSand Filters.

Local government is contributing substantially to the project. They have already purchased three of the required 20 steel molds (two more are being contributed by a Massachusetts Rotary Club), and are providing all meals and transportation for training participants. They are also planning to help with Filter promotion.

An indigenous Bukoba philanthropy primarily serving children, called “Water for Life”, to date has drilled two wells, but is changing its focus and plans to provide Filters to vulnerable groups who cannot afford their full cost. They hope to assist with promotion as well.

The self-help groups have also already agreed to save up some of the margin from Filter sales toward building rainwater catchment systems/Ferro-cement tanks. At least 3 full catchment systems will be built from this project directly, with many more to come as the people are able to sell filters and water to raise funds. Training will be provided by CLAO so that people will learn to fabricate themselves. At the current price for dirty water, clean water could be sold (as WC & CLAO have already successfully arranged with two communities of people with HIV in Mwanza,) with more funds going toward building additional catchment systems.

Project Impact:

The project aims at tackling the twin problems of lack of clean water and mass unemployment. Initially, the project will serve the 440 families represented in the self-help groups – about 6,000 people. It is realistic that each group will fabricate and sell a minimum of 250 filters in the first year alone, reaching almost 30,000 people. Schools, health clinics, and orphanages will be equipped with BioSand Filters. People with HIV will no longer suffer from opportunistic infections. The child mortality rate will decline. The health system will no longer be overwhelmed.

As the sale of Filters begins to translate into the building of rainwater catchment systems, for many the “long walk to water” will be reduced. Consciousness about clean water and the requirements of community sanitation and hygiene will be enhanced.

Above all, the communities will be sharing hope through clean water.


The project is being directed by CLAO, under the leadership of Kenedy Mahili, CLAO Director, and Obed Gidion, Treasurer. CLAO has broad experience, having trained 18 ongoing groups in Tanzania, including the Uzima Center for People with HIV, Masai women in Simanjiro, pastoral communities in Singida, and a range of programs closer to Mwanza. They are the chief trainers for the celebrated integrated water program with people with albinism in Shinyanga and Geita.


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. All 440 members of the 10 self-help groups have already taken the epidemiological survey, hence providing “before” data. The Office of the President of Tanzania has sent a written directive to all regional and local government officials, requesting they do what they can to assist CLAO in its clean water efforts. The local government also has a strong interest in this project and will be monitoring health system data, including hospital admissions, with an eye toward expanding these efforts even further.



Bukoba, Tanzania BioSand Filter/Community Sanitation, and Hygiene Training
To be conducted by CLAO – Community Life Amelioration Organization – Mwanza, Tanzania
10 Groups in 10 different villages to be trained and equipped
81 Participants – two trainings
Qty $/Unit Total Req.Other
Materials Costs
Steel Molds – two per group 20 $600 $10,200 $2,800 Five are being paid for by the local government and a Mass. Rotary Club
Toolkits 10 $450 $4,500
Starter Materials 10 $450 $4,500 Includes sand/cement/gravel/tubing/tarps/metal sheeting
Materials for Trainee Filters 81 $18 $1,458
Transportation of materials 1 $450 $450
Subtotal $21,108
Education Costs
Training Manual 81 $4 $324
Certificates 81 $3 $243
Projector 1 $150 $150
Notebooks and Pens 81 $2 $162 Provided by the participants
Subtotal $717
Trainer Costs
Trainer Honoraria – two trainings 4 $250 $1,000 Two trainers in each training
Trainer Lodging – 6 days 24 $30 $720 Two trainings
Trainer Meals 24 $15 $360 # of days
Trainer Transport 2 $85 $170
Subtotal $2,250
Trainee Costs
Trainee Meals 304 $7 $2,128 Provided by local government
Trainee Transportation 304 $4 $1,216 Provided by local government
Subtotal $0
Evaluation and Followup
Follow-up Visits 2 $400 $800
Transportation 2 $85 $170
Subtotal $970
Administration 1 $1,800 $1,800 Includes data analysis and reporting
Fund Transfer Fees 1 $600 $600
Training Site 2 $300 $600 Two trainings
Subtotal $2,400

This project has been paid for through the generosity of an anonymous donor.



Oaxaca Earthquake Relief & Water Filter Project – Mexico

Oaxaca Earthquake Relief & Water Filter Project – Mexico

Oaxaca Earthquake Relief & Water Filter Project – Mexico

This project is made possible by the partnership of Water Charity & the National Peace Corps Association.

*This project was successfully completed and made a difference for many people.  Read the #Conclusion Report below*

A massive earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Mexico in September of 2017 caused widespread damage, and many people were killed in this region.  There was a lot of press and a good deal of aid directed to Mexico City, rightly so, but many people failed to realize that people closer to the epicenter were being ignored by and large.  Due to the work of volunteer Denise Lechner, Water Charity has been able to put together this project to help the still-struggling people of South-Eastern Oaxaca. She is to be aided in this effort by our Project Base friends Nate and Sam, who have raised some of the money for this project already.

This project is part of our worldwide Filters For Life Program which involves the use of fabulous, life-saving Sawyer Filters.

San Mateo del Mar is located on a sandy ridge between the Pacific Ocean and the “Laguna Superior” (Superior Lagoon) in the area of Oaxaca State known as the Tehuantepec Isthmus.  This is the southernmost area of the state, bordering with Chiapas.
Google Earth of the Oaxaca Region

Zoom in on San Mateo del Mar

San Mateo del Mar is considered the second most marginalized municipality in Oaxaca State and the 12th nationwide. It is home to the people from the Ikoots ethnic group, commonly known as Huaves. There are 14,252 people in the municipality and their main economic activity is small-scale fishery.

Woman of San Mateo del MarFishermen of San Mateo del Mar
Community of San MateoThe Laguna

On September 7th 2017, an 8.2 earthquake in the Richter scale hit the States of Oaxaca and Chiapas. According to the National Seismological System the most affected area was the Tehuantepec Isthmus located in Oaxaca, bordering Chiapas, both considered the most seismic of the country. [1] 12 days later, another big earthquake hit the center of the country affecting this area as well.

According to the first statistics, there were at least 110,000 properties affected in Oaxaca and Chiapas, without considering the damage produced by the second earthquake.

In San Mateo del Mar, due to its location on a sandy ridge, the earth went through a liquefaction process during the earthquake damaging a total of 1887 homes and affecting approximately 9000 people (about 60% of the population).
Earthquake Destruction Oaxaca
Besides the overall infrastructure destruction, one of the main concerns in San Mateo del Mar is related to water issues. The lack of services such as piped water and drainage systems has people depending on water wells to obtain their water, and use septic tanks for sewage. With the earth’s movement, many septic tanks broke and contaminated the water wells and the lagoon.

The immediate solution from the government was installing big drinkable water tanks in different areas of the main town, but someone from CONAGUA (the government department that deals with water issues) has told us that the government doesn’t have the capacity to solve the problem in the long run, and that the ideal would be to help with filtering systems since it is most likely that the groundwater aquifers are polluted.
Earthquake Destruction San Mateo Del Mar
Three months after the earthquake there is still no permanent solution, just a few temporary bathrooms have been installed, and there’s started to be shortages in the water tanks. Many people are still defecating outdoors.

250 Sawyer Point One Bucket Filters are being delivered to San Mateo Del Mar.  They will be distributed by Denise, along with her colleagues.  There will be training to teach people how to properly use these filters and maintain them.  With occasional backflushing, they last for 10 years or more and are guaranteed up to 1,000,000 gallons.

These 250 filters are to be distributed in the three main communities of the area: The “Third Section” or “Head Town” of San Mateo del Mar (Section most affected by the earthquake in the main town), San Pablo and Colonia Juarez.
San Mateo Del Mar Dwelling Woman in Water
This effort will be completed by mid-January and will be aided by the arrival of Sam Hardy and Nate Jones, our wingsuit flying daredevil friends from Project Base.  Water Charity has been building a partnership with them for a couple of years now, and the fact that they were flying nearby in Mexico and are friends with Denise created a perfect situation for them to come and lend a hand.  We expect they will gather some of their famously stellar footage, so check back!
San Mateo Home
Since September 11th, Cultural Anthropologist Denise Lechner and Pediatrician Anja Widmann have been in San Mateo del Mar to do relief work. Since then, they’ve been working in the three main communities affected: The Head town of San Mateo del Mar and the neighborhoods of San Pablo and Colonia Juarez.

Denise and her team, have continued to help with temporary shelters, workshops to make cots and distribution of staples and other necessities.

There have been a small number of filtration systems received in the area, that were installed in households, but the filters WC is donating will make a big difference, as the vast majority of people are still dealing with unimproved water sources.

We’ve managed to have a permanent team in San Mateo helping us with the distribution and the follow-up of our projects while we are not in the community.  The way the workshops are designed, it allows the people who received the training, to teach others on the same subjects, reaching a much larger amount of people. We’ve been working mainly with schools, and with organized groups in the small sections or neighborhoods.

While the initial filters would be installed in schools that need them, and health centers, we’ve noticed that the people suffering most with the water problems live far away from these places… so we are organizing three or four neighboring families to receive each filter. This way we would be impacting a total of at least 2250 to 2,500 people since families are large.

​Denise Lechner

The filters are to be installed in the first couple of weeks of January, and we will do a couple of workshops in two or three communities for people to learn how to use and care for them.  The women of the community already hold regular meetings and are working with our team, so this will be a relatively easy task.  The filters themselves require very little maintenance.  Occasional backflushing with the included backflush syringe to remove sediment build-up is all that is required.  Otherwise, the filters are quite robust and can last for 10+ years without issue.
Women of San Mateo del Mar

The initial workshops are connected to the distributions, and then our permanent team in the community will be going to check their use and issues that may arise. Follow-up pictures of these visits will follow.

​This project is part of our Filters For Life Program, and relies on the Sawyer Hollow Membrane Water Filter technology.

This project has been funded by the Paul Bechtner Foundation.  Please contribute to our Filters for Life program using the Donate button below, and your donation will be used for our next water purification project.

Community Meeting San Mateo del Mar, Oaxaca, Mexico
Working after the Earthquake to repair roofs etc.

Conclusion Report for the Oaxaca Earthquake Relief & Water Filter Project – Mexico

To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

This filter distribution project was successfully finished despite the fact that we suffered many unfortunate delays. The main reason was that the filters were retained in customs after their shipment. Due to an only moderately rare combination of corruption, bureaucracy and ineptitude, our supply of filters languished while people suffered.  It took a lot of hard work, patience, and pressure from the local government officials in Oaxaca to get them out.

For this reason, once the filters arrived in the community, several of the places we originally intended to help had already solved their wells’ pollution problem themselves. We were in contact with World Vision (who had also been distributing Sawyer filters in San Mateo del Mar and Colonia San Pablo, areas where we were originally planning on helping) to see where filters were still needed. We decided to focus on Colonia Juarez, since this place was also severely affected by the earthquake, and nobody had attended the inhabitants at all.  It is also the second-largest town in the municipality.

Report from Denise:

With a great deal of perseverance, we managed to get the filters released from customs and didn’t have to pay any of the exorbitant (criminally so) fees they were trying to extort from us.  I won’t go into the comedy of errors that led up to this.  Let’s just say that many officials don’t actually care if humanitarian work gets done for “their” people, but are far more interested in lining their own pockets when they see the opportunity.

We managed to obtain and distribute a portion of the filters at the time of the Earthquake and those were installed without incident.  However, because of the delays in retrieving the majority of the filters, there were other obstacles that arose.  As time went on people returned to their daily lives and stopped attending the projects related to the natural disaster emergency, so it became more complicated to coordinate the work with the local team. They had resumed their daily work and we had to adapt to their available times.

Nonetheless, the project was completed, and we managed to address the water problem in the municipality with the joint efforts of several organizations.


The first part of the project was done when Sam and Nate, from Project Base, visited with us the communities, they taught Abel, our infield coordinator, how to use and install the filters. We went to a couple of houses to do some installations with him to see if he had gotten the idea. A few of the houses were very far away, we had to walk for 30 minutes to get there. It’s a home that had a water well and the family has 8 kids, they had lost everything during the earthquake and were not receiving any help from the government. Abel taught them how to use the filter, including the back flushing and how to do the cleaning process whenever needed.

We also went to visit a family of seniors that were really affected by the earthquake, it turned out that two different nonprofits had given them Sawyer filters that they were not using. It turns out that they had just distributed them without any sort of explanation, so they had no idea what they were for or how to use them. We decided to teach them how to use the filters they already had. We realized how important the proper training was, so the filters can be used at its fullest potential.

Since I don’t live in the community and only go there occasionally (to do the follow-up of the project), we decided that Abel would continue the training of the people to distribute the filters. We already had some buckets that were used in other projects and bought the rest that where needed to match the 250 filters.

We decided that Abel would do several workshops where he would teach heads of families, mothers, teachers, and health promoters so they could share the information in their neighborhoods before distributing the filters.

We started by attending the inhabitants of the most remote areas as they are undoubtedly the ones who have more difficulty accessing drinking water, concluding with the people from the neighborhoods that also had wells in the central areas of the municipality.

We attended people from the following neighborhoods: La Paz, El Pitayal and Colonia Juarez, to start with. Then, through the information given to us by some teachers, we found out that some neighborhoods of the main town hadn’t received filters either, so we gave a couple of more workshops to finish the distribution of the filters we still had left in Barrio Nuevo and Santa Cruz neighborhoods.

We finished the distribution of the 250 filters in September with the proper training which included how to install the filter, how to do the proper maintenance and cleaning for it to last the 10 years it’s intended for. We also give information related to the need of drinking clean water in order to avoid stomach issues, the importance of water as a natural resource and as a universal human right.

Water Charity would like to thank Denise for her heroic efforts in making this project happen.  We would also like to thank Abel for his tireless work on this, as well as the various other people who helped procure, assemble and distribute the filters.  Finally, we would like to thank our friends Sam & Nate for pushing to make this project a reality.

Simanjiro Maasai Training Initiative – Tanzania

Simanjiro Maasai Training Initiative – Tanzania

Simanjiro Maasai Training Initiative – Tanzania

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

Girl Filling Water - SimanjiroLocation:
Simanjiro district, Manyara region, north-central Tanzania

Problem Addressed:
Simanjiro is a semi-arid district of some 185,000 people south of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Arusha region. Most of its inhabitants – 85% Masasi, plus some Bantu groups – are pastoralists. There are constant water shortages, and it is not uncommon for women to get up in the middle of the night and walk for as long as nine hours to fetch water from ponds or shallow wells, where the water is shared with cattle. The water is unclean, with constant outbreaks of waterborne illnesses, particularly typhoid, bacterial dysentery, and, before the rainy season, cholera.

Project Description:
Community Life Amelioration Organization (CLAO – Mwanza, Tanzania), with the enthusiastic support of local government authorities, plans to train six groups of 10 people, mostly Maasai, from six different wards in Simanjiro. Three groups will be mixed (male/female) and three groups all-women, with the Girl Pouring Water - Simanjiro, Tanzaniaidea of comparing their effectiveness in fabricating and distributing BioSand filters.

The six groups with ten beneficiaries from each of the six wards will be trained and provided with starting materials. Participants will be trained on the fabrication, installation, distribution and maintenance of BioSand water filters. Also, education on water, hygiene, and sanitation will be provided, as well as basic skills in keeping records, financial management, and basic business planning.

Project Impact:
This project will be beneficial to 60 community members from 6 wards (each ward, 10 participants) of Simanjiro District; 30 of them will be women who will form 3 groups among 6 groups.  The actual number of beneficiaries will grow exponentially as the filters, clean water and knowledge of how to build them are spread.  It is possible the reach of this project could extend to 10’s of thousands of people eventually.

Among the expected results, in addition to reducing waterborne illnesses, is increasing school attendance (many children miss school because of waterborne illnesses), and the community’s capacity to engage in other economic activities. Once better health is achieved, CLAO hopes to move forward by training groups to build rainwater catchment/Ferro-cement tank systems, reducing ‘the long walk to water’. This will become increasingly viable once local authorities have experienced a successful partnership to improve the lives and health of their constituents.

There will be an increase in knowledge regarding hygiene and sanitation, as well as the importance of clean drinking water. Enhanced job creation and self-employment will reduce the burden on family members and the government in general through improved living standards. Waterhole - SimanjiroEnough income will be generated to start other small projects. The disease burden will be reduced. The district will experience economic growth.

Person Directing:
Robert Kennedy Mahili and Obed Gidion, leaders of CLAO, will direct the training. They both have extensive experience in the field. They will be joined by Friendly Water for the World’s treasurer Ginny Stern, who is currently in Tanzania with the Tanzanian Teaching Fund.

In collaboration with local authorities, group leaders, and the CLAO team, a communications plan will be established to ensure the flow of information among groups trained and trainers for technical support, challenges, and progress of the project. Each group will have a trained monitor. CLAO representatives will meet with each group after 90 days, to evaluate progress, and make necessary modifications to the business plans.

Budget Details:

No Item description Quantity Unit price $ Total price $ Funder
1 Steel molds 12 550$ 6600$  WC
2 Set of toolkit 6 450$ 2700$  WC
3 Mold Transport 1 250$ $250  WC
4 Set of Starter material 6 250$ 1500$  WC
5 Certificates 60 3$ 180$  WC
6 Printing manual 60 4$ 240$  WC
7  Trainers honorarium 4 300$ 1200$ Participants contributions
8 Trainer Transport 1 300$ 300$  WC
9 Trainees transport fees 60 @5$×60×5 day 1500$ Local authority
10 Trainer accomm, food, communication 4 @30$×4×6 days 720$  WC
11 Participants lunch and tea 60 @6$×60×5days 1800$ Local authority
12 Venue 1 50$×5 days 250$ Local authority
13 Training materials (flip sheet, pens, notebooks) FF 350$ 350$  WC
14 Monitoring and evaluation FF 400$ 400$  WC

Simanjiro, Tanzania

Expected Results


–          This will increase the knowledge of the trained members and the community in general on hygiene and sanitation

–           Knowledge of the treatment of water before drinking will help to reduce water-related diseases

–          Education on the Consequences of using unsafe water and the benefits from using clean water will lead to health improvement

–          Knowledge of job creation and self-employment to participants will reduce the burden on the family members and government in general hence improving the living standard


–          Start of small projects in order to increase their incomes.

–          Reduction of unemployed people in Simanjiro district and Tanzania in general.

–          Reduction of diseases from unsafe water by distribution Bio Sand water filters.

–          Contribution to the community’s economy and the whole country in general.

–          Increased number of people with access to clean water.

–          The economic growth of the District since people will be healthy.


From the profits of this project, trained groups will invest in other different businesses and they will keep providing clean water to the community via BioSand water filters distribution. On the contrary, the idea will be sold to other NGOs working in and out of Simanjiro district to adopt and distribute the idea to those who have no access to water.

UPDATE: Simanjiro, Tanzania Filter Training

Footage of dancing and jubilation concluding our training.  Full conclusion report to be posted soon!

This training was completed, and these Maasai communities are now producing water filters at a very good rate.  Furthermore, this is having the (expected) good results on the health and general wellbeing of the region that we find whenever filtration of water sources becomes standard practice.


Erick Reports:


Simanjiro groups is the name given to the six Maasai groups trained in Biosand water filter construction in November 2017. The groups have a total number of 109 members.

The groups were trained in water hygiene and sanitation, fabrication of bio-sand water filters, installation, maintenance, and marketing.

This report covers what we have achieved, planned activities that we have not achieved, when to achieve them, challenges faced and the way forward.

The planned activities on implementing the project went as follows:

  1. Public community awareness on bio-sand water filters on human hygiene and sanitation

All the six groups namely Namnyaki  Group, Juhudi group, Naberera group, Chapakazi Group, Njoro Women Group, and Mshikamano Group initiated the community movement of having clean water to the Maasai people which has been greatly supported by the government.  This campaign helped them in implementing their project through making the community aware of Biosand water filter as a cheap and easy method of having safe and clean water for a low cost, this campaign was done jointly under the supervision of village health officers.

  1. Filters fabrication and installation

At the time of this report, the groups have successfully managed to fabricate and installed filters as follows:

No. Name of groups Fabricated filters Installed filters
1. Namnyaki  Group 358 321
2. Mshikamano Group 284 278
3. Njoro Women Group 521 459
4. Naberera group 104 96
5. Chapakazi 232 223
6 Juhudi 139 134
Total 1638 1521

These numbers will continue to grow exponentially as the technology spreads, more training are conducted, and more molds and tools are purchased to ramp up the production efforts.

  1. Achievements/ success

Through this new technology which has brought a positive impact to the community and indeed has changed the lives of some families that managed to get the filters. The achievements are as follows:

  • All the 60 people who participated in the training received the filters.
  • Three filters have been installed at Endarok kindergarten pre-school
  • Health improved among all the Bio sand water filter users’ families, by comparing the epidemiological questionnaire filled during the training that was shown that 98% of the people attending the hospital every month were due to water-related diseases. The new epidemiological questionnaire filled showed that after starting using the bio-sand filter only 16% of the bio-sand user attends the hospital for that case, and this 16% may perhaps be improper uses of the filters.  Therefore ClAO directs the group’s leaders to make follow-up on that in order to understand the reasons behind that.
  • All the government schools order to have the filter the order that was paid by the local government, the local government made a payment of 1000 filters to all schools. The order was divided considering the number of schools available in a certain location
  • The project turned out to be permanent job opportunities to most of Maasai women and this makes them contributes much to their family’s income
  • The group succeeded to contribute 25000$ (half of the money paid by the local government order of 1000 filters to school) to the construction of community water harvesting tank that will be used to collect up to 6 million liters of water when finished
  • Through this project funded by FWFW the Njoro women group have managed to open a small shop of selling animal’s food that helps them to generate more (we are likely to see the shop is moving up as their planned)
  1. Challenges faced

Apart from all they achieved, the project faces several challenges as follows,

  • Lack of enough water during washing sands for installation during drought season, the distance of collecting water from the lake is very long to collect water.
  • Lack of proper means of transportations, this makes more filters broken during transportations (cows and donkey are their popular means of transporting filters)
  • Lack of projector that will attract more Maasai society to view our work /project and creates more market as well as bio-sand water filters beneficiaries
  1. Way forward
  • The groups have planned to continue with public community campaign awareness and making fabrication of more filters as well as installing to the community.
  • The groups are looking for more markets of filters and sponsors who will help them the money to complete the local tank that will help them to have constant and enough water all the time.

Suggestions from group members:

  • There is a need for Maasai women to be equipped with other small projects such as soap making, micro flush toilets, poultry projects, vegetable garden goat and milk cow projects are great projects that will also increase their income even if by a loan that will be repaid back after four-month installation.

Project Funding:
This project has been funded through the generosity of a donor who chooses to remain anonymous.

Conclusion of Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Democratic Republic of Congo

Conclusion of Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Democratic Republic of Congo

Conclusion of Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Democratic Republic of Congo

  The project made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

Cleaning Sand in Minova, Democratic Republic Of Congo

This water filter construction training project for women in the village of Minova, Democratic Republic of Congo, has been completed under the direction of Herman Chirahambali​ and Friendly Water For The World Volunteer Eliphaz Bashilwango
It involved teaching a group of women to make bio-sand water filters, providing them with the raw materials, molds, and tools, and getting them sufficient in the technology so they could continue to manufacture these units… as well as teach others to make them.
To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.  There is also a follow-up report that follows this one.  To read that one, CLICK HERE.
Eliphaz reports:
The training went very well.  The women of the village were very happy to learn this skill, and the production of bio-sand filters has been going full steam since.
Not only are the women able to make filters and clean their own water, but they are also now selling clean water and filters to other members of the village.  The demand for filters is so great that they have already asked for more molds and tools.  This is quite a success and is already having an effect on the health of the people of Minova.
Below, we have included stories from a number of the women in the group.  Thank you to everyone who made this possible.
First Filters for women of Minova
We would like to thank Eliphaz, Dr. Kambale and Desanges for executing such a fine project, and we would also like to thank all of the donors whose support and contributions helped make this possible.  Projects like these are a model of efficiency and effectiveness.  Such training can spread life-saving techniques like this far and wide, and unlike infrastructure and hardware, the knowledge can potentially last forever.
​Here we have the stories of some of the women who participated in the training.  They are unedited and contain some disturbing disclosures, but we want to let the women speak for themselves, so if you choose to read them, keep this in mind.


ChibalonzaMy name is CHIBALONZA Christine, I am 30 years old. Born in a family of 8 children, I didn’t get the chance of going to school because of discrimination, our culture considering that schooling a girl is a waste of time. Also, early my father abandoned my mother 20 years ago and has got another wife. Mon has to suffer and work hard to raise us. No one among all my brother and sisters has got a state diploma, only boys finished the primary school level. When I was 16 years old, I went to work as a cleaner at a particular household. The same year, the boss used to rape me by force,  I got pregnant and was chased, starting suffering at that age, spending nights on road, being used as a tool by men in sexual abuse because I had to get money for food. I gave birth helped by a girlfriend on the farm and not at the hospital because couldn’t have money to pay at the hospital. After that, I started living here and there. With the pregnancy, I was not allowed to go back to our home. The man (boss) who raped me and give me pregnant died and my son was not considered to take part in inheritance. My son is to school but he is always chased from the classroom because of a lack of school fees, know that primary school and education is not free in DRC, parents have to pay the teachers. Finally, I came back home but I am always a victim of discrimination and criticism. I have tears every day in my heart. I stayed cultivating a rented farm because women do not have right on lands. I had been eighteen months while coming back very late from the farm, three strong boys for the second time come to me and raped me by force, this is the children I have in my hands, I don’t know who is his father.

I am NABINWA ZUNGURUKA Germaine, 26 years old.Nabinwa  I have one child, a girl. I have got this girl from the massive rape done by FARDC (Congolese national army) in November 2012, where more than 140 women were raped within 24 hours. I didn’t go to the hospital because it was a shame for me saying that I was raped.  People asked me to join the trial but I refused because no justice in Congo, exactly those who went there didn’t get anything they lost their time. I am jobless now, wish I could get a microloan to start a small business.

NamavuI am NAMAVU  BAHATI 38 years old mother of 8 children and all of the girls, this has created a great challenge to me in my family in law. It is not easy to give birth to only girls in my culture; they do consider that it is due to the woman. Without any job, I have to help some farmers to carry luggage and get a daily food, but what kind of food do you imagine full of water and big cassava bread. About rape in DRC, this is very common. In the farm, at the river, in the house at any time a woman can be a victim of rape from civilians and from police, national army, rebels, pastors, priests. I know so many girls who had been raped by priests, pastors, and police. In Congo, we also have nice laws about sexual abuse but I can say that 98% of women are not aware of this law. Even some policemen and soldiers are not aware of this law. One of my daughters who is 12 years was victim of rape, the author/aggressor that was arrested by police but only two weeks later he was free, released because of corruption.
OmbeniI am OMBENI ORNELLA, 20 years old I am married but in very bad conditions. The man I am living with that I am calling my husband one year ago I was studying at secondary school at Bishange. He wanted me to become his girlfriend but I refused because I wanted to become a teacher after my studies. But one day as we were living in the same village, while going to get water at the river, he sent a young boy to call me. The young boy come to me saying that someone was calling me, I asked what was his name. The boy said he didn’t know the name of the one who was calling on me. I went there, and found the boy himself. I didn’t even want to talk to him, but laughing, he told me “ I want you to be my wife for the life”. When I wanted to go, he took me by the hand and then suddenly three more boys came, they shut my mouth and took me by force in the boy’s house. Since that day I become his wife and we are living together. His family and my family makes friendly arrangements, they gave some goats to my family as part of the dowry.

FurahaMy name is FURAHA HABAMUNGO, 21 years old and mother of children all of the boys. I was a pupil at Matendo secondary school in the 5th form. I met with a young handsome boy with whom we were friends for years.  As we used to meet without protection, I realized that I was pregnant, my brothers brought me to the boy’s family where I am living alone until now. Once there, the boy lived with me only three months then he escaped and joined an armed group. I don’t have peace at his family because they usually say that their son joined the armed fearing to be jailed because of me. For now, we don’t have any news from him; alive or dead we don’t know. I got the second child from a friend of that boy (my husband) he used to come and help me with some money but his aim was to make love with me. For now, he also does not help me. I am now suffering and the family of my husband wants to chase me while I cannot go back to my family. The clothes you can see I have are a gift from neighbors. I used to spend all day crying.Noella

My name is NOELLA MAPENDO, 34 years old and mother of 8 children, 4 boys, and 4 daughters. I was legally married, but for now I am living alone with my children. My husband abandoned me because of the massive rape that happens here at Minova in November 2012 by the government’s soldiers who raped hundreds of women within 24 hours. Now my husband took two more wives and went with them to another town. My children are not going to school; we are not able to get sufficient food. Life is very difficult for me.  

NeemaMy name is NEEMA BYENDA , I am ..years old. We are nine children in our household. My father separated from my mother when I was one year old.  My father has died but he was nothing form me. My mother doesn’t have any farm and any job. All my brothers and sisters didn’t go to school because the mother was not able to send them to school while the school is not for free in DRC. I wish I could go to school and finish my studies because I left last year when I was in 5th form pedagogy at secondary school. My sisters are giving birth home without any control even my brothers and some of these children are dying from kwashiorkor/malnutrition. Rape in our community is common and people are not punished, so many young girls do abandon school because of rape and being pregnant. In November 2012 more than 140 women were raped in Minova in 24hours by the national army FARDC and no punishment. I, my sisters and our mother were all raped in the same night. Were always the victim of stigma and it’s a daily shame for us being raped. I don’t believe I could one day have a boy to take me for marriage. We wish some women empowerment projects could be implemented, projects that will help to stop rape and have the authors punished. Projects as family planning, speaking to pupils and students about HIV.

NdawaboMy name is, Ndawabo Mirindi , 38 years old. Mother of four children. My so-called husband took me for marriage by force ten years ago and after using me as an object he abandoned me alone with the four children without any supportFor now, he has got two more wives. I don’t have any access to the farms; my children are not going to school, getting food is among our daily miracle. Life is very hard. One of my children wanted to die by the lack of food and hospital fees. I am feeling as I might have got HIV from that so-called husband and I do fear the HIV test because if it’s positive for me I can suicide myself.

SifaI  Sifa Bitaha , I didn’t go to school, not able to read and write. Only my brothers went to school. It is said that we as ladies don’t have the right to school in our culture. As I don’t study, my job is working in farms and keeping kids. At 15 years old, I was living at my elder sister’s house helping her to keep and look after her kids. Her husband’s friend raped me by force many times and makes me pregnant. I was rejected by my elder sister and in all the family. I suffered so during the nine months, I gave birth and two months later my son died. I returned home but it’s a shame for me and doesn’t have any consideration, they do consider me at home as an object.  I had been five years since I got another child, my only girl, I got him from a nurse who was treating me and as I couldn’t pay the hospital fees, he used to make love with me and we got a child.Anuarite

My name is Anuarite. I am 18 years old. I studied at Matendo high school and had got my state diploma. After that year, one of the teachers there started looking for me for love, he made me pregnant and I was chased at home by my parents. The father of the teacher was also a pastor and he didn’t want me to come to his home. I suffered so much for the nine months and until now I am suffering from my children. Before that, we are in our household six ladies and all of us were raped by the national army in November 2012. My young sister is even HIV positive from rape.

I am Desanges SERONGE, mother of 2 children. I was raped by a soldier and went with him because I couldn’t go home after that shame. I lived with that soldier for two years; he took two more wives and left me suffering with my children. I was not able to feed my children. During those two years, as that soldier was making sex in disorder he infects me with HIV, now I am living with my mother who is also a widow. I fear that my children could be infected.  NAKASHI

I am NAKASHI, a mother of 11 children. I am years old. I am married but my husband is jobless. It is very difficult for me to feed the 11 children. We are internally displaced people IDPs here at  Minova. We came from Nyabibwe during the war, we don’t have any help here. Some of my children are not going to school, and those who are going there are always chased by the lack of school fees. Some are obliged to go here and there to look for food. Rape is very common in this area, there are so many girls who are raped and are giving birth without any control. My second daughter was also a victim of rape and she got a child from that rape. The authors of rape are not punished because of corruption.   In November 2012 more than 140 women were raped by the national army, all of us were victims of this. They spread HIV and other so many diseases through that rape. We want people to help us with some women’s projects.

While we didn’t ask these brave women to share their stories and are loathe to publicize them for their “shock” value… we recognize that these women want the world to know their stories.  That the unbelievable strength and bravery that they embody is a model for us all.  Again, we apologize if the unedited content of their statements is disturbing for anyone.  Teaching these women to clean their own water is an endlessly refreshing endeavor with ripple effects that we can never fully measure.  Thanks to everyone who made this possible, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and especially our friends at Friendly Water For The World.

Laying out sandAssembling Filters



Ango Compassionate Hearts Program – Congo (DRC & Central African Republic)

Ango Compassionate Hearts Program – Congo (DRC & Central African Republic)

Ango Compassionate Hearts Program – Congo (DRC & Central African Republic)

Ango Compassionate Hearts – Congo

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

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

Location: Ango, Bas Uele Province, Congo-DRC

Water Charity is pleased to announce that we have begun a comprehensive project for the people on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo & the Central African Republic.  Most of these people are refugees from the ongoing crisis in the CAR, and the aid available in the DRC is minimal at best.

This is an ambitious program involving a series of water filter manufacturing trainings, soapmaking instructions, and also includes medical components as well.  Eyeglasses, medical supplies and doctors will be brought to this beleaguered area in addition to the manufacture of on-site BioSand Filters.  100 youths and widows are being trained to make long-lasting BioSand water filters, distribute them, and give sanitation instruction. The net benefit of this effort cannot be overstated.  Not only will people be able to deal effectively with the poor water quality, waterborne illnesses and hygiene issues that are rife there, but the trainees will be learning valuable, teachable and commercial skill sets that will enable them to create income while helping others.

Water Charity has paid for all of the WASH elements of this effort.  All of the training supplies, molds, tools, soapmaking supplies, teaching, transportation, supplies and local expenses have already been funded by us.  The project is being done in partnership with a local group and our friends at Friendly Water For The World, under the direction of David Albert, and there are other donors covering the medical costs.  Together we will have a profound effect on the health and wellbeing in the Ango region.

Woman getting water in AngoPlease consider donating to this effort here.  As usual, Water Charity has funded this project out of pocket, and only presents it to you once it is already underway.  We ask people to “reimburse” us for funds we already spent, and adopt projects that are already underway or completed, because this allows us to be extremely agile and quick to deliver our aid.  We are not raising money for something we envision doing in the future, which can’t start until X amount of dollars is raised.  We do projects immediately, and then show our donors what we are actually doing.  In this way, you can know that you are contributing to something that is actually happening… NOW.

Problem Addressed:

Ango is in Bas Uele Province in north-central Congo-DRC, on the border with the Central African Republic. It is a “village”, but, with its surrounding population, has about 100,000 people, all living on subsistence (or sub-subsistence) agriculture. The area is very isolated. Road travel is extremely difficult, and the area is very cut off, as the war in northeast Congo (some 900 miles away) to the east makes supply provision extraordinarily difficult. The provincial capital – Kisangani – is more than 500 miles away (14 hours at under ideal conditions) by road.

There are several schools (some of them currently occupied by refugees). There once was a health clinic, now abandoned, and few or no medical supplies. There are very high rates of child mortality and morbidity, mostly from waterborne illnesses, as well as malaria. Typhoid is an epidemic.  Water and sanitation conditions are horrific. There is one well, set up by Ango Compassionate Hearts.  Housing consists mostly of grass and thatch huts. There are churches (both Catholic and Protestant), and a mosque. There is no reliable data from the area.

Refugee HousingThe ongoing war in the Central African Republic – ostensibly a religious one, including the Lord’s Resistance Army and Muslim insurgents, but really just a struggle for power – and a lack of stability – has sent thousands of refugees, both Christian and Muslim, into the province, in areas around Ango. There is no NGO or United Nations or government presence to deal with them.  They are mostly welcomed by the local inhabitants, provided with space to build a hut, and food is shared as people are able.
Project Description:

This is the first of what is likely to be a series of visits. Note that the initial services are not aimed at refugees, but at the permanent residents of Ango. Refugee services may be in our future planning. However, it is a good assumption that the refugees will not be returning home anytime soon, and will be there into the long-term future.

There will be four major elements:

Current Water Source1. Training two groups to build BioSand Filters. One group will be an already existing youth group. The other will be widows nominated by several churches. The lead organizer Neema Paininye (see below) is working to make sure we have teams ready to be trained. We have allocated enough funds so that each trainee (100 total) will be able to get a Filter for their own family at cost.

2. Training one group in soapmaking. Our team will be trained in soapmaking by Richard Kyambadde, Friendly Water Country Representative in Uganda, and then take the knowledge to Ango. We already have one group in Uganda that has become self-sufficient through soapmaking. (There is virtually no soap to be had in Congo.)

3. An environmental health assessment. Led by Holly Myers (below) we will try to assess where “the low-hanging fruit is”. Where would be the most cost-effective future interventions? Is it better food storage? Water? Mosquitos? Waste disposal? Toilets? Rainwater catchment? Where would an NGO (not necessarily us) get the most “bang for the buck”?

4. Medical care and medicine – Obviously, the needs are overwhelming. Besides helping to lead BioSand training, Dr. Riziki will provide medical services to at least some people. She will, with Neema, purchase needed medical supplies with MAP Medical Missions (with whom Neema has worked before). In the longer run (though we might start now), it would be great to begin to train a team of women in very, very basic nursing care (and how to administer the little in the way of supplies they have). This may be the start of a larger venture later.
Project Impact:

The project aims at beginning the process of ameliorating the conditions faced by the people of Ango and, eventually, refugees streaming into the area. The two BioSand workshops will bring a source of employment to widows and to youth, and provide for the first 100 BioSand Filters to ensure clean water in the community. More than 1,200 people will immediately have access to clean water; over the next 18 months, it should increase to at least 8,000. Soapmaking will provide additional employment, and bring soap to a community that has virtually none. Immediate health care needs will be provided for. An abbreviated environmental health assessment should provide direction for the next steps for the community, and will increase the possibility that other NGOs might be convinced to step in. Contacts will be firmed up with what little local administration there is. Communications with the area will be streamlined.

Person Directing:
Neema with a widow in Ango

Neema Paininye, who was born in Ango but who lives in Tracy, California, returns to Ango at least twice a year. She visits with her family (her mother and sister are still there, both often sick with typhoid), brings medical supplies and other things of benefit to the community, and works with community leaders to try to better conditions there. On her most recent visit, she began working with refugees in a surrounding community as well.  With difficulty, she also arranged for the construction of a well. She has been in touch with Friendly Water for more than two years, and came to the August 2017 training, where she made many friends.

She writes:

Ango Compassionate Heart’s main goal is to end poverty in the region of Bas Uele, in north central Congo-DRC. Most of our work is done in the village of Ango. We are developing and implementing programs that address the basic human needs so that one day the people of Ango and their surroundings can take the lead within their own communities and develop it. Our program includes four categories:

  1. Water Sanitation
  2. Education
  3. Women’s Programs
  4. Healthcare

Clinic in Ango, CongoWe are a group of people driven by the desire to bring assistance to the people living in extreme poverty. Our hope is that more people will join us in this effort and partner with us in order to improve the lives of the poor in the Bas-Uele region and around the world. I started life in a tiny, remote Congolese village to very poor parents, yet, by the grace of God, I grew up to earn a degree in psychology at an American university, and returns to the Congo each year to minister to the people of my village.

In 2013, I was burdened for the people of the Congo, especially those in my village of Ango. The people of my village live hopeless, helpless lives, and wake up in the morning not knowing when they will have their next meal. I then decided to start Ango Compassionate Hearts Foundation, with the vision of bringing assistance to the people leaving in extreme poverty in Bas Uele region in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Holly Myers (who will be the second trainer) is Environmental Health Director of Yakima Health District, one of the largest health districts in Washington State. She met up with Friendly Water at the annual Washington State Environmental Health Association (WSEHA) Conference three years ago, and had wanted to come to the training since. She brings a wealth of knowledge and 20 years of experience on all aspects of environmental health (though she hasn’t traveled abroad previously), and an encyclopedia of people who can help! She can do an environmental health survey of the entire community. On her return, she can also bring Friendly Water to a larger stage, with environmental health people across the country.  We have already scheduled a presentation at WSEHA (being held in Olympia in May).

Dr. Riziki Mupelevendu is a general practitioner who deals primarily with children. She has trained many groups in Congo-DRC in BioSand Filter fabrication and use, including one in Butembo where Filter sales support her health clinic. She has dealt with all waterborne illnesses endemic to Congo-DRC.

Kids fetching water at the refugee camp


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 due in 90 days, at which time business plans will be adjusted as necessary. An epidemiological questionnaire (before and after), translated into Lingala (the local language) will be administered to all those being trained, and all those who receive BioSand Filters.

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 these countries.

Conclusion of Ango Compassionate Hearts Program – Congo

Conclusion of Ango Compassionate Hearts Program – Congo

Conclusion of Ango Compassionate Hearts Program – Congo

This Congo training program was a huge success, and work for the people of Ango (and the refugees from the Central African Republic) is ongoing. Read here below about the harrowing updates from an original trip to this remote region, and the equally exciting follow-up journey.  To read about the initial program and learn more about this work, please CLICK HERE to go to the original program page.


Together with our partners at Friendly Water to whom we are extremely grateful, and with your assistance, we embarked on our most difficult bio-sand filter training undertaking – and, frankly, that says a lot! Ango is in Bas Uele Province in north-central Congo-DRC, near the border with the Central African Republic. It is a “village”, but, with its surrounding population, has about 100,000 people, all living on subsistence (or sub-subsistence) agriculture. The area is very isolated. Road travel is extremely difficult, and the area is very cut off, as the war in northeast Congo (some 900 miles away) to the east makes supply provision extraordinarily difficult. The provincial capital – Kisangani – is more than 500 miles away (14 hours under ideal conditions) by road.

There are several schools (some of them currently occupied by refugees). There once was a health clinic, now abandoned, and few or no medical supplies. There are very high rates of child mortality and morbidity, mostly from waterborne illnesses, as well as malaria. Typhoid is endemic. No doctors, no nurses. There is one well. Housing consists mostly of grass and thatch huts. There are churches (both Catholic and Protestant), and a mosque.

The ongoing war in the Central African Republic – ostensibly a religious one, including the Lord’s Resistance Army and Muslim insurgents, but really just a struggle for power – and a lack of stability – has sent thousands of refugees, both Christian and Muslim, into the province, in areas around Ango. There is no NGO or United Nations or government presence to deal with them. They are mostly welcomed by the local inhabitants, provided with space to build a hut, and food is shared as people are able. There is no reported violence in the area.

Neema Paininye, who was born in Ango but who lives in Tracy, California, returns to Ango at least twice a year. She visits with her family (her mother and sister are still there, both often sick with typhoid), and as the founder of Ango Compassionate Hearts (, brings medical supplies and other things of benefit to the community, and works with community leaders to try to better conditions there. On her most recent visit, she began working with refugees in a surrounding community as well. With difficulty, she also arranged for the construction of a well. She has been in touch with Friendly Water for more than two years and came to the August 2017 training, where she made many friends.

One of them is Holly Myers is Environmental Health Director of Yakima Health District, one of the largest health districts in Washington State. She met up with Friendly Water at the annual Washington Environmental Health Association (WEHA) Conference three years ago and had wanted to come to our training since. She brings a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of environmental health (though she hasn’t traveled abroad previously), and an encyclopedia of people who can help! She will do an environmental health survey of the entire community.

Joining them is Dr. Riziki Mupendelevu is a general practitioner from Goma who deals primarily with children. She has trained many groups in Congo-DRC, including one in Butembo where BioSand Filter sales support her health clinic treating war orphans and refugees. She has dealt with all waterborne illnesses endemic to Congo-DRC.

Here is an initial report from the field:

The team arrived in Uganda several days ago. Our Uganda Representative Richard Kyambadde provided them with training in soapmaking (there is no soap in Ango). Materials were gathered, with steel molds made in Kampala. There is a very large shipment of basic medical supplies. At the last minute, Holly was granted a Congo visa (a major prize!) Then eight hours on the road to Bunia, where, after three days, they will be picked up by a medical mission plane and flown to Ango. They have now made it over the border.

What we hoped to accomplish on this adventure (there will be others):

– Training two groups to build BioSand Filters. One group will be an already existing youth group. The other will be widows nominated by several churches. We have allocated enough funds so that each trainee will be able to get a Filter for their own family at cost (system to be worked out)

– Training one group in soapmaking.

– Conducting an environmental health assessment. Led by Holly, the team will try to assess where “the low-hanging fruit is”. Where would be the most cost-effective future interventions? Is it better food storage? Water? Mosquitos? Waste disposal? Toilets? Rainwater catchment? Where would an NGO (not necessarily us) get the most “bang for the buck”?

– Provide basic medical care. Obviously, the needs are overwhelming. Besides helping to lead BioSand training, Dr. Riziki will provide medical services to at least some people and train a group of women in the use of the supplies. This may be the start of a larger venture later.

– If there is time, the team may also visit one of the refugees settlements and provide what little advice on water and sanitation they can.

The residents of Ango (and the refugee community) are very highly motivated to improve conditions. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.



Our team – Holly Myers (Ellensburg, Washington), Neema Paininye (Tracy, California), and Dr. Riziki Mupendelevu (Goma, Congo-DRC) did indeed make it to Ango. It was touch and go for a while. With help from our Uganda Representative Richard Kyambadde (Mityana, Uganda), Holly got her visa at the last possible moment – presented by the Ambassador himself – at the Congolese Embassy in Kampala. (I have to tell you – we were quite shocked that she received it. Then they had training in Friendly Soapmaking in Mityana, bundled all the materials onto a truck, went by bus the entire way across Uganda, “fought” with border officials to make it through to Bunia (where there is a major cholera epidemic), met with a future BioSand Filter group, got on a medical mission flight (having to leave one of the steel molds behind to be delivered later because of too much weight), and…landed in Ango.

The training seems to have been a huge success, though so far, the messages that have made it back to us are spotty. Neema writes, “Holly is overwhelmed! We were at the school tonight, and she is still speechless. People are so motivated and so excited! To them, God has remembered them. That’s why He has sent Friendly Water for the World to them. Women are in tears, thanking God for Friendly Water. Local chiefs and the entire population are ready to work. It’s so touching and humbling to witness this.”

They are now on their way home. Dr. Riziki was given a live chicken, which she has taken on the plane (actually two planes). We are looking forward to seeing all the photos and videos (and the chicken!), many of which Holly will present to the Washington State Environmental Health Association Conference.

David Reports:

The Ango team not only made it there but made it HOME! (which to me is almost shocking – they had to go through Bunia, TWICE! center of major violence going on, plus a cholera epidemic. From all accounts, a HUGE success! Holly Myers is coming down here next week to present the results to the Washington State Environmental Health Association (together with a plug for Water Charity – there are quite a few former Peace Corps people who are active in the Association).

David Again:

By the way – the Ango project is taking really nicely! Neema is returning in two weeks – two more groups will be set up. And we’ve heard from another town about 100 kilometers away (which is nothing there) that the government wants to assist with BioSand work. Not as remote as Ango either. You did good! I am still pinching myself that we were able to pull it off at all – it is really, really, REALLY remote. I was at a meeting of the Congolese Integration Network near Seattle last Saturday – all Congolese refugees, 90% of women, and they were really shocked that we managed to get there. One had a grandmother who spoke Zande.

Trio on a MISSION to ANGO, Democratic Republic of Congo

Trained at our Anacortes workshop in 2017, Neema Paininye has a passion for the people of Ango, in far northern Congo-DRC, from which she originally hails. Now living in northern California, Neema returns to Ango at least twice a year. The trips are extremely difficult, usually involving a flight to Entebbe in Uganda, purchasing materials in Kampala, taking a bus to the Uganda-Congo border, a long taxi ride on the Congo side to the town of Bunia (which is currently overrun by refugees from the ongoing conflict), and a small, medical mission plane to Ango.

In the Ango area, there are no working hospitals, no international NGOs or charities, and despite refugees streaming down from the Central African Republic, no United Nations refugee camps or assistance of any kind. Essentially, there is no working government there either. Poverty and disease, as well as isolation, are overwhelming.

Neema writes:

I have just returned from my trip to Ango, Dakwa, and Banda. During this trip, I took four molds for our Biosand teams located in Dakwa and Banda.

The trip started from San Francisco on the 24th of July 2018. I arrived in Kampala on the 26th and spent a couple of days there gathering few starting materials for our new Biosand filters team in Dakwa and Banda. Before I left the US, I had already arranged with a welder in Bunia who started working on our four molds beforehand. I left Kampala for Paida by bus and the materials were loaded on a truck to Paida. Having to take everything with me from Paida to Bunia forced me to rent the whole taxi (size of a small four-seat Nissan) and we had it packed, full of starting materials to Bunia.

I reached Bunia on the 30th of July in the afternoon.  I was in Bunia for one whole week and my wilder was only able to complete three molds and the other one was not finished so I had to leave that one behind and proceed to Ango on the 7th of August as scheduled by the missionary’s small aircraft we usually charter to get to Ango. The team from Dakwa and Banda was already waiting for me in Ango to collect their materials upon arrival.  I must say that since our first Biosand filter training in Ango, words have been spread almost everywhere in the Bas-Uele region and all the surrounding villages about Biosand filters and its benefits. Other than Ango, all other villages are desperately waiting with hope that their village can be the next to benefit from this life-saving opportunity of clean water. All of these people are victims of cholera, typhoid, malaria, diarrhea, etc.

We boarded for Ango on Tuesday morning on the 7th of August 2018.

The people were happy to see me arrive in Ango with all the supplies that afternoon. Our local bio-sand filter team and I had opportunities to visit with the village people the following day and just hear testimonies after testimonies of changed lives and improved health. We saw healthier children and people after installing bio-sand filters in their homes or in their neighborhoods. This was all that I needed to hear, and I made a commitment to them that together we will continue to knock on doors of good people’s hearts to support this cause and continue to change people’s lives all across the region. Some testimonies brought tears to eyes, some brought laughter but in all this, the message was that of gratitude and happiness for changed lives.

The following day, as per the program from Ango Compassionate Hearts, I held a seminar with everyone in the CECA/20 sanctuary where we last held our Biosand filter training and more people showed up thinking that it was another Biosand filter training. It felt almost like I should have canceled the seminars and just do another Biosand filter training, but I didn’t have enough time and also, I was not prepared for full training this trip. People still came with a request for filters, especially widows who can’t afford the 40$/filter cost.

This same day I had to officially give door keys to our nine widows we selected to build small houses for because they were living in houses that were almost falling on them or some just didn’t have a house over their heads. From this meeting, I spent the rest of the day inaugurating those new houses with the widows, a new project initiated by Ango Compassionate Hearts Foundations.

I committed to praying for them and doing what I can to keep knocking on good people’s hearts for more support to this great project. After completing our evaluation of the progress of Biosand filters in Ango, the outcome is very encouraging, the young people in Ango are very involved, regardless of the challenges of transporting the required materials for the job, they are still able to produce filters on a weekly basis, more families are getting filters even though some are paying by installments due to the extreme poverty that’s crippling the entire village. These guys are fired up to beat every challenge that rises against their goal of changing people’s lives to that of healthy people. Reduce hospital bills and increase household income. The team in Ango is well organized and they work every day from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening.

The last two days of my time in Ango, I was to travel by motorcycle to Dakwa since it was a bit closer to Ango than Banda. I was to escort the team that was carrying their molds and starting materials but it was going to be a whole day trip and my body started signaling that I was already infected with either malaria or typhoid so I sent the team by itself and I arranged to leave Ango the following day in order to rush to the hospital in Bunia, where there are at least few clinics and hospitals even though not the best but better than falling sick in Ango with no hospital at all.

It’s worth mentioning that the lot of medications that we missed taking with us on our trip in April were taken this time and I officially delivered it to the local clinic in Ango. They are very grateful and as the territorial administrator puts it “Many lives will be saved because of this generous donation of medications THANK YOU FRIENDLY WATER & WATER CHARITY.”

After reaching Bunia I fell sick and “YES” it was a combination of malaria and typhoid. I was admitted for 8 days in Bunia, then there was no improvement, so I was rushed to Kampala where I also spent another 7 days in bed but this time I felt much better and with the advice of the doctors, I rested for another one week before boarding the plane for the US. I am glad that people are getting healthier and lives are being impacted in Ango as a result of our magic: Biosand filters. THANK YOU, WATER CHARITY & FRIENDLY WATERS.

For the sake of the people of Bas-Uele, who are desperate for a healthier lifestyle, I am willing to sacrifice my time and energy to go train more people about Biosand filters. Digba and Gwane, Lisala, and Isiro are really in need right now. They are on my heart and I hope they are on yours too. Every day people are still losing lives to typhoid and malaria, waterborne diseases. We can help save lives. 

Our trip started in San Francisco on the 7th of April evening. We were supposed to arrive in Kampala early morning on the 9th and meet with Dr. Riziki Kahindo later that afternoon. Dr. Riziki works with friendly waters and lives in Goma. She was to join us in Kampala and proceed with us to Ango. She left Goma one day earlier by bus for Kampala. Unfortunately, Turkish Airlines delayed our flight in San Francisco for over an hour. This delay messed up our entire plan in Kampala where we were supposed to participate in soap-making training and also do shopping for additional filter construction materials before heading to Ango. This delay had us miss our connecting flight in Istanbul and we spent one day waiting to connect with another flight to Kampala. The same day we reached Kampala we had to collect Holly’s visa at the Congolese embassy in KOLOLO, Kampala. Because we run out of time, we had no choice but to combine both our soap-making training and the shopping for our filter construction materials to be completed within two days before we caught the bus for Bunia Friday night. Thanks to Richard who was kind enough to get us most of the materials needed for the entire training.  Thanks, Kampala and Mityana. We are leaving for Bunia.

We embarked for Bunia via Paida on the night of the 13th and reached the border at Paida that morning of the 14th. As we were loading our luggage into the rental car, we got the news that we should check with the immigration agent at Mahagi (BORDER SIDE OF CONGO) before resuming our trip to Bunia. Apparently, lots of cases of canceled visas at the border for no apparent reason, (they want more money). After calling the immigration officer at the Congo/ Uganda border to double-check about Holly’s visa, sure enough, we were told Holly’s official visa granted at the Congolese embassy in Kampala was not valid enough to allow her to enter into the CONGO. After hours of negotiations, we were allowed to pay an additional 250$ with no receipt in order to get Holly into the Congo. Thanks to David who rescued us all along this trip and back. One thing we have learned is that the unexpected is always expected in the CONGO.

We finally made it to Bunia around 7 pm in the evening of the 14th. We had so much to carry for this training that we ended up renting three separate cars to get to Bunia. (700$ after negotiations).

We reached Bunia a day before our two other rented cars because the roads are practically awful.  The region is experiencing an unbelievable outpouring of rain since late March. After resting for one day in Bunia, our two other rented cars finally made it to Bunia. It took them longer to get to Bunia because these were minibusses and they were fully loaded so they traveled at a slower speed than we did. Even after reaching Bunia there were still few items and necessary materials that we felt were needed so we got them in Bunia.

The following morning, April 17th, 2018, we boarded our plane to head to Ango. The 12-passenger space caravan was full of materials and the three of us (Holly, I and Dr. Riziki) as we headed to Ango via Isiro. We stopped in Isiro to refill the tank and pick up one of our trainees who is actually very instrumental in coordinating things on the ground in Ango.

Day 1:

We landed in Ango around 12:30 pm. We were escorted to our guesthouse (PAM GUEST HOUSE) where we were warmly welcomed. We rested for about 30 minutes and headed to meet the local authorities as required by the law. About an hour later, we headed to our training location and started our training the same day and we constructed our first three bio-sand filters that same evening. This first experience took us the whole evening and we ended the training at around 7:30 pm. We struggled with the light issue because the whole village has no electricity and our solar lamp was not capable of lightening the entire training site.

Day 2:

This was literally our first day of training but because we needed some filters dried and installed before we leave Ango, we had to build our first filters on the same day we arrived in Ango.

We started our day with a general introduction to bio-sand filters and its different components, why use it and so on. Holly also presented on the hygienic part of our training. We had originally planned to train 35 people including then youth, widows, nurses and teachers, but because they need, excitement and also this is something that people have never seen or expected to see in Ango. This drew a larger number of trainees than we had planned.  Looking at the desperation on these people’s faces, we decided to train all 55 people who showed up for the training. We had two sessions per day:  one session in the morning: from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm and another session in the afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm.  Our routine was theories in the morning and practice in the afternoon.

Day 3:

We started our day at around 8:30 am as usual and did a brief review of our previous lesson and a few related activities. In the afternoon we got our prep and concrete ready for that evening. We wrapped our training that day at around 8:00 pm. It is important to note that all the 55 people who came for the training were fed three times a day for seven days and all the expenses were on us.

Day 4:

We started our morning session at 8:45 AM with reviews and new theories on sanitation, and few games related to that and this was just such an amazing experience. Our trainees were very engaged in learning, even when it was time to go on a break some of them just hanged around to discuss more on the material learned, making sure they mastered everything they learned that day. This is what has made it very easy for them to carry on with this project even after we left Ango. Every day they work tirelessly to spread the good news (saving lives through the bio-sand filter). We are very proud of this team.

 Activities were mostly prepping of the materials and the construction of more filters. At the recommendation of the local pastor, one of our trainees, we switched our concrete pouring and removal time to a daytime schedule so this day we wrapped up our training a little earlier than the previous days. This day the session ended around 6:45 pm. 

Day 5:

We started our session at around 8:30 AM. We started with some review of previous lessons and themes, then proceeded with sanitation issues and the many ways of spreading diseases. After this long and interesting learning experience, we took a lunch break from almost 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. In the afternoon we resumed with preps for our filter-making materials and we also removed the previously built filters.

Day 6:

Because this was a Sunday, we did not have any activity in the morning, so people could attend to their churches. We resumed with our preps and removing of filters to pour new ones in the evening, around 4:00 pm. We also were able to buy 6 cans of painting colors for our first filters that were being installed that Monday morning. We ended our training that day at 7:20 PM.

Day 7:

This was our last day of training and also the installation of the first filters that were ready. We started that morning with soap-making training for a couple of hours and then Holly and I had a quick run to one of the schools in the area to give her a glimpse of the dire situation of the school and environment in the area. Around 1:00 pm everyone was dismissed for a lunch break, and then we all returned for filter installation around 2:30 PM. We divided the team into two groups for installation purposes. One group installed at pastor Aron’s house, a very commonplace where lots of children, church people, and widows come for drinking water. Another group went to the hospital for a second installation. After that, we all returned to our training site for the Certificate ceremony.

Day 8:

The third filter was installed at the Catholic Church and also soap distribution to all our participants and few widows who happen to live not far from our training site.

After this training, my life has really changed. Being part of what is going to impact and change people’s lives for the better is something I will never forget. Great experience, people were celebrating as we left Ango for Bunia that Tuesday noon.  I am from Ango, I know and understand the challenges that my people face every day for lack of clean water. This is what will change these people’s lives will never be the same. No single life will be lost again because of waterborne illnesses.

Five Years ago, I lost my older sister, my best friend, she was 39 and she died of typhoid and malaria because there was no medication to help her after contracting waterborne viruses. I wish this never happened to her.

But I can work hard together with Friendly Water to the World to make sure that no life is lost to the waterborne disease again in this region. Thank you, David Albert, for working tirelessly to making sure that this project was a success. YES, IT WAS A BIG SUCCESS. NYOSO EKOKI.

Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Further Update – Democratic Republic of Congo

Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Further Update – Democratic Republic of Congo

Minova Water Filter & Training Project – Further Update – Democratic Republic of Congo

The project made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

This water filter construction training project for women in the village of Minova, Democratic Republic of Congo, has been completed under the direction of Herman Chirahambali​ and Friendly Water For The World Volunteer Eliphaz Bashilwango.  

It involved teaching a group of women to make bio-sand water filters, providing them with the raw materials, molds and tools, and getting them proficient in the technology so they could continue to manufacture these units… as well as teach others to make them.

This is a further update follow up report with more testimonials.  A full conclusion report has already been filed for this project.  To read that report, CLICK HERE.  To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE

In November 2012, after beating defeated by militias, troops of the Congolese National Army retreated from Goma in northeast Congo to the town of Minova, where they raped at least 141 women, and raped and pillaged the town. Many of the women either became pregnant or contracted HIV. Their husbands left them, and with them, all income including that required for their children to attend school. Two years later, a show trial was held. All 39 low-ranking soldiers tried were acquitted – it was generally agreed they were rapists, but which soldier raped which woman could not be identified.

In October 2016, Water Charity & Friendly Water provided training and equipment to the women of Minova in fabricating and distributing BioSand Filters. In less than three months, they built and installed 172 BioSand Filters, and netted almost $9,000, enough to feed themselves, for medical care, and to send their children to school.

Their business continued to expand, as the community now realized that they had a reliable source of clean water. They purchased more steel molds, making it possible for them to produce some nine Filters a day. When a cholera epidemic struck two neighboring refugee camps, with hundreds of sickened and several dozen deaths, the women provided them with BioSand Filters. Cholera was eliminated in three weeks. As a result, the local health administration decreed that every restaurant, café, and club in Minova should be equipped with a BioSand Filter. To date, the women of Minova have built and installed more than 1,100 BioSand Filters, providing clean water to more than 24,000 people, and the program has now spread to two more communities of survivors of war-time rape to produce BioSand Water Filters.

Since then, the partnership between WC & FW has resulted in dozens of training and produced many thousands of filters in areas where such devices can mean life or death.  The production of filters has also been an economic boon to the many groups and individuals trained.  While we cannot say exactly how many people are drinking clean water now because of this program and the many that followed, hundreds of thousands of people in the most impacted areas of Africa have benefitted.

The following are some more testimonies gathered from real people in Minova, more than one year after the training there:

“My name is CHRISTINE DABUYE.  I am the mother of four children, a daughter, and three boys. I do not know the father of my daughter because I was raped by members of the military in 2012. The BioSand project has helped me become psychologically stable, especially as I get to work with other women in a similar condition. In difficult living situations, I believed that the high frequency of recurrent cholera in my family was a curse. But since I have a BioSand Filter in my home, cholera, typhoid fever, and diarrhea no longer affect my family.”

“My name is DADE SHAIMBU. I am a teacher. I very much appreciate the work done by women. After the installation of BioSand Filters, there has been a real improvement in eliminating waterborne diseases and especially cholera in my village Buganga. Last year, cholera killed 14 kids in our village, including my daughter. As a result, I am now a great advocate of the BioSand Filters, and I am advising all my co-workers at the Minova school to get Filters for the better health of their families.”

“My name is COMBI BIROLI. I am a refugee living in the Buganga refugee camp. Since as of yet there are no BioSand Filters in the camp, I walk around six kilometers to get filtered water from a friend who lives in Minova and owns a Filter. I make the walk twice a week and get 20 liters of water at each visit. My family now only drinks filtered water to avoid getting sick. We use non-filtered water for other household needs. Life is very difficult, but I do not regret the distance I have to go to get filtered water, as it has already stopped all waterborne diseases in my family.”

“My name is NYIRONDESE. I live in Minova, and I help my friend Combi Biroli from the refugee camp get clean water from my Filter for free.  When visiting, he likes to shower with the filtered water, and he loves that his skin feels a lot healthier. His only wish is that the camp refugees would have access to the Filters as well, so he wouldn’t lose so many friends to waterborne diseases.” 

“My name is HERI. I was raped, and then abandoned, and became very depressed. I was hospitalized many times for waterborne illnesses, which only added to my distress. Now I own a BioSand Filter and it has changed my life for the better. No more amoebic dysentery, diarrhea, or typhoid fever that had always threatened me. Now I am healthy and happy. People have started calling met to get information on how they can get a Filter. I am now a salesperson for the Minova group, and I make enough money to support myself.” 

“My name is MAMA MAAJABU LUSENGE. I’m 22 years old. I was raped three years ago. After that, all my friends left me, and I found myself isolated and completely alone. The trauma caused me a severe psychotic break and depression. Working with other mothers in the BioSand filter workshop has helped me integrate myself into the community again. It also helped me reconstruct my ambition to pursue school again. Now I can afford to pay the school fee and I’m feeling more confident and independent. I will be starting school next year. To be able to go back to school, I created a saving system from BioSand Filter sales. I put small amounts of money in a box from each sale, which within a year will be enough to pay for the next school year.”

“My name is MAMA VERONIQUE. I am a mother of eight children, all at school age. I was raped by the Congolese National Army and abandoned by my husband after the rape.  I have no income, and my children are not able to attend school. Three of my eight children suffer from severe malnutrition, and all my children have at some point suffered from waterborne diseases, in particular, cholera and typhoid. After I was trained in the making of BioSand Filters and have a little income, my family’s health has improved dramatically. My kids are healthy, and we have a little food on the table. I’m also planning on sending them back to school next year.” 

“I am MAMA BAGAYA FURAHA. I am a farmer taking care of my nine children plus my sister’s three orphans. My sister and her husband were killed during the war. It is a great burden, which at most times I’m unable to bear. I wasn’t able to secure enough food for the family. The kids were sick all the time from drinking bad water. After I brought a BioSand Filter home, all the kids are healthy, and there are no cases of cholera or typhoid at our house.  The two kids I am able to send to school are now attending more regularly because they are healthy and happy. Because the weather in Minova is very hot. I came up with a strategy to sell cool clean water. I pack water in small plastic bags that I sell for 100 Congolese francs (10 cents) at the bus stop to the passengers. Now I make about $4 a day to buy food for my kids. I’m planning on getting a cooler powered with solar panels to make my own ice instead of buying it for 2$. This means that I will be making 6$ a day instead of $4. I will then be able to send all my kids to school instead of just two.”

“My name is NYIRANDEZE. I am the father of a family of four children. After I started using the BioSand filter I feel strong and healthy again. Before, I wasn’t able to work. I wasn’t able to provide for my family, which was very hard on my wife and kids. I remained in bed for a very long time. I suffered from typhoid and was taking meds for months with no positive results. I even started to think I was bewitched. After the installation of a BioSand Filter at my house and I started taking my meds with clean water, I started to feel better. It is a miracle.” 

“My name is AMINATHA. I am the mother of six children. I wasn’t able to get a BioSand Filter for my family. However, I was able to use the neighboring family’s filter. We only use the Filter for drinking water, and I’m seeing a big improvement in my family’s health.  I solicited the group of moms who build the Filters to make a Filter for me, for which I’m paying $2 a week. I already paid $30 and am almost done paying for the filter. The Filter has been a great investment because now my family is healthy, and we use clean water for all our household activities. not just drinking water. I was hospitalized several times for typhoid fever (at least eight times in a five-month interval). After I started drinking filtered water, I’m feeling great.” 


“I am JEAN-MARIE. We are a couple with HIV couple who, before the BioSand filter, were always expecting death at any moment. Today we live a normal life and are in good health. We are not afraid of opportunistic diseases anymore. With the medication we have and clean drinking water, we live a better life. One month after the use of the Filter coupled with vigorous hygiene, we feel better and our strength is restored. We have named the Filter “Miracle Filter”. 

“My name is MWENGESHIALI. I am 58 years old and a widow. Since I started drinking clean water, I feel healthier, stronger, and younger.  Even my skin has become smoother because I wash my skin with clean water without microbes attacking my skin.  Before, I had no energy or strength to do my daily shores my strength has returned, and I now work normally. I think if you drink clean water you will not age quickly.”

People With Albinism Communities Program – Tanzania

People With Albinism Communities Program – Tanzania

People With Albinism Communities Program – Tanzania

Working with People with Albinism in Tanzania

Training to help the residents of Albinism Communities solve their water & sanitation issues across 13 communities across Tanzania. 

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

This ambitious program to help the Albinism Communities of Tanzania is still ongoing, but the first few trainings have been accomplished successfully.  To read reports from the field, scroll down below.

Water Charity, in partnership with our friends at Friendly Water For The World, is conducting a series of training in a variety of water, hygiene, sanitation, and health areas which will impart the recipients with useable skills that will make their lives easier, and impact their health tremendously.  Training includes Rainwater Catchment, Water Tank Construction (using Interlocking Stabilized Soil Brick technology), Microflush Toilets, Permagarden Instruction, Soap Manufacture, and Water Filter Construction.  Upon completion of training, not only will they have finished products to use, but they will have the ability to teach others, and spread the techniques.

There are 13 communities of people with albinism in Tanzania, and this program aims to spread these technologies to all of them, as they are easily one of the most impacted and disenfranchised groups on the planet.  The program begins with training in 2 of the 13 communities, and builds upon the foundation of BioSand Filter Construction trainings that have already been completed successfully, and are already increasing the physical security and water security of the people, as they were in extreme danger when they had to leave the protection of their communities to seek for water.

Basic Information

People with albinism are found throughout Africa, especially in the eastern and central regions. A lack of skin pigmentation (melanin) – a genetic condition – results in people appearing white (actually pinkish), with skin burning easily in the equatorial sun, and often with severely impaired eyesight. The physical condition would itself be difficult enough to manage – long clothes, hats, body lotions, strong eyeglasses – but worse is the social situation in which people with albinism find themselves.

People with albinism in Tanzania live in constant fear. They are hunted, killed, and dismembered, especially by those in fishing and mining communities. Witchdoctors teach these communities to believe that possession of bones and body parts from people with albinism can lead to wealth. More than 100 people with albinism are killed and gruesomely mutilated in Tanzania each year. It should be noted that many are killed while walking to gather water for their households. There is also a myth that sex (i.e. rape) with a woman, boy, or girl with albinism is a cure for HIV – hence, many of those raped are infected with the disease.

Since they have no way of protecting them in their own communities, the Tanzania government has chosen to collect people with albinism in camps, where they receive very minimal aid from other community-based or non-governmental organizations.

Shinyanga is one of five regions in the Lake Zone of northern Tanzania. There are some 2,700 people living with albinism in the area; the family count is larger, because many families with children with albinism may not be people with albinism themselves. Conditions in the camp are brutal. Unemployment is virtually 100%. People are constantly sick, there is massive water scarcity, and it was not unheard of for people to walk 15 kilometers roundtrip to find water. There have been attacks on people with albinism when going for water, or simply using the bushes to relieve themselves. There are no toilets. Typhoid and bacterial dysentery are common and almost universal. Life expectancy is short.
The Project

The program we have developed contains projects implemented in four stages. The first, now completed, provided training in the manufacture, distribution, installation, and maintenance of BioSand Filters. This made it possible for two groups of people to set up small enterprises to sell the Filters while providing clean water for their own families and community. More than 500 have already been sold! This is the first effort to help reintegrate people with albinism into the larger community, as they have become the only available source of clean water technologies. Profits are now being used to spin off other small enterprises, such as chicken and goat raising or sewing projects. And the improvement in health has been extraordinary!

The second step will be to train people with albinism to build rainwater catchment systems/Ferro-cement tanks. First, we will train and equip two teams to fabricate interlocking bricks, which will be used for the foundations of the catchments (and for the MicroFlush toilets – see below.) The bricks can also be sold into the community to assist with housing needs. Then we will train two teams of people with albinism to build the catchment systems. The newly available water will substantially reduce the ‘long walk to water’ for many people with albinism and hence eliminate they’re being hunted in the process, while at the same providing employment and a path to self-sufficiency. Water can also be sold, increasing economic opportunity.

The third stage will be teaching people with albinism to build MicroFlush toilets. MicroFlush toilets are simple, very inexpensive, composting toilets, that make use of worms, and require an only one-quarter cup of water peruse. They do not have to be mucked out for two-and-a-half years and are very simple to fabricate. Two more businesses will be created.

Teams in Shinyanga and Geita will also be trained to manufacture and market Friendly Soap – a simple liquid soap that does not require palm oil (and hence the destruction of palm trees in the process).

Finally, Water Charity trainers will teach the communities advanced, yet simple to implement, agricultural methodologies known as Permagarden Technique.  Water used for growing food accounts for the majority of any community’s water usage.  Therefore, teaching people to get more food for less water, while also replenishing their aquifers and keeping the valuable topsoil from being washed away makes a huge difference.  It simultaneously addresses food & water scarcity and improves the economic situation of the farmers in the process.  This effort has been forwarded by a concerted training effort to train the people with albinism directly, as well as a group of HIV-positive volunteers who can take this training to the various communities, whereas the albinism community members themselves are unable to travel in this way.  See this effort unfolding here:

The program also includes Microfinance and Business Training aspects which will be handled by our partners.

The overall result will be an integrated program for people with albinismthe very first of its kind, with significant enhancements in both water availability and water quality, and improvements in community sanitation and hygiene. It will remove some of the risks faced by people with albinism by people who are hunting them. It will also provide for job creation and self-sufficiency, and the opportunity for people with albinism to work with members of other communities, a significant step towards the removal of stereotypes. The health of children will be improved, enabling them to attend school more regularly, as many of them will no longer be taken out of school to walk for water.

Word of this program has spread. Local government officials and leaders of people with albinism communities all over the country are contacting our local affiliate. In addition, the Office of the President of Tanzania has requested that all local governments cooperate and collaborate with our efforts to ensure clean water for people with albinism throughout the country.

Become part of the campaign.  This program has been paid for in its entirety by Water Charity out of pocket, so by adopting parts of it and helping us recoup the funds we have expended, you allow us to expand this work and spread this training to other communities.

Updates From The  People With Albinism Communities Program – Tanzania

Following this, you will find a continuing stream of updates from this very important program.  The Albinism Communities of Tanzania are some of the most impacted anywhere, and the work we are engaged in there is far-reaching.  There are many further trainings and assistance projects that are to be done until we have managed to help all 13 of these communities. As new updates from the field come in, we will post them here.

To know more about this project, CLICK HERE, or scroll back to the top of this page.

David Reports:

Jambo Rafiki ,I sent many pictures so that you may choose the most one for you to use, the ceremony was so fun, our project was leading the first number than all that presented there, and the way it helps the community to get safe and clean water, and also earning money, another is that there are no lies for what we doing so I am sending this greeting to FW, CLAO For their wishes to work with people of Shinyanga, third the project seems to put people together especially people with Albinism who perished away by stereotype and segregated from the community, other thanks to FW from the government is how you helps People with Albinism to work since they were not thought to work for their own risk. May you please receive all these thanks from The National Leader of UHURU TORCH EXHIBITION. And the other leader from the local government.

Challenges, people with Albinism faced many challenges such as market to sell filter this is due to lack of awareness from the community due to primitive and illiteracy of people, another challenge is how to transport the filter from one place to the customers, this is seemed big problem to them due to geographical of the area and fearness due to local beliefs, and so on. The way to overcome the problem still challenges. This is what happened to Shinyanga.

It’s amazing! Following the training of the two people with albinism groups in interlocking brick making, the training in rainwater catchments has gone fabulously!

In Bukombe, Geita, where all these tank photos are from, local government officials visited every day, and also provided police protection for the people with albinism. They were so pleased with the work, that they provided a land grant to CLAO and the people with albinism as a center for them to organize and continue their work.

As noted below, other than our folks (CLAO and the Tanzania Albinism Society), no NGOs come to Geita. We are what they’ve got!

“Ofsini Kwa mkuu wa wilaya ya Bukombe inapendeza. “Thank you for visiting us at bukombe district in Geita, we are inspired by your coming because geographically bukombe is a district which is far away from the city since many stakeholders cannot come because of the remoteness of our district, the coming of CLAO with Friendly water projects it is grace for us. Thank you for your coming, I assure you security and any assistance you will need.” words of Hon. Said Nkomba the District commissioner of Bukomba when he invited us to his office today.

Updates From The People With Albinism Communities Program – Shinyanga Tanzania

Our bio-sand training has been extremely successful in Eastern Africa, with many people trained and now distributing filters.

Kenedy Reports:

You folks funded the catchment training in Uzima, for the people with HIV. Those trained turned around and have now completed training people with Albinism, in Shinyanga and Geita, which you also funded.


A thank you note/update:

Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS) has great pleasure and thanks to informing you that the Bio Sand water filters, Interlocking bricks, rainwater catchment tanks, and micro flush toilet projects planted the tremendous attitudinal changes to the marginalized people with albinism in our community.TAS appreciates CLAO, FRIENDLY WATER, and WATER CHARITY for your special support to people with albinism. Also, we give great thanks to Kenedy and Obed for their great efforts in building the new inclusive society.

People with albinism in Tanzania live life in great tension, particularly in the lake and western zone of the country – especially in Tabora, Shinyanga, Simiyu, Geita, Mwanza, Kigoma, Kagera and Mara region. These are the regions where there is the largest number of people with albinism. The community believes that this group of people has miracles and supernatural power which lead to someone to live in the prosperous life by using people with albinism body parts like hair, tongue, skin in the witchcraft ways. This situation led to the killings of people with albinism where about 76 people with albinism were killed from 2006 to 2016. Many children with albinism were taken and still been taken to temporary centers for security. Even elders with albinism also some of them denied by their relatives hence stay in these temporary centers. Many children with albinism miss education through school dropout, fear of been kidnapped and family separation.

In Geita and Shinyanga, the four projects brought many achievements in 2018 including the use of clean and safe water, reduction of epidemic diseases like diarrhea due to poor (or lack of) toilets in the families, and generation of income through selling filters that becomes the job opportunities to us as well as interlocking bricks, health improvement where the water illness clinic attendant reduced to 96%, family security increase where family members do not walk a long distance for water due to the use of rainwater catchment tanks.

Also, from these projects, local government leaders are supporting people with albinism by funding the projects for sustainability. In Shinyanga, the government-funded six hundred thousand Tanzania Shillings (3000 US Dollars) for the Biosand water filters. Also, they ordered 200 filters for all primary schools in the academic year of 2019, and the groups already fabricated the filters which will be bought by the district government for the pupils in schools in January 2019.  In Geita, people with albinism have been given their office and the place for all the projects from FRIENDLY WATER and WATER CHARITY. The police leaders also do ensure full security for people with albinism in their activities.

Therefore, the dream for an inclusive society was realized within the year of 2018. The situation of most children with albinism was critical due to the unique factors of their community’s socio-economic, cultural, traditional and developmental circumstances, natural disasters, armed conflicts, exploitation and hunger, and on account of the child’s physical and mental immaturity he/she needs special safeguards and care. From this point of view, many people with albinism remain uneducated, rejected, isolated and dependent.  We hope that this will continue to improve due to the work you are doing.


It is my hope that CLAO/FRIENDLY WATER/WATER CHARITY will be our major stakeholders in building the community to be the cool, safe and peaceful place for the people with albinism to live through entrepreneurship supports. And so doing, I do recommend that in 2019, CLAO/FWFW/WC should expand the project areas to the other parts of the country where there is a camp with people with albinism in Tanzania than to the two districts from Shinyanga and Geita because it will create a good environment for them to the society, security, reduce water illness, reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS  as well as job creation opportunity, and the years 2019 is the year towards the general election of 2020 in Tanzania where some people believe on the use of witchcraft.

9 Training Programs for the Serengeti – Tanzania

9 Training Programs for the Serengeti – Tanzania

9 Training Programs for the Serengeti – 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.

Nine BioSand Filter Training Programs for the Serengeti, Tanzania

Boy with bucket mid-pondLocation: Serengeti, Tanzania

Problem Addressed:
The combination of national development and global climate change has not been kind to the people of the Serengeti in northern Tanzania. The remaining forests, which helped hold the water to the soil, have virtually all been cut down, and turned into charcoal which is then shipped off to the cities. The forests are rapidly being replaced by water-hungry tobacco agriculture, intensively farmed, with massive use of only semi-regulated pesticides.
Meanwhile the people of the Serengeti suffer. There is no clean water, with the only water there coming from shallow ponds or from behind agricultural dams. Some 97% of the population now earns less than $1 a day. Changes in climate also seem to have altered disease patterns, with cholera and typhoid now becoming much more prevalent, in addition to endemic amoebic and bacterial dysentery. Tsetse flies have returned with a vengeance.

The government does not have the funds to provide clean water to all the villages. The aim of these 9 training projects is to improve health and alleviate suffering due to waterborne illnesses by providing clean, safe drinking water to families especially vulnerable children across the Serengeti region of Tanzania.

Project Description:
The primary method of achieving the goal of providing clean water is to train villagers on proper sanitation and hygiene and on the construction of BioSand water filters.  9 trainings are scheduled for 8 groups.

OGathering water in Tanzaniaur services include providing materials to construct the filters, train people on the construction of the filters, distribute the filters to the target population, train villagers on sanitation, and the proper use and maintenance of the filters.  Systems are placed to monitor and evaluate the usage and effectiveness of the filters​.  And, in addition, the people are also taught business skills which will help them establish income and job generating economies in the sale of filters, clean water, and the training of others in this technology.

The cost to provide a filter to a family is a small investment in comparison to cost of illness in terms of health and economic issues. The program saves children’s lives through providing a basic necessity of life.

Water Charity’s partner in many training projects in the region, Friendly Water for the World, has been partnering with an extraordinary non-governmental organization in the Musoma/Mara Region of Tanzania – Hope Revival Children’s Organization (HRCO), under the leadership of Stephen Marwe – that has been doing extensive social work with children (especially orphans), widows, people with HIV, and unemployed youth. They have pioneered several highly successful BioSand Filter/community sanitation and hygiene programs in the region, and now want to extend the work throughout the Serengeti, with assistance from the local government, and community-based organizations that they have already helped establish.

The main goal of training the groups is to change peoples’ lives by improving  the standard of health through the use of BioSand water filters since the water sources around the area are not that safe. The community will be educated on the importance of using BioSand water filter in avoiding waterborne infection and save money over water boiling, which also spares forest destruction, and profiting from selling filters.

The plan is to train and equip eight groups in the Serengeti to cover a large geographical area in a short period of time, and also to set up a support network among them, to prevent groups from feeling isolated, and so they can aid each other in promotion of the importance of clean water and sanitation.
Four of the groups who are in relatively close proximity to each other will be trained together, with significant support from local authorities. Woman collecting waterOf the four groups to be trained together, two will be made up of people with HIV, one a women’s group, and one a group of unemployed youth.
The other four groups, who live in more outlying areas, will be trained individually. In total, some 180 participants will receive training, and workshops will be set up in eight locations.

General activities will be education, fabrication of filters, selling, installation and monitoring by follow up households to ensure proper usage of filters.

  1. Mobilization of young mothers, school dropout, widows and youths from all wards
  2. Training in demonstrating bio-sand filtration systems, health and hygiene
  3. Small business seeding and
  4. Providing documents regarding construction of bio sand filtration systems
  5. Capacity building on entrepreneurship.
  6. Training preparation manual
  7. Establishment of technology and entrepreneurial library for all vulnerable women, orphans and youth
The Bonchugu Group is one among the groups formed by HRCO in Serengeti with the mission and objectives of fighting overwhelming poverty through traditional dance, performing for the tourists.  They also do cultivation for income.  They have a campaign to eliminate childhood marriage and Female Genital Mutilations (FGM) as well.

After sharing the idea of BioSand Filter technology with the group, they were very touched by it, and are enthusiastic for the training.  They understood immediately how this would improve their lives.
Project partners:  Local authorities from Sedeko Ward in Serengeti District.​   Project location: Sedeko Ward Serengeti District, Tanzania

This group advocates for women and children rights in Gatasamu Ward in Serengeti working with traditional cultures existing in the area. The group has a big interest of having the bio sand water filter to assist the local community using clean and safe water, making a sustainable project to make profit out of it by selling clean water and filters.

Project partners: Local authorities from Mugumu Ward in Serengeti District.​   Project location: Itununu Ward – Serengeti District, Tanzania


​Another group that has lined up to receive the training.  More than half of those served by the program are children. Deaths due to water borne illness are particularly high in children under 5 years of age. Illness i3 kids gathering watern older children and adults results in their inability to work, inability to attend school, and extra costs for medication. The Project is an important program for these villages because it will eliminate water borne illness and provide a most important resource, clean water!
Project partners: Local authorities from Mugumu Ward in Serengeti District.​    Project location: Mugumu Ward – Serengeti District, Tanzania

This group in an outlying area, requests our service to improve the ability of families to care for children and achieve goals of self-sufficiency. This will increase the knowledge of the trained members and the community in general on hygiene and sanitation.  Knowledge on treatment of water before drinking will help to reduce water related diseases.  Knowledge of job creation and self-employment these participants gain will reduce burden to the family members and government improve their living standard.
Project partners: Local authorities from Mugumu Ward in Serengeti District.​    Project location: Mwibagi Ward – Serengeti District​, Tanzania

This training will include 4 groups, of which two will be from People Living with HIV, one other group will be formed by widows, and another one will be formed by youths who are school dropouts and young mothers.

After the training, each group is expected to initiate a project (bio sand water filter fabrication), which will include the selling of filters in order to generate income.  This will have the effect of saving lives as the project (and its ripple effects) will lead to the reduction of water related diseases, and improve health. Members will become ambassadors of the WASH, and change makers, as they educate their communities about water issues.
Project partners: Local authorities from Mugumu Ward in Serengeti District​     Project location: Serengeti District, Mara region, Tanzania

Project Impact:
Almost immediately the families of the 180 participants will have access to clean water. Each group will likely set up microfinance schemes so that people in their subdistricts will be able to afford clean drinking water, especially as medical and pharmaceutical expenses currently being borne will be substantially reduced. Child absence from school will significantly decrease, productivity will be enhanced. And there will be significant increases in employment.
Immediate Beneficiaries:
– 180 individuals trained
– 900 members of their families
Community Beneficiaries (in first two years):
– Nine groups build and distribute 500 BioSand Filters each in first two years = 4,500 Filters
– Each Filter serves on average 10 people – 45,000 people served
– 60 Filters go schools and orphanages – 4,200 children servedWater source, Serengeti, Tanzania
Future Beneficiaries:
– Programs expand and require more than two molds each
– Auxilary businesses start up – chicken and goat raising; soapmaking
– Programs in rainwater catchment initiated
– Waterborne illnesses curtailed
– Health improved
– Child morbidity and mortality reduced
– Medical/pharmaceutical expenses curtailed
– School attendance increases
– Significant increases in employment
– Community productivity enhanced
Person Directing:
Stephen Marwa, director of HRCO, will direct the programs, with three staff under his direct supervision. Friendly Water’s Kenya and All-Africa Representative Eric Lung’aho Lijodi, will act as advisor to the program.
One person from each group will be trained as a monitor, able to go into homes and check on installation and proper use. There will be a report due 90 days after each workshop is established, with changes made to each group’s business plan as appropriate. Funds have been allocated for follow up by HRCO staff.

The follow up will be done on monthly bases as well as recording the productions, sales and challenges faced by the project. The information gathered will be submitted to the country representative to the Management Committee and later be used to inform relevant stakeholders and project supporter’s partners on how the project is meeting its intended objectives as well as to provide a road map for improvements. The final Evaluation will be conducted to evaluate project impact and provide information of poverty reduction, education, access to information, and target group response and project sustainability for future scale up.

As per the monitoring and follow up, the sale of the filters will be accumulated and enable future projects.  This “added advantage” to the project is enhanced because the groups will be trained in entrepreneurship skills that will enable them to be quite a bit more self-reliant.  It also means that there will be a sustained and keen interest in maintaining the project.

HRCO dreams of transforming the health of the entire region. Their proposal is audacious, but based on our past experience, it is well within our joint capabilities to accomplish.

This program of 9 training projects is the latest in a long string of successful programs and projects that WC and FW have undertaken together.  It falls under our Training & Support Initiative.  Other FW collaborations can be viewed by clicking here.

Our budget for this project is well under $30,000.  Please contribute to this tremendous effort using the Donate button below.

Tarime people with HIV making filters