In Kenya, preventable water-borne diseases like diarrhea are the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Over one million Kenyan families lack access to clean water. They rely on boiling water to make it safe, which in addition to being time-consuming, burns valuable charcoal/fuel wood that would otherwise be used for cooking.
In 2008 with the support of the Woodinville Rotary Club/Village Volunteers, Kenya Ceramic Project (KCP) was launched. The project was launched in Kiminini near Kitale, Kenya, from locally sourced clay and sawdust. During firing in a kiln the sawdust burns away leaving behind microscopic holes. The correct porosity is important. The pots are then soaked in a solution with colloidal silver which is a bactericide. When the pots are filled with water, the water seeps through the holes while physical contaminants get trapped. At the same time, the colloidal silver removes 99.9 percent of biological contaminants.
A social enterprise breaks the cycle of relying on aid. The idea of behavior change is that if you pay for it, you’ll care for it. We believe that we can do the maximum amount of good as a profitable business for locals.
Nearly 96,000 people currently use the pots, which sell for $20 through retailers. KCP partners with NGOs, community groups such as women groups to help members pay installments so that cost is not a limiting factor in reaching communities in immediate need. KCP does make an exception in the cases of schools, and prisons, where the KCP distributes filters for free and paid for by donations. With the support of UNICEF, KCP has distributed filters in refugee camps in Southern Sudan and Somalia.
At the prison, there were 1,500 people crammed into close quarters without any clean drinking water. They drank from a well. Because it’s a closed space, we have seen the immediate effects. We saw people lining up to get water, and people came up to us to thank us for the project. Currently, 500 to 1,000 pots leave the factory every month. KCP plans to scale up to consistently produce the 1,000 filters and thus reaching out to more people. The number of families seeking medical attention on water related has significantly gone down because of the use of water filters, according to the Ministry of Health.
Joshua Machinga, the CEO of KCP was recently selected as an incubator of the Netfund GIA Award because of the potential the government sees in the water filters.
We are starting a campaign to provide water filters to the families with children with sickle cell anemia. Each donation of $20 will sponsor a filter for a family caring for extremely vulnerable children.
Donate to the Ceramic Water Filter Project