Providing an efficient way to filter water can transform communities who are in urgent need of clean water to drink.
Hurricane Stan hit Guatemala in 2005, making 100,000 people homeless and leaving infrastructure badly damaged. Although there was plenty of surface water available, it was not safe to drink. Mudslides had blocked roads and made distribution of bottled water almost impossible, especially to isolated communities. British Berkefeld® ceramic filters were distributed, providing people with the ability to filter their own drinking water.
The Aquapol drinking water project introduced British Berkefeld® water filters to households in Zimbabwe and rural Southern Africa in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the filters at preventing diarrhoeal disease.
The filter introduction resulted in an 80% reduction in dysentery and watery diarrhoea and general diarrhoea levels were significantly reduced. Social benefits were immediate and profound, leading to improvement in children’s school attendance and adults present at work.
African schools where the British Berkefeld® Cleanwater kits were installed saw an immediate drop in absenteeism from more than 45% to less than 5%.The project concluded that the filters are an effective point-of-use intervention for reducing E. coli and diarrhoea.
The flagship Utz Ja’ Project in Guatemala delivered a sustainable model for the provision of low-cost water filter systems to rural communities. High quality British Berkefeld® ceramic filters were integrated into locally manufactured food-grade plastic containers. Not only was the water quality guaranteed at low cost but local jobs were created for the manufacture, assembly and distribution of Utz Ja’ systems.
The LifeWater project provided an orphanage school in Entebbe, Uganda, with British Berkefeld® ceramic filters in a static filtration system. The system is now used to filter the water from a large water storage tank used to harvest rainwater from one of the roofs.
In Uganda, dirty contaminated water had to be boiled to ensure it was safe to drink. Fuel shortages prevented many communities from being able to do this and sickness was common. The LifeWater project promoted the filtration of water through British Berkefeld® Cleanwater kits to ensure that drinking water was clean and healthy.
The British Berkefeld® household filter kit has passed a microbiological contamination water test. The test, conducted in Korogocho, Kenya, under the supervision of Professor Metcalf from the California State University, used water from various major water sources including rivers, ponds and unprotected springs and wells. Community Health Workers, under the supervision of UN-Habitat, instructed households how to install and use the filter kit.
British Berkefeld® supports the work of Red R UK, a London based agency providing training to current and future field based operatives for aid agencies. The household filter kit is included in the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Essentials in Emergencies training to ensure that aid workers acquire skill and know-how in water filtration that can then be applied in real-life disaster response situations.
Somos Agua A.C. together with H2oMex, introduced British Berkefeld® gravity fed water filtration systems, using ceramic filter candles, into various rural communities.
In one instance, 4100 systems were distributed in the state of Oaxaca, which resulted in a significant reduction in waterborne diseases and had a positive impact on the health of those families.
The aim now is to introduce a nationwide fundraising programme to ensure the distribution project continues and expands.