Aqua Clara International will establish a training center for WASH related training activities & oversight; train 10 new filter producing social businesses (supplying materials sufficient for the construction and installation of their first 500 filters)
ACI first trained in the Kisii region of Kenya in June 2009 at the request of another organization established in the area (SCOPE).
The most common water sources in the area are springs (both protected and unprotected), shallow wells, rivers and some rain water harvesting mainly at schools. Water tests on a sample of these sources have shown high levels of contamination. The area is fairly densely populated with most people living on small plots. Boiling was the main water treatment method for those who treated their drinking water, but as firewood and charcoal are scarce, this was an expensive option. This information was gathered through ACI household surveys, focus groups and interviews.
ACI conducted a number of training sessions at schools in the area and trained parent/teacher water teams in the construction, use, maintenance and promotion of the ACI water filter. ACI facilitated the order of the filter materials that were available for purchase by the groups that were interested in continuing to produce the filters. Following these trainings, over 550 ACI water filters were constructed and sold (a small profit accrued to the constructing group) to the surrounding communities. Currently there are 16 ACI water filter producing groups or social businesses in this region.
ACI has also trained 10 Community Health Workers whose job it is to train the new and existing filter users in associated hygiene, safe water storage and good health practices. The Community Health Workers also carry out periodic household surveys and assist with water tests.
The demand and interest has remained high and there have been many requests for training by other surrounding communities. It is ACI's goal to empower local experts to answer this demand while maintaining high standards of training and keeping transport costs low. ACI and the local communities also recognize the need for additional WASH training and applicable technology to further improve peoples' health and general well-being. Household surveys and focus groups have identified specific needs e.g. improved sanitation facilities and rainwater harvesting capability.
Part of answering this demand is to have a centralized training center - what ACI is calling a 'Hope Center' - to be a demonstration site, training facility and also provide office space for local oversight staff. The proposed training center is situated in the heart of the community and was donated by community members and the local administration demonstrating both local need and local support for the project. Having a purpose specific training center will transform ACI's work in this area as we will have a location for continual training, oversight and testing facilities.
LocationRigoma Market, Kisii, Kenya
Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
Secondary Focus: Capacity Building
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 2,500
This number is based on 10 filter producing groups each building a minimum of 50 filters for an average family of 5 people. This number will certainly grow as the social businesses operate on a rolling loan basis whereby sale of the filters provides capital sufficient for the next order of materials.
School Children Getting Water: 1,200
Each filter producing social business will be located at a school to serve the surrounding community. The school provides secure storage for the construction materials and part of their reward is that for every 40 filters sold to their community, the school will get one free filter from ACI. This number is calculated on an estimated class size of 30 students.
People Getting Sanitation: 20
The initial unit will be demonstrated at the newly launched training center and it is expected that around 20 people per week will use the latrine.
People Getting Other Benefits: 2,568
Employment will continue for the ACI local regional coordinator (part-time) in the area and we plan to hire one additional full time employee to help fully coordinate continual training, monitoring and testing.
Each filter constructer runs their own social business, so with the 10 additional people trained, this will bring the number to 26.
Related health and hygiene training is offered to all existing and new filter users (2,500+) by the 10 ACI Community Health Workers.
Renovation of the building donated by the community to ACI for the training center will also provide temporary employment for around 20 local people including electricians, and general building personnel.
Start Date: 2010-10-01
Completion Date: 2011-10-01
ACI's main experience in the WASH sector lies in training local people in the construction, use, maintenance and promotion of the ACI bio-sand water filter. The ACI approach is that the program should be as locally managed as possible and driven by local demand. All of the materials for the filters are sourced locally and the suppliers are identified by ACI to help maintain quality control while keeping costs low. There is no ongoing cost to ACI beyond the initial training and supply of materials. The sale of the filters enables total cost recovery and generates the capital for the next order.
As word has spread about the ACI program in the Kisii region, demand for filters has grown reflecting the applicability of the technology. One of the most significant reported benefits of using the ACI water filter has been the money and time saved from buying firewood for boiling. Surveys have shown that filter users like the taste and clarity of the filtered water. People have also reported that they have experienced a reduction in water borne illness in their households.
It is well known that the simple bio-sand filter maintenance procedure can be one of the barriers to long term use. Part of the purchase agreement for the bio-sand filter is that the end user is trained to identify when the maintenance is required. The filter constructer is then obliged to return to carry out the first maintenance cycle and also train the end user on how to do it themselves in the future. ACI's approach is based upon leaving local experts who will also remain available to do any simple repairs if necessary. These local people would attend regular training sessions at the proposed Hope Center.
One of the benefits of the ACI model is that there are many small decentralized social businesses producing filters vs one centralized manufacturing site. This really increases ownership and accountability of the program within the communities while keeping the cost of the filters down. However, this also brings challenges in terms of oversight and quality control. ACI periodically carries out household surveys and water tests on a random sample of households that have purchased filters. Part of the accountability is that if problems are identified, there is follow up and filters have been re-constructed and repaired in the past. ACI proposes to further increase its tracking and monitoring procedures through the purchase of an additional mobile testing lab.
ACI recognizes that in order to optimize the effectiveness of our water program, we need to add other WASH related training and technology. ACI will always strive to do this within the parameters of our current approach, namely: locally trained experts, locally sourced materials and the creation of sustainable social businesses. It is planned that ACI will partner with Prof. Ted Loudon of Michigan State University in October 2010 to pilot a sanitation project which will focus on a urine diversion composting pit latrine. The Hope Center will also be a demonstration site for roof top rain water catchment systems; drip irrigation systems and various other beneficial technology. All of these projects will be carried out in partnership with other experienced implementers and all with the goal of empowering the local communities with the skills and materials to improve their health and well being.
With full funding, the project would take place in 3 phases. Phase 1: Renovation of the Hope Center. Phase 2: Train & launch 10 new filter businesses. Phase 3: Oversight and testing.
The community and schools in the surrounding areas are very supportive of ACI. The majority of the people who have purchased filters have never met the American ACI staff and the program is very locally driven. Each filter producer is a local person who essentially runs their own small social enterprise in their community. They use their own networks to promote the sale of filters and have a strong ownership of their business as their profit depends on them doing a good and professional job.
The local community leaders and farmers co-op leased the training center building and grounds to ACI free for 10 years showing a strong level of support for the project.
The ACI program in this area is also closely connected to schools through its partnership with SCOPE (School Communities Offering Projects that Empower). Up until the acquisition of the Hope Center, schools have hosted ACI training sessions and have been instrumental in disseminating information about the program to their communities.
The government through the local administration in the area have granted the lease of the training facility to ACI for 10 years free of charge. ACI has had strong support from local chiefs, town councilors and village elders. The Minister for Education has also highly commended the program.
The local water and sanitation board is undertaking a number of projects in the area such as constructing public latrines and supplying rain water storage tanks to schools.
ACI has also provided a loan to a local youth group who have constructed a large greenhouse near the Hope Center. The greenhouse will serve as a demonstration site for drip irrigation and uses Kick Start’s ‘Money Maker’ pump. ACI also actively promotes high yield gardening practices and will have a demonstration high yield garden at the Hope Center. ACI believes that these activities strengthen the capacity of the community.
ACI intentionally works with and listens to the women in the communities in which we work as they bear the main burden of caring for the household water needs. Women are quite often the filter constructers and it is wonderful to see them embrace their new role in empowering other women. Women also immediately see the benefits in terms of time and money saved by using the ACI water filter and are generally the most committed to the success of the program.
The filters once properly installed, used and maintained have a life span of up to 10 years with no recurring costs. The ACI program is intentionally designed to be sustainable, replicable and scalable. There is no ongoing cost to ACI beyond oversight and testing. These costs are most intense during the scaling of the program in a region, after which time local filter constructers and users have garnered sufficient experience to carry the program forward independently.
Maintenance Cost: $0
Prior art before metrics
Co Funding Amount: $0
ACI has a dedicated funder that will match donations from foundations and corporations. These funds will more than cover the costs of ACI staff time on the ground in Kenya.
Community Contribution Amount: $30,061
Community members pay the full material cost of the water filters as well as a small installation fee to the filter producer (for 500 filters, this works out at $8,461). The community have also contributed the land and future Hope Center free of charge (approx. value $20,000). ACI has had a number of Kenyan interns from various universities who assist in water testing and oversight ($600 approx.). There is also significant volunteer time that is contributed part time staff and families who are purchasing the filter. ($1,200 approx.).