Q&A: Aqua Clara International

Discussion Forum

PWX members can use this space to discuss elements of the Organization. PWX members can post questions or comments and they will be seen by everybody. Any PWX member can respond to the questions and comments, not just the submitter.

About Aqua Clara: What is SCOPE?

Posted about 9 years ago

The issue of hygiene education is a relevant one. In our experience it takes several years to do a good job and one cannot rely on local who are village residents leading such an education program alone. Therefore for each community a fairly frequent and highly sustained program of visits and promotion is required. The personnel for such training and education has to be within reasonable distance of the communities. Do Aqua Clara and SCOPE have such personnel? In view of the geographic scope of their goal can they give us an idea of the personnel structure of their cooperative hygiene endeavour? What is the budget they attribute to this activity?

Thank you,
Gilles Corcos, APLV

About Aqua Clara: What is SCOPE?

Posted about 9 years ago

SCOPE is a new organization founded to empower school communities to to address critical needs. Our point of entry to a community is the school where we start by creating ibraries and work with community leadership teams on issues they identify. We have worked primarily in the Kisii area and are beginning operations in Meru, Suba area and other locations. our structure includes a region coordinator, area coordinators, and recently we incorporated a community appointed SCOPE Community Development Officer (CDO) at each school community for the purpose of creating a continuous and long term presence in the community. The CDO assists in the leadership team in the selection of three community health workers that will be trained through SCOPE. A partnership with the ministry of Health and the Caritas Nurses Association is being negotiated to assit in the training and supervision of the community health workers. Aqua Clara is already training community health workers how to monitor and assist families in the care and maintenance of the filters. They will also receive training in sanitation and hygiene issues, soap making, creation of hand washing stations, and SODIS for households unable to afford the small cost of Aqua Clara filters other point of use water treatments,

Sustainability of the program will be done through job creation. Our goal is to provide a small stipend for workers for a short period of time while we assist them in developing a business which will provide a continuous income. We are working with a UNDP reresentative and others on the creation of businesses.

SCOPE is Kenyan NGO. It's in the development stages and any advice you can provide will be appreciated.

WASH Education? Business Development and Sustainability?

Posted about 9 years ago

Hi there!

Congrats on being considered for PWX membership!

We work with the BSF as well and am glad to hear that you have are approaching the implementation of the filters using a social entrepreneurial approach. I have read through all you materials and have not found any specific information on WASH Education and outreach. Do you offer it? We have found that that is crucial in the long term success of any water health program. If no, is it because the community already knows? If yes, can you tell me a little more about how you do it and what your mechanism for outreach looks like?

Also, how much time and how intensive do you get when you are helping them build a micro-business? do you supply start up costs? If yes, how much? Do you offer micro-business development training? Do you find that the groups you work with have those skills?

How many of your programs are income-generating? If it is a micro-business, where does the profit go?

good luck!
Gemma Bulos
A Single Drop

WASH Education? Business Development and Sustainability?

Posted about 9 years ago

Aqua Clara is working in partnership with SCOPE (School Communities Offering Projects that Empower) for the past two years. Our mutual interest involve providing safe water, and improving the quality of life by working with school communities through an empowerment model. The communities identify and prioritize their needs, and addressing water quality and quantity issues invariably tops their list. We pool our talents and resources to conduct workshops to train community appointed trainers in subjects to include buiding and operating the Aqua Clara filters, high yield organic farming to address food security issues, and other subjects aimed to create businesses. We work through schools creating demonstration sites for community members to see. Community trainers charge a small fee for training and are encouraged to reach out to churches, schools and other groups thereby creating a business and facilitating the spread of information.
Three initiatives are now underway that will enhance the work now being done.1) A clean water and sanitation workshop will add hand washing stations, soap making, SODIS, hygiene education, and sanitation possibilities to what Aqua Clara is already presenting. 2) A three person community appointed health team is being established at each school where SCOPE and Aqua Clara operate. One member, a teacher, will work with the children in forming a health club to promote healthy habits at school and home. The other two members will work at the household level identifying needs, working with the community on solutions and following up on projects such as the proper use of the Aqua Clara filter. 3) A community development officer is being appointed by each community to coordinate and report on the programs SCOPE and Aqua Clara initiate with the community. One such program is to join Kenya business people with roots in the community and investors from the US and other countries to mentor and provide start up funding (on a reimburseable basis) for small groups implementing businesses.

I have worked closely with Scott and Claire Rumpsa for the past two years and can atest to their commitment to providing clean water to the poor people in rural Kenya. Their ability to teach and their emphasis on maintaining high standards in the construction and use of Aqua Clara filters has earned the respect of the people. They along with the other members of the Aqua Clara team will be a valued addition to the PWX network.

WASH Education? Business Development and Sustainability?

Posted about 9 years ago

Thanks for the questions and comments Gemma.

We offer our WASH outreach and education through our Community Health Workers and our local oversight staff. We have found the CAWST Training Manual for Community Health Promoters to be very helpful and use some of their materials to help promote good WASH practices. We completely agree that continued education and reinforcement of good WASH practices will be crucial to the long term success of our program and are committed to doing a good job on this. We have found that the knowledge and the capacity of the communities we work with can vary widely and usually begin with determining what the people already know and build from there. We have found the schools to be a key entry point into communities and often use them as demonstration and traiing sites for the wider community.

In terms of helping start the micro-business element of the program, this can be fairly time intensive as we hold various sensitization meetings with local leaders and set clear expectations for involvement in the Aqua Clara program. Aqua Clara focuses on training and providing the raw materials for the first batch of filters (anywhere between 10-55 filters depending on the area). The material cost for the filters is recovered from the sale of that batch which provides the capital to buy the materials for the next batch. This operates as a rolling loan which allows the program to continue and grow according to the local demand.

Each filter constructer (Community Development Officer) makes a small profit from the sale of the filter which accrues to them (around $3). Aqua Clara does not make any profit.

Short review period - tight deadline

Posted over 9 years ago

Hi everyone,

Aqua Clara just submitted their profile and with the application deadline of July 26 they need to become members before then.

I know Don is working with them and i would like those who know them to support them.

Others need to see their approach which incorporates biosand filters and how we can best incorporate it into the network.

Our Nicaraguan or Guatemalan partners are not in the review - should they be? Is there any contact with El Porvenir, Agua Para la Vida, or Agua Para la Salud?

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My questions:
1. I like your demand driven approach. What is the distribution of household v community level filters?

2. How do you track long-term usage? You have worked in 20 countries, where do you track usage and maintenance long-term?

Thanks,
Rajesh

Short review period - tight deadline

Posted over 9 years ago

Agree with the demand driven approach which fits well into the potential ideas for local Rotary involvement in the monitoring process. Given Katie's Projects/Fairmount Minerals support and Chagrin Valley Rotary interest, a project with Aqua Clara would be ideal for testing/adding to PWX monitoring phase.

Expect others to comment more on current ACI tracking procedures.

Short review period - tight deadline

Posted over 9 years ago

Distribution of household v community level filters: The AC purifier is designed for a family of 6, so our primary distribution is household, however we have been putting these purifiers in schools and orphanages as they are requested. We are working on a larger model that will service more people per unit and be appropriate for community groups.

Tracking long term usage and maintenance:

AC has two kinds of programs. One is a program in core countries with Aqua Clara staff, and the other is the affiliate program where we give away the technology to responsible parties for their application.

Monitoring, Testing, Evaluation and Maintenance is a primary concern for AC. Our plan is to have country coordinators and regional managers in each country to implement and control monitoring and testing with local trained representatives. We are working toward this structure. The affiliate groups will participate with the country coordinators in this supervision.

At present, a model monitoring program is being developed and implemented in Kenya. The affiliates program presently conduct monitoring and testing in various ways in their own mission sites. I will upload a report from one of the affiliate groups (Mars Hill Church) in Rwanda.

Short review period - tight deadline

Posted about 9 years ago

Thanks for your comments and questions - keep them coming!

The Aqua Clara program in Kenya is tracked and monitored in a variety of ways with a focus on triangulating data collected to ensure accuracy. Local ACI coordinators maintain records on households that have purchased filters which are sent to ACI US staff on a monthly basis. These records also include some basic information about the purchasing households that are used for ongoing program monitoring and sampling e.g. date of birth of youngest child.

A key part of the purchase agreement between the filter constructer and end user is that the filter constructer agrees to carry out the first round of filter maintenance. The filter constructer is also required to train the end user how to identify when this simple maintenance is needed while also training the end user on how to do it themselves in the future. One of the advantages of having local people as the filter producers is that they are nearby and easily accessible to the filter end user should any questions arise.

Community Health Workers run monthly training sessions for new and existing filter users on related safe water storage and hygiene practices. This is another time that the filter maintenance procedure is re-emphasized.

ACI staff have trained local Kenyan household surveyors who will periodically (twice a year) undertake a detailed household survey using the Lot Quality Assured Sampling (LQAS) procedure. This survey targets households with a child under the age of 5 and monitors construction standards, use practices and also associated hygiene and sanitation standards. Turbidity tests are carried out on all households surveyed with a smalled subset (20%) of full bacteriological analysis. Focus groups are also held with filter constructers and filter users to collect some more qualitative data.

Short review period - tight deadline

Posted about 9 years ago

The above comment was posted by Claire Rumpsa, one of the Aqua Clara program staff for East Africa.