Q&A: Pure Water for the World

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.

Monitoring household filters

Posted almost 11 years ago

Your work is very impressive and i am wondering how you manage long-term usage of household filters?

Firstly, education and training is harder at an individual level.

Maintenance, cleaning and replacement of components are hard to assess on a household level.

You have 23 people in-country - do they regularly visit your past projects?

Thanks,
Rajesh

Monitoring household filters

Posted almost 11 years ago

We have learned over the years that is it not about installing filters. Initially with Rotary Foundation matching grants, the focus on was on manufacturing and installing filters -- that was the goal --the number of filters installed. However, we have tried to train people that without proper education, the filters installed would not all function properly without proper education: We have developed a program of community stewards who are individuals living in a community and are especially trained to monitor and educated.

Here is how we are now working more closely with the communities:

a. Water board members or community leaders who oversee the implementation of the filters and latrines. It is their responsibility to oversee the activities, responsibilities, etc throughout the implementation of the project.
b. Community agents (1 for every 10 filters) who are responsible for checking the 10 filters they are responsible for regularly and taking any remedial action when necessary
c. hygiene committee – responsible for training their peers and school children in the importance of and technique of proper hygiene.

At each project site, a staff person is required to personally visit and inspect a certain percentage of the filters. If there are problems, it is his/her job to work with community stewards to solve the problems.

We are always striving to get better. It is our goal to fund two trained monitors to travel throughout the country to ensure that the local officials are doing the monitioring/education correctly.

Project info

Posted almost 11 years ago

Dear Carolyn,

Can you explain what a 'project' is for your group? You say you have 9 projects that impact 700,000 people.
It seems to me more a program that you refer to.

I am interested in learning what a 'project' cost is. That is a small well-defined project in a school or village. Of course, water quality testing before and after and some form of long-term assessment needs to be included.

For PWX and BPR, a smaller contained project is easier to raise funds for and to manage. I realize that our platform can manage thousands of such projects and pinpoint the on the map, while for most organizations, it is much easier to profile a single program/project on their website and show summarized results for the rest of their work.

Thanks,
Rajesh

Project info

Posted almost 11 years ago

Good morning,

While we have impacted many people, I would have to say that our work in Honduras and El Salvador are projects and our work in Haiti is a program. In Haiti, our work with Management Sciences for Health is a nationwide program with fixed goals and outcomes. Management of the program requires different logistics than our work in Honduras. In Honduras, since most,but not all projects, are funded by the Rotary Foundation (TRF), our work iwith these projects is to manage and ensure sustainability of the projects. With TRF projects, local Rotarians are involved to a varing degree depending upon their level of interest.

The projects that are in need of funding are the projects in Trojes, Honduras and in Haiti. The estimated cost of 3.5 year project in Trojes is $430,000 or about $15,000 per village. Over the course of the project, we will have provided 30 communities with water, sanitation, hygiene education and monitoring. Yes, water testing is done prior and we are designing a long term assesement tool. We have worked with US graduate students to develop a tool and to do an assesment for other projects.

In Haiti the average cost of a school -- providing clean water,teacher training and hygiene education is about $1,200- $1,500.

I suggest that either or both the Trojes project and the school project be highlighted on the platform as we track both on our website and yours.

Carolyn

Posted almost 11 years ago

Global Water review of Pure Water for the World (PWW) application for Peer Water Exchange Team (PWX).

My information regarding PWW is limited to its PWX application content and information on its website.

Based on this information, Global Water is supportive of PWW membership (rating of 7 based on 1 - 10 scale). PWW would likely be a good fit to the PWX network, and the work done by PWW has been in areas where PWX should be engaged.

Just a few comments which PWW might want to address in future information documents:

1) The PWX application stated that "PWW is now expanding into other countries after being recognized as the leading organization dealing with providing clean, safe drinking water to the rural populations" My question related to this benchmark is what agency/organization is responsible for such "recognition", and what was their criteria?
2) The PWX application stated that "Where filters are in use, the crying from stomach pains, death, and poor school attendance are a thing of the past". From our experience, clean water makes a very significant difference, however this statement seems to be somewhat of an unrealistic "overstatement".
3) Although the PWW website gives good information about its projects, and lists many of its staff and board members, it would be helpful to have at least short bios for their leadership (I couldn't find anything, but maybe I missed it).
4) Information on the PWW website states pretty explicitly that there are no on-going costs for maintenance of slow sand filtration systems. I believe that in reality, there are on-going maintenance/monitoring/oversite requirements which need to be part of these systems. They may be low or no cost depending on support organizations/volunteerism, but for full disclosure purposes, the "no on-going costs" label seems to be an over-simplification and could be expanded upon in future write-ups.

Chris Kunze
Board Member
Global Water
Info@globalwater.org

Response to Chris Kunze

Posted almost 11 years ago

Good morning,

Thank you for taking time to look into the work of PWW.

1.) The "recognition" we received was given by the health department and the water board in different regions in Honduras. At that time we were one of only a few organizations working with point of use systems and health leaders praised us for our program of education. We were invited to speak at several national meetings on our work around Honduras and we were introduced as such. We also received "recognition" by officials of USAID who also praised us for working in the remote regions of Honduras as not many organizations did. These repeated comments of praise for our work was the basis of that statement.

2.) I agree that there are many causes of water bourned diseases and one can never be sure if it is the water or hygiene education. However, with repeated claims of improved health, we believe that we have made a difference.

The reference about crying with stomach pain came from a receipient of our project. We had wanted to illustrate that living with water borne diseases can be painful. I will reread the section to see if we are being a bit over the top.

3.) Point well taken .. I can add something to our website.

4.) Again, your point is well taken. Our point is to show that unlike a system which needs electricity, there is no monthy costs -- no on going cost to maintain the filter. I can look into the phrasing of that section and make some modifications.

You have made some good points that sometime can be made only by an "outsider" When I get back from Haiti, I will take a fresh look at our website.

Thank you.

Technology evolution

Posted almost 11 years ago

How are you capturing onground adaptations and innovations?

Am sure local use is different from design and some variations constantly appear. As your programs span so many communities in countries, i am very interested in seeing how these adaptations get shared.

Also, most of your projects are around filtration and purification. Do most of your current communities have a decent quantity of water supply year round? Or do they often have shortages also?

Technology evolution

Posted almost 11 years ago

In Honduras, we have semi annually meetings of all project superviors and they discuss a wide range of topics including techonology. They discuss sand quality, size, etc. Most of the adaptions to date have come from a project site making improvements upon eduction, training, monitoring and those ideas are transmited to other project sites. The best example is the community steward concept.

It is our plan to build a Water Education and Training Center where the improvements can be shared more readily and too more people.

We work in areas where there is adequate water supply, but it is the quality that is the problems. Should a community need water, we locate well drillers, etc to help with the quanity issue. We are also getting into rain water harvesting -- especially in Haiti.

Technology evolution

Posted almost 11 years ago

The filter projects I have had contact with in Guatemala indicate to me that their are a number of key factors that make such a project viable in the long term. The first is to select a locally made filter system that allows for ease of transportation and delivery. The second is ease of maintenance and a structure in the village to maintain the filters. The third is a method of constant feedback and monitoring to ensure that any doubts by users are satisfied through education and the long term monitoring process. I see all of these elements in this project and if they pursue each element diligently then the filter project should be a success.

A parting comment would be that visual chemical testing of water before and after filtration would demonstarte to users the benefits of using filters. There are several products on the market (see Google) "HACH" pathogen field water tests or 3M -- "Petrifilm". products allow an overnight field test to demonstrate absence or presents of pathogens.

Technology evolution

Posted almost 11 years ago

Dear Lynne,

The water is tested at the source prior to the installation of the filters, and we do follow up monitoring --testing the output water -- for about 25% of the filters that we have installed. If we see a pattern of problems in a village or "neighborhood" we then do retraining on how to use and maintain the filter.

In Haiti where we supply filters to schools, health clinics, we test every filter at least once. (We provide one filter for every 50 students.- so some schools have many filters.)

Most if not all project sites have a water analysis kit. We have purchased directly from HACH for these products. Do you prefer HACH over 3M?

PWW is always tying to improve our product and if you have any suggestions - please do not hesitate to let me know.

Carolyn Meub