Project 78 for 78,000 water filters by 2012
Posted on 9 Mar 2009 by:Rural Africa Water Development Initiative [NGO]
Location: Niger Delta region, Nigeria
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Description (methodology, techniques and strategies used):
The objective was to assist households to maximize the quality of their drinking water supplies. Our strategy was based on PHAST.
"PHAST builds on people's innate ability to address and resolve their problems. It aims to empower communities to manage their water and control sanitation- related diseases.". (WHO, 1996:1).
These were set by team members and community volunteers. Strategies now adopted for city-wide development includes;
To consolidate and expand the gains of the project we are relying on the 78 filter factories as well as the 78 trained youths (filter artisans). Great potentials exist for achieving this and up-scaling the project's impact as the raw materials required for construction are readily sourced from most communities. Opportunities exist for these graduate trainees as pilot micro-entrepreneurs in this regard; same for promoters and health workers. In the next 3-7 years we see the filter becoming a common heritage in every local household.
We are hopeful of achieving long term sustainability through this strategy which is anchored on a trust fund model that deploys micro-credit mechanisms as well as innovative social intervention approaches etc. Inter-twinned with these are barefoot research and social marketing activities etc.
The effective realization of sustainability would enable the project to promote public health and well being as well as to appreciably reduce core poverty in this region. A social investment of about a quarter of a million United States dollars has been invested since 2004. We are currently working assiduously to raise more money, at least US$75,000 every year till 2012. This is estimated to enable us boost and expand filter penetration and adoption.
In scaling up these Mor-sand filters we are taking cognizance of social, economic and political constraints in Nigeria. Our Market program is broken into quarterly schedules with specific targets. We aim to reflect presence in all the 78 communities and produce at least 78,000 filters before 2012 states. It is also germane to observe that components or materials used in making the filters are commonly found in these communities and elsewhere.
According to the Project Coordinator, Mr. Joachim Ibeziako Ezeji, for example the Moringa oleifera is a fast growing drought-resistant tree that is native to sub-Himalayan tracts of Northern India, but is now distributed worldwide in the tropics and sub-tropics. This implies applicability of this technology in tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide. The occurrence of pumice/gravel and sand is also widespread in many parts of the world. Beyond the incorporation of the Moringa into the filter, the components of the filter structure do not introduce man-made materials, such as plastics which have negative environmental implications in their construction. Pumice, gravel, sand and concrete can be easily harvested or returned to the environment in a harmless state without concern.
What is innovative about this project:
Our technology is a drinking water filter known as the Mor-sand filter. The Mor-sand Filter as the project's product is an integrated water quality improvement system that combines the coagulant Moringa (seed) powder with slow sand filtration. It adopts the combined processes of coagulation and mechanical filtration to make water clean. It markedly differs from other filters by its adoption of these processes and its combination of the individual strengths of slow sand filtration with the effectiveness offered by coagulation using Moringa oleifera powder. In this way, it effectively rids the drinking water of health threatening impurities.
Also our Trust fund model as already explained signals a new approach in household water treatment distribution and marketing anywhere. We have developed it after a careful and most extensive dissection of our milieu and are convinced that it is apposite and responsive to the now and long term needs of the communities. Both the technology and the social development approaches such as the trust fund model are all replicable and are aimed at meeting the clean water needs of all people without hindrance.
Our contribution to the transfer of the technology and know-how is already evident in our on-the-ground activities already. We are on the ground; we are working; filters have been developed; households are already using the filters; participatory partnerships are already in place across and within the communities; broad networks has been established and youths have been trained etc.
Evidence of result and impact:
The success or otherwise of the project have hitherto been measured on a log frame that had set objectives and objectively verifiable indicators. This serves as a show case frame of how the project stands at any particular moment. However, we at periodic intervals monitored and evaluated our activities in order to measure progress against objectives and performance standards, and to enable accountability to donors, partners and people affected by the project.
The initiative has so far achieved the construction and use of VIP latrines (at the minimum); Hand washing practices and Household water treatment by households etc. As at the moment a good sense of community participation is established in projects locations unlike in the past. As a result we now have Healthier households particularly children; Improvement in school attendance and a Reduction in reported cases of Diarrhea etc as more people now drink filtered water. Absenteeism of children from schools on health grounds reduced.
There is also a Reduction in reported cases of endemic water borne/based diseases e.g. Diarrhea, Filariasis, Hipatitis-A, Malaria, Roundworm/Hookworm and Tapeworm etc because of observed changes in behavior and attitudes e.g. open defecation is well reduced, dirty open drains and stagnant pools of water are regularly cleaned up etc. The enhancement of personal dignity amongst men and women was also achieved particularly by all those who bought filters and those who built new latrines etc.
The project has so far installed a total of 21,023 filters for local households out of the targeted 78,000 filters for 78,000 households serving well over 624,000 people in 78 dispersed communities by 2012 in oil producing communities in Nigeria. However the project coordinator with the vastness of the Niger Delta communities - 187 local government areas, about 30 million peoples, 12 per cent of Nigeria's surface area, 13,329 communities, with only 98 being urban centers, long coastlines and environments that are devastated, the challenge still remains very huge.
Originally known as "Mor-sand filters for oil producing communities project"; the project has been rebranded to "Project 78 for 78,000 filters in 2012" in order to underscore its desire to do maximum good to a maximum number of people within a record time.