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Ceramic Water Filters, Locally Produced in Kenya can Help Reduce the Number of People without Access to Safe Quality Drinking Water

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Household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) interventions are proven to both improve water quality and reduce disease incidence in developing countries (Lantagne CDC, 2007). In Kenya 54% and 46% of rural and urban communities respectively, do not have access to portable drinking water (UNDP). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diarrhea claims 5000 lives everyday throughout the world. Cholera has remained endemic in Kenya. Studies in Cambodia have shown that use of ceramic filters has led to a reduction in diarrheal disease by 50% (Sobsey M and Brown J, 2007).

Chujio Ceramics, a Kenyan factory, was set up with the guidance and assistance from Potters for Peace in June of 2007. It is locally producing ceramic water filters (chujio) capable of providing safe quality drinking water to many Kenyan households at point of use.

Chujio water filter has been tested in various laboratories in Kenya and has shown to be effective in removal of water pathogens in highly contaminated water. The Kenya Bureau of Standards has given it a Standardization Mark of Quality. The Ministry of Water and Ministry of Public Health have also recommended the filter for use as a household water treatment option after testing it.

We have sold over 3000 units mainly to organizations that had prior knowledge of the filter. The factory has the capacity to produce 300 filters a day since mechanization of its manual press and construction of another press. It however, lacks the capacity to promote and distribute the filters to the people that need it most. The biggest challenge is to create a demand for the filters through proper promotion and marketing. Many Kenyans are currently buying bottled water, chlorinating or boiling water. The filter is indeed an alternative to boiling and chlorinating water.

We have worked with the different organisation, to train users on proper use and maintenance of the filter and have received very positive feedback. Individual users have bought units for their homes, their parents in rural Kenya and also introduced their friends. Most have been amazed at the effectiveness of the filter. The factory also plans to work with pottery groups in different communities, to train them on how to make ceramic receptacles. This will create employment and also help promote the filter in these communities.

The future of the filter looks very bright in Kenya as communities are adapting to it very easily. It saves a lot of time and resources, and the family has quality safe drinking water at all times. This is its greatest advantage, over other household water treatment systems.
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Keywords: Chujio; Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS); ceramic water filter; promotion campaign; research; up-scaling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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