SPOUTS of Water
SPOUTS of Water proposes to build a local ceramic filter factory for the purpose of sustainably providing clean water access to indigenous populations.
The filters our factory would produce are effective, low-maintenance, and cheaper and more likely to be culturally accepted than the other point-of-use water sanitation solutions commonly deployed in Uganda. For example, our ceramic filters would cost about 1/9th as much as bio-sand filters, which are currently the favored devices of NGOs working in Uganda, while offering the same effectiveness and demanding less maintenance. Moreover, because of their small size, these affordable, household filters can provide portable water to individual homes rather than entire communities. This decreases the likelihood of potential conflicts that can arise from having to assume responsibility for broken technologies helps instill a greater sense of ownership, an important aspect of global health technology that is often overlooked. In addition, the terracotta taste that results from water being filtered through a ceramic device has also been found to be preferred in areas of Sub-Saharan Africa where water has been commonly stored in ceramic jugs for storage in the past. Finally, we believe that the simplicity and low maintenance requirements of our filters will help to overcome culturally-instilled habits in the local population that often form barriers to adoption of new technologies.
The local production and distribution of such filters will not only improve the health statuses of locals, decrease infant mortality rates and restore productivity and livelihood that is lost due to water-borne illnesses, but also facilitate the sustainability of our project. While other organizations often rely on outside sources to supply or even fund their clean water initiatives, our project will fund itself after the initial seed money and ideally open up a labor market for local populations. This project will rely on the cooperation of local community members, supporting community-building initiatives. Rather than having outsiders provide water-aid, community members will be able to benefit from their own handiwork.
Our core team members include Kathy Ku, Kyongdon Kim, John Kye, and Stephanie Choi who come from varying backgrounds. Kathy is heavily involved in Engineers Without Borders and brings her experience in applying her engineering background to development projects in Africa. Stephanie is deeply interested in developmental economics and brings to the group her prior experience of working for health-related projects Uganda. Kyongdon and John bring the lessons of business and economics gained from being involved in start-ups and hopes to utilize that knowledge to create a social entrepreneurship project with a lasting impact.
Our project has also brought together advisory board members from different areas of expertise, hoping to work together for a common purpose. Throughout the initial stages of the project, we have continued to identify potential collaborators, ranging from engineering professionals with previous ceramic filter production experiences to a former business consultant from McKinsey to identify prices and markets for the production and sale of ceramic filters. We have continued to contact these persons with the hopes that we could foresee all potential hurdles throughout the implementation of the project. Through constant communication, a market for ceramic filters has been identified in Uganda, and discussions for the specific site have been thoroughly discussed to maximize the ease of production and distribution.