Project 2016-2017



Cholera outbreaks have continued in Kenya demonstrating that the country is a long way from being able to provide safe water for its population, especially in rural areas. 

Although we have continued to distribute filters to schools, community groups and other organisations, and provide education on water borne diseases and sanitation, we have not engaged in this activity to the same extent as previous years. This year has been one mainly of consolidation – forging relationships with other organisations to develop collaborative projects, but also developing a new, more cost effective, gravity fed ultrafilter for use by community groups, clinics and schools.

Through our partner in Kenya, Maji Zima, work has been undertaken with two schools on the outskirts of Nairobi that received donations of community filters– Emakoko and Oloosirkon Primary Schools, to improve the level of knowledge of the teaching staff about water borne disease and to obtain data on the effectiveness of the filters. Ann, a teacher at Oloosirkon, reported ‘The filter is helping us in the school because we are able to get clean water for both cooking and drinking when there is no tap water. The absenteeism has reduced compared to the previous years as the pupils have not been reporting water illnesses.’

Contact was made with NECOFA, a farming co-operative in Baringo County and it is hoped to collaborate on assisting fishing and farming communities in the area.

Our main efforts during 2016 have concentrated on development of the new community filter. We decided the filter should be gravity fed and installed as a fixture in schools, clinics and community centres. Sourcing an effective ultrafilter took some time but eventually we found a suitable model. It uses the same hollow fibre membrane technology (0.1microns) as the family and community filters previously used.

We sourced plastic pipes, taps and joints readily available from hardware stores and available in Kenya at low cost, to connect the filter to the water source. By May 2017 we had a working model and Northumbria Water Scientific Services tested samples of the water, pre and post filter. The results showed that the filter worked satisfactorily. We are now looking for a partner to undertake testing with high concentrations of Ecoli, to provide scientifically significant results (as compared to practical results). Once we were satisfied that the filter worked, we arranged shipping of 20 filters to Kenya to enable our partner, Maji Zima, to undertake a pilot scheme of field trials, using water from different sources - bore holes, rivers, lakes, streams, and rainwater tanks. These trials will take place early in 2018.