MAJI SALAMA ACTIVITIES 2017 – 2018
Project 2017 -18
Kenya continues to have a high mortality rate due to water borne disease in children under 5 years, especially in rural areas.
This year has seen us develop and pilot the use of a new ultrafilter system which would work effectively for larger communities. Unlike the filters used on our projects previously, this one is static, for use by communities, clinics and schools.
The essential component, the ultrafilter, is imported but the other components are readily available from local hardware/plumbing suppliers. This will significantly reduce the cost per filter. Also, a filter installed as a permanent fixture would overcome the difficulty of keeping track of filters in the care of individuals. This had been a problem encountered with some of our family and community filters in the past. Nonetheless 10 projects in villages, clinics and schools in 4 counties continue to use the portable filters.
Being satisfied with the results of the UK testing of the filter, with tests carried out by Northumbria Water Scientific Services, Maji Salama funded purchase and shipment of ultrafilters to Kenya.
By November 2017, a prototype filter system had been set up at a residential property outside Nairobi to be used by 3 families. With the exception of the need to replace the backflush plastic handle with a metal one, it has continued to function well. Two trustees visited in November and saw the filter in use. They also travelled to Kokwa island in Lake Baringo to meet representatives of Necofa, a farming co-operative, and talk to the community about their needs and how Maji Salama might assist.
The prototype was scientifically tested by the Kenya Industrial and Research Development Institute. The results obtained in February 2018 showed elimination of 100% of e-coli, Salmonella and other pathogens. On the basis of those results it was agreed to proceed with a further pilot, at Kokwa Island, to serve a school, clinic and community of 600 residents. The community’s water supply comes from Baringo, which is heavily polluted. In May 2018 the filter was installed and the villagers, school and clinic staff were trained about water borne disease and the way the filter worked.
Whilst the original filter sited outside Nairobi continues to work well, the Kokwa Island project has met with problems. It was recognised, at the time of installation, that the high silt content of the water would mean the system needed back flushing every 2 hours. Necofa was advised to install a settling tank or a sieve. This work, and regular backflushing of the filter, was not carried out. As a result the filter became clogged and the islanders ceased to use it.
This is an extremely disappointing development and negotiations are ongoing with the local community to attempt to resolve it. We are also reviewing our community education programme to ensure villagers having a greater understanding of the risks of drinking contaminated water and of the need for regular maintenance of the filter. Through our partner, Maji Zima, we are considering pilots in other areas.