SPOUTS of Water is composed of a group of dedicated students, engineers and volunteers, all working towards a basic set of common goals in Uganda:
Increased access to sanitary water; decreased dependence on foreign aid; a sense of ownership when it comes to personal water hygiene
Who gains the most?
Over-10-million Ugandans who lack access to clean water, suffering from water-related diseases, gain from the project. By increasing the supply of cost-effective filters, NGOs which operate on a limited budget will be able to better serve their purpose as the primary distribution mechanism of filters to the population. By increasing the operational efficiency of NGOs and decreasing the cost of ceramic filters, more Ugandans will benefit from clean water.
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.
An innovative design for ceramic water filters which is durable, cheap, and easy to produce using materials easily found in Uganda forms the centerpiece of our innovation. In addition to our design, the integration of our project with the community in Kampala through the support of Kampala University and established support of the NGO community in the general Ugandan area differentiates the SPOUTS project from the regular water charity projects.
This June, SPOUTS of Water will head back to Uganda 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, cheaper and more likely to be culturally accepted than the other point-of-use water sanitation solutions commonly deployed in Uganda. Because of their small size, these 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 and 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 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.
Thus far, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Kampala University, our partner in Uganda, who is providing us with a plot of land for our factory site. Moreover, we have obtained 501(c)(3) non-profit status through fiscal sponsorship with the Kasiisi Project. Several of our team members made a preliminary findings trip this past January during which we received positive reactions from the community.