If you are new to Blood:Water Mission and to our work in Africa, we want to enlighten you on the incredibly simple, but effective technology of the biosand water filter. Biosand water filters are an in-home water filtration system that utilizes ancient technologies to purify unsafe drinking water.
The filter, which is roughly the size of a 25 gallon trash can, is assembled to mimic the layers of soil. You see, rainwater is filtered as it passes through layers of soil on its way to the water table (deep below the surface). The biosand water filter is assembled with layers of sand and rock to duplicate this process on a smaller scale.
"But what is the "bio" in biosand water filter?" You may be asking yourself this. Well, for this, image yourself looking at a pond. If it is a pond with some age and without drainage, it most likely has a rather foul smelling, green scum on top of the surface. This is a bio-layer. A layer that consists of many organisms fight and feed off of each other for survival. These organisms like us, need fuel to survive and the pond serves as a feasting ground - good bacteria eating bad bacteria! (And you thought it was just scum).
Each biosand water filter has its own bio-layer on the top of each filter. As dirty water is fed into the filter, it first passes through the bio-layer, where 'good' organisms eat 'bad' organisms! Just like the pond scum! The water then continues down through the sand and rock in the filter to remove the rest of the sediment and pathogens in the water - resulting in safe drinking water!
To learn more about biosand water filters you can consult this fantastically silly, but informative video on YouTube:
Here is a video from our 2011 Christmas Campaign raising funds for biosand water filters:
Peg, a Power Mom from Habitat, Zambia, learned of her HIV+ status while attending HIV education trainings. She now gets the treatment she needs to live a healthy life for her daughter Natasha, and plans to be a mentor to others in her community.
Joyce, mother of two and a Community Health Promoter in the village of George, Zambia, inspires others in her community to apply health hygiene and sanitation practices in their homes as she does in her own.
Gertrude is not only a Community Health Promoter, she is also a role model in her village! She keeps her family safe from illnesses by using a biosand filter for safe water and a dish rack in her home to protect against contamination.
$30 doesn't seem like a powerful amount of cash. Sure, it feels good in the wallet, and it can buy you some cool stuff here in the US -- a cool new shirt, a couple of vinyl records, admission to The Great Gatsby with a large popcorn and soda - but it most likely will not change your life.
In Africa, that same $30 dollars can go a LONG way. For just $30, safe water can be provided for 30 people for an entire year! Now that is a life changing purchase! Now this doesn't mean that one person can trade in a dollar for clean water for a year, it isn't that simple. This figure is calculated by taking the cost of a water project such as a well, with an average cost of $7,000 (an estimate based on all of our projects across the continent), the number of people that gain access to safe water with the new water project (on average 400 people), and the number of years the project will last without major repairs or replacement (15-20 years).
7,000 / 400 = 17.5 / 17.5 = 1
Don't let the math bog you down. The message stays the same - for just $30, 30 people can gain access to safe water for a year! Will you consider supporting water projects in Africa today to provide safe water for people who desperately need it?
Yuka Beth is not only a working mom and mother of six, but also a caretaker for her paralyzed husband. When not working in the sewing co-op in her village, she displays leadership by facilitation AIDS support groups in her community.