Expanding across borders
When Abundant Water was first launched, our aim was to provide clean water to as many people as possible through the provision of water filters. The special thing about these water filters – and an important part of being sustainable – was that they could be made from local materials and be easily adapted to any local context. The idea was that if we could develop a filter that could be made from materials found anywhere using a process that could incorporate local pottery traditions, the same successes could be found anywhere in the world, as we have found in Laos PDR.
In late 2013, an NGO based in the US and working in Zambia approached Abundant Water looking to transfer knowledge of clay pottery water filter manufacturing to folks on the ground in Africa. At around the same time Abundant Water was also put in contact with William Magenya, a volunteer with plenty of experience in Africa, looking to help out in Laos. It wasn’t difficult to join the dots and establish a three-way connection through the obvious mutual interests.
This connection was also made possible by tapping into the networking potential of new electronic media. After some initial Skype conversations with Water Empowerment Director, Manena Ng’ambi, in the US, William and the Water Empowerment team in Zambia are about to use new electronic media to facilitate the creation of the Abundant Water clay pottery water filter in a small community in rural Zambia.
The wonderful possibilities of the modern technology and the internet are being exploited through the use of smartphones, allowing those in Africa to access training materials and personal consultations from Abundant Water staff in Laos, to enable them to make a filter from scratch, with no travel required by either party. It is this kind of relatively simple, and increasingly commonly available, technology that is allowing Abundant Water to spread its message and water filter technology to benefit water-poor communities far and wide.
We, at Abundant Water are very excited by the implications shown by this project. Not only will a team in Zambia be able to recreate a water filter that will have sustainable effects in rural Africa but it shows the potential in using technology to support community based development. Technology that is able to create a network across three continents to realize a small project in Zambia has much bigger implications for the capacity of Abundant Water and its adaptable clay pottery water filters moving into the future.