IRC is leading a unique public-private partnership to test a recently developed ProCleanse water filter for households. The filter which can process around five gallons of clean water an hour and lasts for 10 years without the use of chemicals or components replacement will be tested in Ghana. The six month action research project, located in the Savelugu-Nanton municipality in the northern region of Ghana will focus on use, acceptance and performance of the filters by 265 households.
Published on: 08/08/2014
IRC has been assigned the specific role of coordinating the household and market surveys. This has been done using a range of tools and approaches including: joint research planning; FLOW phone technology to improve data collection; piloting and documentation; learning at scale via testing, refining, planning and adapting methodology in a ‘real world’ environment; and eventually feeding research results into policy dialogue. Other partners involved are World Vision, the University of Development Studies, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation and local government bodies – the Municipal Assembly, Regional Environmental Health Directorate and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency Regional.
First activities included a pilot study, a baseline survey and a first round of water sampling. Preliminary results from the water quality study showed that water from boreholes sometimes had very high levels of fluoride and chloride, while contamination with E.coli was generally low, except at Tampion dam. Sanitation and hygiene conditions in the communities were generally very challenging. From the 140 filter samples from non-controlled households, 10 percent were positive for E.coli. This contamination might stem from incorrect placement or use of the filters, suggesting that additional training of the users may be needed. These initial results seem to indicate that the filters are performing as designed and delivering clean, safe water to the communities. Two additional water samples and household surveys will be taken over the coming three months to offer a final determination of performance.
The lessons that have been learnt will be used to inform the review of surveys for planning and adaptation of the methodology for the 2nd round of field surveys and studies which will be carried out later this year. It is envisaged that the results and lessons from the project will be used by the partners to secure funding for uptake and scaling up of the research and marketing of the product in many other rural communities. The filter has also attracted the attention of Forbes magazine online which devoted an article on the filter and the field testing in its June 2014 issue.