Catalent helps provide safe water to 390 people in the Philippines

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With our local implementing partner Clean Water International in the Philippines (CWIP) and Catalent’s ASPIRE and CWN employee resource groups, an entire school now has access to safe water!

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Catalent employees walked for water in order to raise awareness and funds
Unsafe water at Melilla Elementary School leaves no choice but to buy bottled water

Melilla Elementary School, located in a mountainous area of Davao, has 114 students and staff members. They relied on water piped from a spring and stored in a reservoir on the school grounds. While the school had regular access to water, the Department of Health declared the water unsafe. During the rainy season, the water often became cloudy and murky with soil particles.

Students at Melilla Elementary School

With no access to safe water, the school had no choice but to spend 1,000 PHP [18.05 USD] a month on bottled water for the students. Bottled water was used for drinking while water from the spring was used for hand washing, cooking, and watering plants.

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The reservoir the school relied on

The households around the school also relied on the spring for water and therefore had no source of clean water. Each household spent an average of 240 PHP [4.27 USD] every month on bottled water – an exorbitant amount for most families.

Village biosand filter brings clean water for school and community members

After a needs assessment was carried out and community members attended a project orientation, work began to bring the students and surrounding households clean water. Village biosand filters use sand filtration, an adaptive technology that is good at filtering particulate materials, turbidity, and pathogens present in freshwater sources.

A concrete platform was built to hold the village biosand filter during construction. This community filter consists of three tanks – a 1,000-liter tank for raw water, a 1,000-liter tank for filtration, and a 2,000-liter tank for filtered water.

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The village biosand filter at Melilla Elementary School

With this filtration system, the students and surrounding community at Melilla Elementary School have access to clean, safe water. Nathaniel Ballerda, Head Teacher of Melilla Elementary School, expressed what this new system meant: “The significance of this project goes beyond the convenience of having clean water; it touches the very heart of our community’s well-being. I am profoundly thankful that our school will no longer need to purchase commercialized water. The burden of procuring distilled water [four times each week] resulted in a monthly expense[s that have] weighed heavily on our limited resources. The introduction of the Village BioSand Filtration Project is a godsend. It not only relieves us of the financial strain caused by purchasing distilled water but also empowers us to redirect those funds to other critical projects that our students urgently need.”

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The completed village biosand filter

Melilla Elementary School will not only save money but will also have a reliable source of clean water, reducing the environmental impact of plastic bottle usage while having less fear of students becoming sick. 

We would like to give a special thanks to Catalent’s ASPIRE and CWN employee resource groups, who sponsored this project and helped transform the lives of 390 people.

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Thank you Catalent for supporting Melilla Elementary School!


Written by Krisbel Franco, Surge for Water Marketing & Development Intern

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