Community Solutions in the Philippines

 In Donor, Field Partner, Hygiene, Philippines, Water

With our local implementing partner Clean Water International in the Philippines (CWIP), we have expanded our work from household filters to solutions scaled for communities. After the successful installation of our first village biosand filter, we have also installed our second!

Unsafe Water at Bantol Elementary School Forced Teachers to Purchase Water

Barangay Bantol, located approximately 15 miles north of Davao City, relies on water from a local spring. Historically, community members had no way to treat the water. They would use it directly from the reservoir, leading to water-borne illnesses and health concerns in the community. This situation was also true at Bantol Elementary School, where 290 students attend school. Without access to safe water, the teachers were spending 150 pesos ($2.88) a week on purified water for their students.

After careful consideration and a “need assessment” by our local partner, Bantol Elementary School was determined to be the best location for a village biosand filter. Today, not only do the 290 students and 12 teachers have access to safe, clean water, but so do community members from 167 households.

Bantol Elementary School

Village Biosand Filter – A Community Approach

The village biosand filter is designed to bring clean water to entire communities.  Additionally, as we work in remote Filipino communities, it can be operated without electricity and can be maintained by the community.

While a household biosand filter consists of a column of sand that contains living microorganisms, the village biosand filter is composed of three tanks – one for raw water, one for filtration, and one for filtered water.

At Bantol Elementary School, water from the spring enters the first tank and makes its way to the second tank. Here, similar to a household filter, there is sand containing microorganisms. These microorganisms find and remove the pathogens in the water. Once filtered, and clean, the water moves to the third tank where it is stored until accessed by the community. The last tank can hold up to 2,000 liters of filtered water at a time – meaning that the community will always have access to safe water!

The village biosand filter at Bantol Elementary School

Eduardo B. Tejano, School Head of Bantol Elementary School, was excited that his school benefitted from the village biosand filter. He explained that the filter “is a very useful project…not only us teachers can benefit from it, but also the learners and the community itself.” Complete with a handwashing facility, this project will also make sure the school and community have access to improved hygiene!

School officials using the handwashing facility

As a thank you for years of partnership with CMS Printing in Dubai, this community solution was dedicated to them.

Bringing Safe Water to all Residents of Barangay Bantol

In addition to the village biosand filter at Bantol Elementary School, we also worked hand-in-hand with CWIP to distribute 170 household filters to families in Barangay Bantol. These filters were a combination of household biosand filters and ceramic filters, a new solution for our local partner. Together, these filters will impact an additional 818 people in the community!

As part of the filter distributions, three women were trained to be Community Health Agents. These women are responsible for mobilization of their communities, providing basic health and hygiene trainings, conducting house visits, spreading awareness on the importance of clean water, and monitoring the usage of the filters within their communities.

A Community Health Agent (in red) distributes a filter to a family

With the help of the Community Health Agents, we can ensure that all 2,300 people in the community have access to safe water and that waterborne illnesses are a thing of the past!

If you’re interested in supporting our work in the Philippines, please contact us.

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