Philippines Testimonials: Biosand Filters Save Money, Reduce Illnesses

Biosand Philippines (BSF) works hard to ensure that people throughout the Philippines have access to clean, safe drinking water. We have partnered with them since 2015, working together to identify communities which need water filters and providing trainings on safe water and hygiene. To date, we have provided 5,173 people with 495 filters!

This work has been done systematically through an 8-phase program focused on people living around Davao City.

The water here comes from rain, springs, and wells. The numerous banana plantations around the district also provide water to the city residents for free, but they are unable to provide enough for the whole community. Others provide unclean water, with people reporting cases of diarrhea and other water-related diseases.

Once an area has been identified, WASH trainings are held to teach the community members about the water cycle, how we use water, how water is contaminated, how to protect yourself from microbes, and how treat and store water. These trainings are invaluable as they provide residents with the much needed information to keep themselves healthy, and to ensure that their filters work properly. From January 2016 to January 2017, our partners were able to provide 9 WASH trainings to the citizens of Davao City.

Community members of Davao City attending a WASH training.

While the numbers and data are important, the true impact of our partnership with BSF comes from the testimonials of those who have received a filter.

Titing Siawan is amazed that the water filtered through the filter is so clean and clear. Before, his family used to always get sick because they drank water out of a well. When they would get sick, they had to ask local children to fetch water for them and would pay the children 3 pesos for each gallon of water they would bring. Now they have a filter, their lives are different and they are taking amazing care of it because of how much it has changed their lives.

Water filters being delivered to their new homes.

Elvis Rosas has 6 people in her family, and she is grateful for the opportunity to drink safe and clean drinking water. They are now able to save 500 pesos or more per month because they do not have to buy water and can instead use their water filter. She says that the filter impacts the children the most, as they used to get sick very often and no longer do.

Elvis Rosas and her daughter with their new filter.

Doniza Barcenas also has 6 members in her family, and they had to fetch water every day from the spring. She knew it wasn’t safe but didn’t have another choice; their money is limited and they didn’t want to spend it on drinking water. Since they’ve started using the biosand filter, they have not experienced any illnesses.

Doniza Barcenas with her new filter. Her family no longer gets sick!

Guillermo Alcain and her family no longer want to drink water directly from the source anymore. When they go to their home province, they always experience illness because the water there is not safe to drink, but they don’t have any other options. When they are visiting, they always want to come back home immediately so they can drink the filtered water.

Guillermo Alcain with her new filter, which she misses when she’s away from home!

Analyn Masiado is a “plain housewife” who strives to take good care of her three children and husband. They live on a farm that is the source of everything they currently own.

Like many other people living in Davao City, they used to receive their water from a banana company. In 2014, Masiado’s youngest child experienced vomiting and diarrhea at the age of 2 months. She was terrified of what would happen to her child and blamed herself for all of the things that was happening to him.

During this time, she realized how important it was to save money. One of her neighbors was attending a WASH training sponsored by Surge, and Masiado became curious. After attending the training, she learned the importance of water and how a biosand filter can be beneficial. She immediately wanted to purchase a filter.

Masiado and her family have seen the difference the filter can make. They no longer have to spend money on water and the water that comes from the filter tastes good and is cold. Since they don’t have an abundant source of water, they have prioritized the filter to be used only for drinking water.

A water filter being pulled up a hill so that everyone can have access to clean drinking water!

Stories like the ones above are why we partner with local organizations, such as BSF, to provide communities and people access to clean, safe drinking water. If you would like to help us provide more people with access to clean water, please consider making a donation.

Written by Ashley Quinlan, Surge Fellow

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