Home of Hope is a non-profit organization focused on helping children, orphans, and single mothers become self-sufficient. In the Spring of 2009, The Emmanuel Foundation, in partnership with Home of Hope, supplied and installed two playgrounds in Rwanda in the villages of Jabana and Cyuru. During the project, it was noted that there was a great need for clean water in these villages and surrounding areas. Over 80% of diseases in Rwanda are water born and the high child mortality rate (19%) could largely be prevented with clean drinking water. In response, Emmanuel Foundation- in consultation with the Home of Hope staff and Word of Life leadership- chose three local men to be trained in how to construct and install Biosand Filters in April 2009. They received their certification from Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST) out of Calgary Alberta, and are now producing and distributing Biosand Filters.
A Biosand filter (BSF) is a water treatment system that has been adopted from the traditional slow sand filters. BSF is smaller and adapted to prevent it from flowing continuously, making it suitable for domestic use. BSF removes pathogens and suspended solids from the water using biological and physical processes. A biological community of bacteria and other micro-organisms grow in the top 2 centimeters of sand (called a biolayer). The living organisms in the biolayer eat the pathogens found in the water, thus improving water quality. Any kind of water (well water, borehole water, pond water, river water, or rainwater) can be used for this treatment, making this project easy and sustainable for the families in Rwanda.
Since the project started the results have been amazing. Over 200 homes have been equipped with Biosand filters which provided thousands of people with safe and clean drinking water. Read the story that was told to Lyle Johnson on a recent trip to see the project status:
“One widow told me of her 6 children she always had to take down the valley to the clinic because of their sicknesses – it seemed like she was always there with at least one of them. We installed a Bio-filter almost two years ago, she has hardly had her health card punched since. Health and stomach sickness has totally changed. Another told me there had been no diarrhea in their house since the filter was installed. The neighbors are now coming and asking if they can use the filter for their water.