background research

Increase utility rate of bio-sand water filters in villages.

background research

Postby ciardubain » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:43 am

Hello all,
I am excited to start working on this project with you. Right now I am doing some reading into what bio-sand filters are, how they work, etc... I found a good organization that has a lot of information: http://www.biosandfilter.org/biosandfilter/index.php/

I have some initial thoughts on attacking this problem as well. I think the two main areas we need to look at are the villagers and the filters themselves.

I'd like to understand why the villagers are hesitant to accept the new technology. I imagine that low-income workers' time is very important to them. I also imagine that the filters require some upkeep by intermittently refilling the water, etc... I think there will be a balance between the value (or perceived value) the filters bring to an individual and the time and effort it takes to keep the filter operating correctly. Additionally, I assume that some of the villagers have accepted the technology. It will be vital to understand their perspective and possibly even recruit them to help their neighbors understand what the filters can do for them.

As I said, I'm doing some research which I hope will help shed light on the following questions. I'm wondering what the actual value of the filters are in this village. Specifically, how does the water quality change after filtration? If the change is aesthetic, meaning better taste, smell, and/or color, without changing the medical risk, this may not be enough value for workers to sacrifice their time and effort to utilize the filter. I'd also like to know how vital the current design/dimensions of the filter are for optimal performance. The filter's size, placement in the home/village, and ease of use will all contribute to its value to the village.

I will keep working on understanding the filter technology and hopefully this will uncover whether or not changing the filter specifications is a possibility. At this point, I'm not sure of access to interviewing workers in the village so I'll assume that it is something to look for in the distant future once our approach is more definitive.

I would very much like to hear other approaches that you may have. Looking forward to reading them.

Best wishes,
ciardubain
ciardubain
 
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Re: background research

Postby H. Timothy Hsiao » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:20 pm

Hi Ciardubain,
Thanks for the great start! Also, the biosand filters the hospital makes meet the CAWST standard. This page details the filter design and associated health benefits:
http://www.cawst.org/en/themes/biosand-filter
FYI!
Tim
H. Timothy Hsiao
 
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Re: background research

Postby H. Timothy Hsiao » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:49 pm

Hi Ciardubain,

Actually the work in the sugar cane field is seasonal, so the village residents would have time at least during the non-harvesting season.

Some complaints (e.g. the water flow is too slow, the filter is too heavy...) I've heard about are somehow trivial in my opinion. My unproven hypothesis is that the village residents may just not know and appreciate the practical benefits of the filter for their health. The message might need to be communicated better to the villagers... Maybe some public health education would be needed?

Introduction of how the filter work might also be helpful. I imagine that might help the villagers to accept the filters more readily?

In terms of addressing the ease of use and slow water flow issues, do you think we could potentially set up a central water filter tower instead of installing individual small filters in each household? The client could probably pay to some more educated individuals in the villages to operate the water tower. The salary may not be significant, and overall could probably save expense compared to setting up individual filters with labors from the hospital. This is just an idea. We might need to perform a cost-benefit analysis on it..
H. Timothy Hsiao
 
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