Report of water filters project

February 2015


With support from Fresh2o and donors, 85 water filters have now been provided to schools, a youth centre and to some of the most vulnerable households in project areas. For schools, these have been accompanied with 120 litre water containers and, for households, with 50 litre water containers. These were distributed between August and October 2014, and training was carried out at the same time. Field agents ensure frequent follow-up through visits to schools and households. Inspections are made of the filters on each visit and advice given.

The excel spreadsheet provides details on beneficiaries to date. The summary is as follows:

Filters received in Madagascar:

Source/funding Number of filters
Fresh2o 63
FBM volunteers 2
FBM donor 20
Total 85

Filters distributed in Madagascar:

Number of filters
Beneficiaries Planned Distributed
Households 100 70
Schools 34 10
Others (youth centre & for training purposes) 5 5
Total 139 85


More filters needed ASAP: 53


Beneficiaries have been overjoyed with new filters, and the majority declare that they feel their health improving with fewer and fewer cases of diarrhoeal disease occurring since using them. For many beneficiary households, it is their principal object of value and much cherished.

The water containers have generally been placed above the ground in each household, with the water flow rate around 1 litre per minute.


Distribution of filters and water containers (along with other things related to our agroforestry project) to vulnerable households)


Deline with her water filter.


Nety with his water filter.


Vaomary’s children (left) and Tsaratody (right) with their new filters.

Frequent follow-up has been seen to be crucial in avoiding problems with the filters, particularly in light of the low educational levels of many beneficiaries. Some of the main problems identified are as follows:

  • Rats eating the rubber tubing before the filter.
  • Cleaning not being carried out frequently enough, meaning the filter gets clogged up. Since some of the water used is incredibly dirty, back-washing every 3-4 days is recommended.
  • Two beneficiaries water filters have apparently broken. We will try to see if mending it is feasible, otherwise we will return them to Sawyer for diagnosis.
  • Exposure of the filters to direct sunlight over long periods, which promotes more bacterial / algae growth and risks making the filters more brittle.
  • Insufficient attention paid to using clean containers with which to drink the filtered water.

In addition, water is principally used by beneficiaries just for all drinking and cooking requirements, and more rarely for general washing purposes. This does mean that households often remain exposed to disease from contact with contaminated water when washing clothes or dishes in rivers or elsewhere.

To avoid all these problems, field agents are demonstrating to households how to clean their filters and advise them on frequency of cleaning, where to place the filter/water container, and rat prevention and control. They also provide education on water, sanitation and hygiene, particularly related to ensuring clean water containers are used to drink filtered water, the importance of using filtered water to wash dishes if possible, and other ways to prevent water-borne diseases. We have purchased gaffer tape to mend damaged rubber tubing.