Designing Locally Produced, Effective Water Filters

Designing Locally Produced, Effective Water Filters

Location:
Santa Cruz del Seibo, Dominican Republic
GESI Team:
Alexis Gable, Madelinn Thurman
Partner:
Social Entrepreneur Corps
Development Sectors:
Social Entrepreneurship; Income Generation; Water; Sustainable Technology
Apply to the Program  
Summer 2013

Project Background

In the Dominican Republic there are over 98 health problems associated with drinking unclean water. To avoid drinking contaminated water, families buy 3-5 botellones of purified water each week, costing upwards of RD $4-5,000 (USD $100-120) in a year. This is a significant portion of their salaries, which can be as low as RD $2,000 per month. Buying a water filtration device is much more cost-effective, but the upfront price is daunting and unappealing to families who may not recognize the long-term benefits and money that can be saved. When the students arrived, the filtration device that Social Entrepreneur Corps was marketing took 19 hours to purify 5 gallons of water, and was imported from India, which meant the price was high due to shipping costs. All of these factors motivated the GESI team to begin a microventure project, where they produced new water filtration devices incountry, using a thoroughly tested filter and locally produced containers. Their new design reduced the price of the devices by 55%, and cut down the filtration time from 19 hours to just 6 hours. The team also remodeled a system for payment plans, allowing clients to make two payments without interest instead of one upfront. All of these steps make purchasing water filters more feasible for local customers, who will benefit from clean water at a reduced price, compared to buying bottled water.

Download this project's Case Study .PDF