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November 2005 Newsletter
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Activities Update

Distribution of Filters

Over the next six months we will distribute 1300 household filters and 25 to schools in Kanchanpur and Kapilbastu Districts, while continuing our work in Nawalparasi. Along with this distribution we will continue our workshop program in each new village and school, as well as provide vitamins to those suffering from arsenicosis.

For this work, UNICEF (the U.N. Childrens Fund) and DWSS (Nepal's Department of Water, Sanitation and Sewage) have contributed 1,325 bucket sets. This covers about one third the cost of the filter. Now your contributions will go ? further!.

A bucket set contains the outer 50 liter bucket and lid and the inside basin. At our Parasi office we have set up a 'filter factory'. Final assembly of each unit is in the village homes and schools. Our goal is to distribute 300 filters per month in conjunction with our workshops.

The entire filter cost is $20-22 depending on the local cost of materials, such as the price of 5 kg of iron nails. The bucket filter system looks like this:

Arsenic Awareness Workshops

Arsenic awareness workshops are an important entry point for FFF, and for the villages affected by high levels of arsenic in the drinking water. Each workshop provides life-saving answers to questions such as these:
  • What is arsenic?
  • Where the arsenic came from?
  • What are the health effects of arsenic in the drinking water?
  • How to mitigate the effects of arsenic poisoning by using an arsenic biosand filter and using plants?
  • How to mitigate the effects of arsenic poisoning by taking vitamins and having a good diet?
  • How to install and maintain an arsenic biosand filter?

    Funding for the school workshops was provided by our U.N. Development Program (UNDP GEF/SPG) grant 'Using Nature to Remove Arsenic'. Last Spring and Summer, FFF also began a special relationship with SPW volunteers (Student Partnership Worldwide, of the U.K.). This British group had 24 volunteers in Nawalparasi working on health and environmental problems through local school Green Clubs. The school workshops were given in the SPW Green Clubs (9 different schools). An outgrowth of this program are the school filter projects from UNICEF's 25 bucket sets, Friends of Nepal and a group of summer camp students from Oregon (see page 7).

    Filter Maintenance, Training and Mentoring

    Filter maintenance trainees are selected from local villagers who work with us while building and installing filters in their village. The filter checker examines the filters for problems and functionality once a month. In this way, the sustainability of the program is assured. So far, FFF is the only arsenic mitigation program in Nepal providing this important form of instruction. We still run into problems with the filter checkers, sometimes they won't visit a specific household because the person is too argumentative, or they check only the flow rate of the filter but not the inside to see if the nails are separated. Our staff monitors these sorts of problems during follow-up visits to the villages. One important function of the filter maintenance trainee program is long-term sustainability of our efforts. Where sustainability issues are addressed, development projects tend to succeed.

    After a delay of several months trying to get the right Field Kit, we now have the use of both the Hack Kit and Wagtech Arsenator for six months, courtesy of the DWSS and UNICEF. This will allow us to now check the outflow water from the filters several times a year, and ensures the quality of arsenic safe water from the filter.

  • Aerial view of Mt. Everest by Kerem Barut / Download Wallpaper