Clean Water for Kenya

Water disinfection through solar radiation – a simple and cheap solution to produce clean drinking water for people living close to the poverty line! This June, we and our Boehringer Ingelheim colleagues from BE GREEN, in cooperation with the social enterprise HELIOZ, launched a pilot project in Kenya to improve drinking water quality. HELIOZ offers a simple solution for treating drinking water - through UV radiation. Their product WADI (WAter DIsinfection), is a solar-powered UV measurement device that visualizes the process of solar water disinfection (SODIS) in PET bottles.*

The first implementation phase is completed

After three months, we can see the first results: The Project covers six sites in Bungoma County, Western Kenya, where we have supported the construction of a new school building and around the MMH house supporting the elderly and persons living with Albinism. The team of HELIOZ has sensitized and trained 120 members of the MMH community on the importance of knowing the kind of water they were drinking and how to collect water samples for testing. The challenge - most of them heard about solar water disinfection method for the first time and many misconceptions about water treatment through solar were addressed.

Impact on the ground

Altogether, HELIOZ supported the project with 140 devices.  Especially in times of COVID-19 it was quite challenging to train the people, while the number of participants in a single training was limited to 20 persons due to the government COVID 19 guidelines. The devices have been issued to individual household members, local health facilities, and community leaders, including location chiefs, ward administrators, village elders, and local worship places. The next step will be to support the MMH school on the ground once it’s open again. The goal is to reach 6000 people in the following months.  

Next steps to follow up

Currently, the beneficiaries are using the WADI measurement device and field visits are ongoing to check on the usage and address any challenges encountered. During the rainy season, the sun isn’t very powerful, so the people are treating large volumes of water to save clean water for at least two to three days due to poor weather. In the second phase of the project, our partner and we will use the collected data for a survey tool to measure the impact. Stay tuned for further updates and read more about the project here. 

* SODIS is a Point of Use treatment system that uses solar radiation to inactivate waterborne pathogens (= microbiological contamination). The SODIS method has been developed in the 1980s and was further investigated by the Swiss research institute EAWA