The following questions highlight steps you can take to ensure your project’s success:

A. Understanding the local situation is key to a successful project.

  • What water sources do most locals use?
  • What are the impurities that must be removed?
  • Do people currently filter, boil, chlorinate, or otherwise purify their water?
  • What other purification methods are locally available? At what price?
  • What studies have been done to learn if people in the local community are receptive to the idea of using this or any kind of water filter?

  • Have they traditionally used ceramic water jugs for storage in the past?
  • What is the climate? Is there a rainy season?
  • How long?
  • Is the area politically stable?
  • Identify local laboratories capable of conducting water quality tests.

B. We recommend partnering with an existing pottery or brick-making workshop, ideally one that would have experience with marketing and health. Utilizing competent local potters will help ensure project success.

  • Is there presently a relationship between the potters or pottery collective and the sponsoring organization?
  • What kind of pottery do they produce?
  • What temperature do they fire to?
  • Do they have a history of being able to meet quotas?
  • Do local potters also have the experience and ability to fabricate lidded clay receptacles with a five to seven gallon capacity?
  • How far are the potters’ sites from the sponsoring organization’s operations?
  • How will management of the facility be structured? It will be very important to have a highly involved liaison responsible for management and communications between the two groups.
  • How will employees/skilled labor be paid?
  • By whom?
  • What is the distance between the factory site and the market (projected distribution area)?

C. Having a sustainable marketing plan is even more critical than the initial level of funding.

  • Who will provide the financial resources ($25,000-$30,000 USD) for start up?
  • How many visits by PWB consultants including airfare, per diem and stipend have been budgeted?
  • Who will provide the on-going business loans or subsidies for marketing?
  • For inventories of plastic components?
  • How large is their in-country staff?
  • What is the procedure for attaining approval and/or quality recognition from the Ministry of Health?

Identify local health promoters/NGOs through which the filter can be marketed in bulk. Contact them to evaluate their interest in the product.
Identify a local print shop to make brochures; instructional stickers; and educational, health, and marketing materials.

D. Communications

  • Does the ceramic workshop communicate through the internet?
  • Does the site have Internet access within or nearby?
  • Do they have a website?
  • Does anyone there speak, read and write English or Spanish?

E. The availability of facilities and suppliers can also determine project sustainability.

  • How far from the workshop is an adequate and affordable clay supply?
  • Is the clay plastic and of good quality?
  • How do the potters presently process their clay?
  • How far away is the site located from an adequate and affordable source of fuel and combustible (burnout) materials?
  • How will the clay, fuel, and combustible materials be transported, by whom, and at what cost?
  • Does the site have electricity? For how many hours a day?
  • What voltage and amperage is consistently available?
  • Does the site have piped water or a consistent water supply? How often is water unavailable?
  • Are high quality bricks available for kiln building? What sizes are available?
  • Is there a machine shop where repair items can be fabricated nearby?
  • Are there any restrictions on the importation of colloidal silver?
  • Is there a nearby source of affordable plastic bags?

Identify your local or foreign supplier of plastic five gallon pails and oversized lids; price, and availability.
Identify your local or foreign supplier of plastic faucets; price, and availability.

Needed Equipment
Please study the list and pictures. Is there:

  • A hammer mill
  • A hydraulic press
  • A clay mixer
  • A pug mill
  • Potters wheels
  • A kiln (please indicate interior size, type of fuel used, and firing temperature)
  • Production and storage space (indicate square footage of each)
  • Shelving for 1000 filters

The Workshop:

  • Date established
  • Type of production
  • Forming or production method(s) utilized
  • Number and size of kilns
  • Equipment currently installed
  • Electrical: Voltage and amperage available
  • Water availability
  • Number of men and women workers
  • Vehicles
  • How is pottery presently is marketed and distributed?

Potters Without Borders wants to work with you to create a social enterprise that will be not only sustainable, but profitable for all involved, and especially to the benefit of those most in need of potable drinking water. We have found that the presence of the above conditions all contribute to a successful project, but we recognize that you may not initially be able to obtain them all without help. Please let us know which of these items you will be able to put in place yourself, and which items you think will require our assistance. We look forward to your questions.

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