2012 Year End Activity Report

Field Work:

UNICEF Feasibility StudyBurt Cohen was sent to East Africa to study the feasibility of developing additional ceramic water filter production in Kenya. Burt visited the Turkana and Garissa regions and uncovered valuable information for future water filter projects in the area. We have partnered with UNICEF and other NGO’s in the region to expand production of CWF, such as the Rwanda factory established in 2005. At the moment we are waiting for funding and human resources to become available from these partners to continue this work.
German Red Cross/Red Cresent – SomalilandBurt Cohen and Kai Morrill traveled to Somaliland to work at the Biyo Miire CWF factory in Hargeisa, run by the Somaliland Red Crescent Society. During their short stay they were able to troubleshoot several issues, and expand production significantly. The key component in this visit was the construction of an improved propane kiln which fires over 100 filters at a time. Burt will be returning to the factory this spring to do safety evaluations, review production and see if we can assist the factory in making further advances. Read more about this at: (http://tinyurl.com/cgltk9g)
Healdsburg Community Church – Guinea BissauKai Morrill traveled to Guinea Bissau in November to undertake a feasibility study. He reports that the hosting Christian organization “Central Social”, was very welcoming and Kai was impressed with their administrative capabilities. Guinea Bissau has been suffering from political instability and lack of public sanitation infrastructure. The country has an extremely young population with slow economic development, the majority of the population suffers from water borne disease, avoidable by the use of ceramic pot filtration. If funds are located to develop the proposed factory, thousands of lives could be saved, and the world will be a better place. To donate to this project, or any other PWB endeavor, you can do so through our website, you may add specific details in the comment box. (http://www.potterswithoutborders.com/donate/)

“BISSAU, 31 March 2009 (IRIN) – With 80 percent of the Guinea Bissau capital’s water contaminated with harmful bacteria, residents are used to outbreaks of cholera and other deadly diarrheal diseases, but donors say they can fund major infrastructure projects only if stability can be guaranteed.” UN Humanitarian News.

Research and Development:

Factory MappingEarlier this year we began an effort to collect the contact information of all the factories we communicate with and this information has now been added to a single Google map, making contact with regional factories much easier. International buyers and others interested in the technology are now able to locate and connect with factories in their areas. It will also facilitate the development of safety standards for ceramic water filters. (http://goo.gl/maps/5d3CA)
Particle AnalysisRaw clays used in filter-making are dug from natural sources. The location for digging is chosen based on its regular consistency and the volume of supply; having a steady supply of clay available for factories’ production and expansion is very important to the long term success of the factory. There is a certain amount of variability in all natural clay sources; from week to week, the clay can vary significantly as the collection location moves along the vein. In order to maintain consistency, two or more clays of different qualities are often blended together. Clay bodies of variable particle distribution can be blended in appropriate proportions so that a more homogeneous mixture can be maintained.

This summer we published a set of protocols to establish a standard method for classifying clays for filter manufacturing. This procedure uses a standardized hydrometer to measure clay particle distribution as batches enter the factory and adjust the mixtures accordingly. For more information, and to download a copy of the protocols look here: (http://tinyurl.com/bpqy8kx)

The “Kosim Water Keg”Beginning in 2011 PWB has been helping researchers from MIT and Pure Home Water in Ghana to develop an improved ceramic filter unit which uses negative pressure to increase flow rates. We produced several prototype models that were shipped to American researchers who assembled and tested them. You can follow their results at: (http://tinyurl.com/c72w3le)

On The Road:

NCECAIn March, we sent Burt Cohen and Kai Morrill to the conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in Seattle. This is a large conference and trade show of industry, university, and ceramic arts professionals which meets once a year to hold workshops, demonstrations, and exhibitions. We shared a table with our colleagues from Potters For Peace and held meetings with several ceramic filter consultants. We also raised money for projects, spoke about our work, and signed up new members. (http://nceca.net/static/conference_home.php)


Howells UKThrough a partnership with Howells Railway Products, LLC. in Manchester, UK we were able to begin distribution of press and mold sets to Ethiopia, Somaliland, and Cameroon. The quality of the equipment is much improved from units manufactured in the field. Unfortunately, due to the challenges of moving equipment across multiple national borders, the implementation has been slower than hoped. We are actively working with local partner NGOs to get the molds into place and ready for production.
CameroonAn agreement has been reached with the African Center for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology (ACREST) to begin preliminary project development in Cameroon. ACREST is looking for stable funding partners to develop a factory as soon as is viable. The organization currently operates a factory which produces improved cook-stoves. This facility is an ideal candidate to diversify into CWF production because the materials and processes are similar. It is estimated that about $20,000 is required to initiate the new enterprise. Towards this end, a press and set of molds are already on the way from Europe.


Thanks very much to Beth Campbell of Ontario for fostering the work of Potters Without Borders. Beth spoke with communities about the organizations work.

Thanks to all those who attended the fundraiser at O’Keefe Ranch last summer, your assistance has helped expand projects that continue to bring filter technology to desperate areas.

Congratulations to Juliette Arabi of Hogar De Christo in Ecuador for beginning filter production at the Guyaquil filter factory!

Thanks to Tia McLennan and John Hatten for assisting with the newsletters, your help is much appreciated.

Why become a member?

Joining PWB allows us all to have a disproportionate impact in the world compared to our small size. Communities served by the factories which we assist have no alternative methods of getting safe water. We want to keep putting donations towards project specific expenses, in order for this to happen we need the membership dues for operating the Registered Charity. Each year we pay for the Website, Accounting expenses, Postage, Insurance, and Printing costs. It is our dues that keep the “organization” running. By paying dues you provide the basic operational structure necessary, for advancing our mission of fostering the building of ceramic water filter factories. We have no paid administrators, the only way we can continue to be sustainable is with with your help.

We are recruiting directors and other volunteers

Do you have experience or skills applicable to this position? Know someone who does? Contact: kai@potterswithoutborders.com

In particular, we are looking for volunteers with a background in accounting, law, organizational development, grant writing, and, most of all, who have energy and passion for helping Potters Without Borders grow and succeed in our mission. (http://www.potterswithoutborders.com/join/)

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