Ceramic Water Filters

BARKA is working together with Poceram, a Burkina-based ceramic company, and Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement de Ouagadougou (2iE) to create a sustainable business to combat the crisis of waterborne disease through the production, sale and distribution of ceramic water filters.

Ceramic Water Filters are:

  • Simple, low-tech and inexpensive
  • Effective at filtering out 99.97% of pathogens that cause diarrhea
  • Environmentally sustainable
  • Easy to use and maintain, lightweight and portable
  • Long-lasting (average lifespan is 3-5 years)
  • Culturally familiar (water is traditionally stored in ceramic urns); leads to high adoption rates

Ceramic filters are well adapted to the context of Burkina Faso and pose an ideal solution to make clean drinking water more available for people who must often drink dirty water from rivers and standing pools to stay alive.

Innovative Business Model: In order to get filters into the hands of those who need them most– the poorest of the poor who have the least ability to pay for them, this venture will use something known as “cross subsidization”. In this model, filters are sold at a profit to NGOs and the urban middle class who can afford them.

Part of the profit is then used to subsidize the price of a filter for rural villagers who would not otherwise be able to afford them.

The World Health Organization (WHO) cites CWFs as one of the most promising solutions for household water treatment and safe storage for the developing world and has calculated that household water interventions lead to a social return on investment (SROI) of $60 for every $1 invested.

Project Partners:

  • Poceram
  • Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement (2iE)
  • Baker & McKenzie
  • Princeton-in-Africa
  • Pure Home Water (filter supplier in Ghana; affiliated with MIT)
  • Thirst-Aid (Myanmar)
  • Potters for Peace

For more information about this developing social enterprise, please download our 2-page summary or contact us for the business plan which was a semi-finalist in the Global Social Venture Competition and won 1st place at the Ariane de Rothschilds Fellowship at Judge Business School, Cambridge, England.