H2WOO - Water Well Cleaning Kit

H2WOO - Water Well Cleaning Kit

Bucuresti, RomaniaBucuresti , Romania
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project focuses to create an accessible kit for filtering and monitoring the quality of water from, but not limited to, water wells. The kit will include an instruction manual and several kit versions depending on the locally available materials.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The problem addressed by this project is that while Romania is a member of EU, only 16% of its rural drinking water sources are safe to use (src: http://goo.gl/MuS866). While the project is globally applicable, our focus is on the 7,572,175 affected Romanians from the country's rural areas. Their involvement in food production (grains, fruits, vegetables and animal products) directly affect the safety of increasingly promoted "organic" products.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The proposed solution is a kit for filtering and monitoring water from water wells, having two components: 1. A comprehensive instruction manual on how to build the filter and/or monitoring device. The manual will include detailed instructions on how to choose materials and items, on how to find equivalent parts, on how using different types of filtering agents impact the impurities, on the factors that influence the safety of water etc. 2. A variable set of items required to complete the filtering/monitoring device. The kit should be flexible enough in providing only the items not available locally, in order to minimize the overall costs. At its minimum, the kit includes a contaminant detection kit based on microbial fuel cells.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Romania rural economy was affected by E. coli infection of cucumbers, with an estimated local impact of 9 mil. euro for June 2011 alone. The total direct community damages were 400 mil. euro adding another 150 mil. euro through community support programs. The root cause of this event was the unavailability of reasonable filtering and monitoring devices for water, as E. coli is a pathogen resident in the digestive tract of animals and can easily infect agricultural water supplies. Small amount investments in bio-compatible filtration and monitoring devices, such as microbial fuel cells, could have helped save at least 550 mil. euro in agricultural damages, more than 20 mil. euro for treatments and prevented at least 19 confirmed deaths.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is a variety of products on the market for water filtration. Through our solution we will have the following advantages: 1. The product is cheap and uses locally available materials; 2. It's easy to make and it comes with a comprehensive guide; 3. Allows chemical and biological decontamination; all chemical decontamination devices are expensive; the needed components for chemical cleaning are already in water, we're just providing the right environment; 4. It is self-powering and is monitoring at the same time water quality; 5. It is organic - in balance with the entire environment.
About You
Organization:
Pro Youth Association
About You
First Name

Anca

Last Name

Pricop

About Your Project
Organization Name

Pro Youth Association

Organization Country

, B, Bucuresti

Country where this project is creating social impact

, B, Bucuresti

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

I was working on a university project involving microbial fuel cells - devices that use benign microbes usually found in water to produce electricity by consuming contaminants. While searching for a filtering membrane online, I found the OKO filtering system and their report about water quality, including in Romania. Remembering 2011 E. coli infected cucumbers problem, that could be easily avoided by using cleaner water. Using microbial fuel cells combined with a mechanical filtration system (slow sand), the resulted water can be decontaminated both biologically - through slow sand and chemical - by microorganisms naturally occurring in that water, while monitoring the contaminants by directly measuring the produced electrical currents.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Sanitation and Hygiene, Water, Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers, Supply Chain Micro-entrepreneurs.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Our target are villagers, farmers from countryside. We can reach them in two ways: First, through the local officials. We will begin with our local partners in South-West Oltenia/Bucharest regions and by example try to gather local officials from other regions.
Second, through the church because Romania is a religious country. Almost all Romanians are proud Christians. Therefore, priests will be taught about our solution and then they share their knowledge to the villagers.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

The future impact consist in two ways:
1. The social impact generated by ”food safety” concept which refers to safer food and as a result we will have healthier people with less medical problems caused by
non salubrious food.
2. The economic impact resulted from ”food safety” concept which is explained by increasing the number of customers because they are interested to buy safe food and without chemicals.
We're thinking to impact not only the local population, but the European Union as a whole. Why restriction are enforced to preserve the safety of goods crossing internal borders, the high level of corruption prevents this goal to be achieved. Thus, using a low cost, easy to make device to increase the safety of the products will affect directly the suppliers. Using safe water will provide the premise of higher quality goods.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

As a prospective we can apply this idea in all the developing countries through religious missions, locally non-governmental and governmental organization
which are directly in touch with the potential customers. They will help us make some campaigns for informing the people about this device and teaching them how to use it. The amount of money we'll provide us the means to develop the guide (buying materials and testing best setups) and then send it in printed form to all our partners.
Our partners are: the University of Bucharest 3Nano-SAE Research Center - providing scientific support and the Gorj Local County Council County, Delta Cultural Foundation, C4C Association - from which we will use their infrastructure to extend our reach.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

I designed this project in this way because I wanted to keep the costs at minimum for financial sustainability . 15% of the value of sold kits will be used to support further promotion costs. Our estimated costs for promotion are around 13,500 euro/year. This include staff partial salaries (4 persons x 3285 euro / year, covered from sold kits) and web hosting (360 euro/year (supported by one of our sponsors, Extreme Training LTD.).

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I do not have previous entrepreneurial experience but I think my studies about food inspection and expertise corroborated with the concern for water pollution in our country and the diseases caused by this fact helped me to grow and fight against this major problem, I have extensive experience (more than 3 years) in the projects managed by Pro-Youth Association, in which I've occupied executive positions.

randomness