Improving Access to Clean Water: Uduak Affia’s story

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Dr. Affia in pink top during the biosand filter training in PH

PIND trained Uduak Affia’s Lazarus Care Mission International in July. She has since led her team to establish a biosand filter production facility in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, established links with UNICEF’s WASH team in Akwa Ibom State and is actively promoting the biosand filter in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. Learn more about how she’s making an impact in water access in the Niger Delta.

 What does your organization do? Lazarus Care was founded in 1999 as an organization with a vision to empower people in health, education and social welfare through partnership. The head office is in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with field offices in Cross River and Akwa Ibom State. LCMI was formed by housewives who used their own money to carry out medical services to communities in need. Our work started with HIV/AIDS, then to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), tuberculosis, as well as healthcare and support.

When did you start training on the biosand filter? We trained on the biosand filter this year. We have had 13 staff trained by PIND [seven in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and six in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State]. We ordered 64 Hydraid imported filters from PIND, and we have sent about seven to Akwa Ibom Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (AKRUWASSA). The Calabar team has also installed a filter for Cross Rivers State Rural Water Sanitation Agency (CRRUWASSA) and is trying to facilitate more installations through increased awareness. We will be installing 20 in November. We will also be working with PIND on a project in Bayelsa State.

How did you get local community members to buy into the product? We make sure to install filters for community leaders free of charge. This helps promote the filters and aids promotion of the filters in the local communities.

How many filters have you sold? We have installed 10 for the village heads. We’ve just started with the selling of the Hydraid filters, but we have installed four already and have plans ready to install 20 in November alone. We should be able to install 15 locally made filters in the following month as well.

What messages resonate with people that make them want to try the filters? People are mindful about their health, so what’s helped us is promoting the filter is cost-effectiveness because people spend so much buying and treating water. Also, because it’s household water treatment, you can have access to it in your own house.

What value has the bio-sand filter brought to communities? I noticed that a lot of people have imbibed the culture of boiling, so the filters reduce the labor associated with securing clean water. One person even asked me if they can sell their own water, and really nothing stops them from doing it! Having clean water also gives them confidence, because people say “I don’t have to drink it with fear.”

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