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Toddler girl standing next to an outdoor water tap

With your support, we’re working to bring safe water to communities like Kenya’s Korogocho slum.

Individuals help PATH improve access to safe water

On the days when rationed water does not flow from the legal taps in Korogocho, a slum just north of Nairobi, thousands of people face a dismal and potentially dangerous choice. Do they use the rainwater they’ve collected, spend scarce income on questionable water sold by vendors, or take their chances by drinking from a polluted stream?

Since early 2009, some residents of the crowded slum have had another choice. At a small kiosk run by members of the Redeemed Gospel Church, safe, clean water costs just pennies for 20 liters.

The technology behind the kiosk’s clean water is the result of partnership between PATH, a Seattle collaborator, and individual donors who, through innovation funding, provided the means to launch the work.

Safe water flows from new technologies

In slums and rural areas of the developing world, sewage and other pollutants quickly find their way into water used for drinking, cooking, and washing. Illness, including life-threatening diarrheal disease, often results. With support from people like you, PATH and our partners are exploring ways to increase access to safe water.

Our donors are helping PATH make safe water a fact of life in communities throughout the world.

In Korogocho, our team used $20,000 of innovation funding, the kind of support our donors provide, to develop and test the “Smart Electrochlorinator”: a technology that uses salt, water, and a small amount of electricity to produce a chlorine solution that can purify water. Cascade Designs Inc. worked with PATH to make sure the electrochlorinator can stand up to the sometimes harsh conditions of the developing world.

After initial testing and refinement in Korogocho, the technology is ready to be field tested at a half-dozen other locations in Kenya and Zimbabwe. It’s already providing safe water in one neighborhood of Kisumu, Kenya.

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There, Carolyne Otieno, an entrepreneurial woman known to her neighbors as Mama Meg, sells water drawn from her well and purified with chlorine generated by the Smart Electrochlorinator. Business has been so good that Mama Meg hopes to install an electric pump and 5000-liter storage tank to help meet demand—and generate much-needed income to feed her family.

Bringing water home to families

In India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, PATH has completed research that reveals what families think about the water they use and how they act to keep their water supplies safe. Now we’re working with partners to develop better products to treat water within homes. Just as important, we’re designing plans for promotion and distribution to ensure that once products reach the marketplace, they will be affordable and acceptable to consumers.

Innovation funding has made it possible for us to work toward making safe water a fact of life. With your support, reliable supplies of safe water are moving within reach, no matter where families live.

Photos, from top: PATH/Jesse Schubert, PATH/Mike Wang.