Ethiopia – Water Filters

Minch for clean drinking water

Project goal

Production and distribution of water filters for families without access to clean drinking water.

Following the development of the first WHO-certified Ethiopian water filter, the aim is to offer a large part of the Ethiopian population the opportunity to consume clean drinking water in their own households through local production and distribution.

The problem

Ethiopia is blessed with thousands of kilometres of rivers. They rise in the green highlands and flow as lifelines through many arid areas. Even the Blue Nile rises here. So it may come as a surprise that millions of Ethiopians have no access to drinking water. More than 13 million Ethiopian families (about 65 million people) live barely more than half an hour’s walk from a murky river, but often travel two to six hours to bring home reasonably drinkable water. Another 9 million families (about 45 million people) have access to clean water within a 30-minute walk or even within their own homes, but they too repeatedly consume water of insufficient quality due to lack of clean transport containers and poor maintenance of distribution systems and water collection points. This leads to illness, high expenditure on medicines and, especially for under-five years old, often to death. Boiling water is not an option in many regions due to the lack of firewood or its high cost.

Although the Ethiopian government has addressed this challenge and has seen success in access to clean water in recent years, there is still no locally produced technology that could begin to solve the problem. The use of chlorine powder requires the highest discipline, and water filtration technologies have so far only been imported. However, because the country chronically suffers from a lack of foreign currency, imports are hardly a solution neither. Moreover, imported products can hardly be repaired locally.

Our approach

Since 2011, Desert Rose Consultancy, a social enterprise registered in Ethiopia, has focused on clean drinking water in Ethiopia. Through intensive research, a lot of patience and countless trials – with regular setbacks – they managed to develop a product that can overcome the challenges: The MINCH household water filter can be manufactured locally and far exceeds the performance of comparable filters produced abroad. The MINCH filter also has an internal water storage capacity of 15 litres, protected from external contamination – a feature that avoids storage in containers that are often contaminated.

In November 2020, the MINCH filter was certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its efficiency in removing bacteria and protozoa. The tests showed that the filter removes over 99.99 % of harmful bacteria and larger pathogens. In addition, the filter was proven to eliminate over 99 % of viruses. The Ethiopian government also tested the filter and gave us the green light.

A new social enterprise

After years of research and development and the production and distribution of over 1000 filters, the production of the filters was handed over to a new company that will focus exclusively on producing the filters and bringing them to the market in larger quantities. An investor, who shares the heart of Desert Rose and intends to provide clean water for the Ethiopian people as well as jobs for disadvantaged people through a sustainable business idea, has taken on this task. Thus, Spring Household Manufacturing PLC was founded in March 2021. In the meantime, machines for production have been imported, a new production facility and a new office have been equipped, an internship opportunity for orphans has been offered and the team has been trained and prepared for production and sales. Production has now started and the first orders from international organisations as well as families and companies are being served. We currently employ four people with hearing disabilities.

As a small, social enterprise, we are always grateful for support, be it financial in the form of investments or donations or – almost more important – in the form of word-of-mouth marketing so that our filters meet more demand.

With your support we can bring clean water to Ethiopian households, reduce pollution from PET bottles and create jobs for disadvantaged people.

Are you with us? With heartfelt thanks, the MINCH team

If you have any further questions, please write to us directly at: info@minchfilter.com

René Wüthrich

President

"When people in need can be helped, my heart beats faster. Switzerland is richly blessed with great people, know-how and many resources. Taking responsibility for ensuring that this wonderful country invests in poor countries in a sustainable way is a great challenge that is a joy to take on.”