DRC: when you’ve got drinking water, you can attend school!

We use digital technology everywhere to advance education, professional training and healthcare, but some very isolated regions have no access to digital. That’s where we focus our attention!
This is the purpose of our Orange Villages programme. In the Democratic Republic of Congo village of Mudusa, we supply essential infrastructure to give the population access to a decent life: “a water point, a healthcare centre, a school”. In Africa’s most isolated, underprivileged villages, gaining access to water is a highly time-consuming task, which deprives girls, tasked with water-carrying, of the opportunity of education... whilst also being detrimental to their health. Through our partnership with the charity SOS Enfants and the Lide, we have optimised water treatment in the village, alongside existing infrastructures.

 

 

Better access to drinking water for the healthcare centre

The village has a source of drinking water located 500 metres away from the hospital. We took advantage of this proximity to install a direct gravity water supply to the hospital. This technique brings water via a piping network from the water source to the consumer. This system improves hygiene in the hospital.
 

 

4 bio-sand filters available in Mudusa

Furthermore, the Orange Village in Mudusa now has four bio-sand filters. Training will be organised to enable the population to develop this system among the families.
The Lide was given training by Friendly Water in the construction of bio-sand filters that groups of villagers can build in the village to filter the drinking water.

These filters are built with sand and cement, containing gravel to trap microbes. The Lide has already used this technique in a number of healthcare centres in North Kivu and Uvira.
 
Diagram of bio-sands filters, principle of operation

 

Bio-sand filter construction stages

A. Get the equipment and tools necessary to build the filter’s concrete body: moulds, sieves, trowels, shovels, hammers, tape measures, plastic tubes, piping, cement...

B. Get the sand and gravel: Sand from crushed rock is recommended, as there is less risk of contamination by pathogens and organic matter. If crushed rock is not available, sand from high river banks which has not been in the water, sand from the river bed or sand from a beach.

C. Prepare the sand and gravel:
1. Sieve the sand and gravel

2. Wash the filter gravel:

  • Repeat until the water in the recipient is clear.
  • Place all the gravel on a tarpaulin or flat concrete surface in the sun in order to let it dry. This stage is very important; if the gravel or washing water contains micro-organisms, it helps disinfect the gravel.
  • Cover the gravel before storage to keep it dry.

3. Wash the filter sand: place a small quantity of 0.7 mm in a recipient approximately 10cm deep, pour twice this quantity of water into the recipient, stir the sand 10 times very quickly by hand, ensuring that your fingers touch the bottom of the recipient, so that all the sand moves. Empty the dirty water and repeat these stages 1 to 4 times.

D. Build the filter box:

  • Prepare a mould
  • Pour in the filter

E: Build the diffuser: it is a 3mm hole on a 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm grid. Larger holes will disturb the surface of the sand. Smaller holes will restrict the flow through the filter, resulting in a trickle flow.

F. Build the lid: the purpose of this stage is to prevent contamination of the water and sand.

 

 

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