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Former students of the university of applied sciences in Regensburg provide people in Africa with sustainable water filters.

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by Kristin Frauenhoffer

photo: Hydro Solution e.V.

Goethe once said: „Water is a friendly element for those who is aquainted with it and knows how to treat it.“ While developed countries now dispose of the technology to treat their water, 2 billions of people worldwide still have noch access to clean water. The organisation Hydro Solution formed by students aims to change that.

The beginnings of Hydro Solution

It all started 4 years ago. A friend of Nina Auer and Maximilian Dötterl, now both board members of the organisation, told them about disastrous hygienic conditions in southern Kenya. Many of the children were suffering from severe diseases like typhus and diarrhoea caused by contaminated water. Because of that they could not attend school. „That moved us deeply and it encouraged us to start helping in a sustainable way.“, says Nina Auer today.

A sustainable water filter is put in place

Quickly they set up an interdisciplinary team of engineers, social scientists, econimists, chemists and biologists where everyone could contribute in the best way possible. They started researching immediately. Their goal was to find a water filter that was not only efficient and cheap but also easy to built with the ressources found in Africa. One year and countless trials later the filtration method was found: an adaption of a traditional sand filter used for 200 years, which can filter 99 % of all pathogenic germs from the water.

First visit in the land of the Massai: „We were deeply effected by what we saw.“

In February 2017 some team members travelled to Kenya for the first time to get an impression of the situation on-site. „Even though we knew what to expect, we were deeply effected by what we saw.“, says Nina. The country was going through a long dry period at that time. Because of that the students came across countless cows, sheep and goats drinking from nearly dried up rivers and simultaneously contaminating it. „And the people were standing next to it using the same water for all their daily needs like washing clothes, cooking and even drinking.“, Nina continues.

photo: Hydro Solution e.V.

They came across adults and children suffering from typhus because of the contaminated water and it moved them deeply. That motivated the dedicated students from Germany to go beyong themselves. And their hard work finally paid off: „A big smile spread over the children´s faces when the first filter was put in place and started producing clear water.“, says Nina about the moment that will be remembered by everyone forever.

Number of severe deseases reduced by 80 %

But also concerning people´s health their efforts paid off: the pilot, that had started in the beginning of 2017 at a Kenyan school showed that the number of severe deseases was reduced by 80 %.

Locals produce the filters themselves (photo: Hydro Solution e.V.)

Now, around 3 years after the implementation of the first filter, the small team has grown into a  registered organisation – Hydro Solution e.V. – with 20 active members and 7 paid employees in Kenya.
The Kenyan team is continuing the project, providing households and schools with the filters. „Our priority is to do community capacity building. That means helping people to help themselves. We are aiming to reach that goal by educating the locals and our partners through workshops, know how transfer and seminars in different fields. We also trained our Kenyan employees to organise themselves.“, Nina Auer tells good news for you. So over time we have created a network of equal partners working together on the project.

Sustainable success: Hydro Solution creates jobs and perspectives

group foto (Nina Auer behind, third from the right) with a team from Kenya (photo: Hydro Solution)

In that way Hydro Solution e.V. takes one step further: not only do they provide the technology in form of readymade filters, but they establish fruitful conditions so that locals can produce them all by themselves. In cosequence they help creating jobs, people are developing their skills and improve their long-term perspectives. Hydro Solution is a perfect example of the right type of development cooperation.
In addition to that the students aswell benefit from their voluntary work for the organisation and learn news skills. Not only did they develop their own concept for using the filter technology – above all their technical manager Maximilan Dötterl – they also continue researching, creating sponsorships and building cooperations in Kenya, for example with health centres.

Objective for 2021: provide at least 10.000 people with clean water

Until now the organisation was able to give more than 6300 people access to clean drinking water. With its help more than 250 household filters and 6 bigger filters for schools were produced. And the monthly list of orders is growing.

The next objective is now to reach at least 10.000 people. Hydro Solution gets help from the Rotary Club Dingolfing-Landau in order to achieve that goal.
Their primary objective though is to continue using the project´s potential for growth. Because a lot has to be done: find new partners, refine the filter technology so that it can adapt more easily to changing on-site conditions, offer more opportunities for learning – that means workshops and seminars. So that more and more people get access to clean water.

„To realise all that we hope and wish for people to support our mission and help us however possible activly. At the same time we are always thankful for every financial help we can get.“, Nina Auer concludes. In that way we can all do our part to help spreading smiles over the children´s faces.

The production of one filter costs around 40 €. With its help a large family and even a whole school class can be provided with clean drinking water.

Read more about Hydro Solution and how you can help here: https://www.hydrosolution.org

 

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