Health Challenge Past Interns: 2008
Katie Camille Friedman, 2010, Chemical Engineering
Portable Water for Global Health
"Water quality is a serious issue in Nigeria, and many communities, both urban and rural, do not have access to potable water. After two years of preliminary research, Prof. Soboyejo and a group of 4 students traveled to Abeokuta with two goals: to start a ceramic water filter factory and to survey a community to begin a study on the impact of the filter. We chose to use the Potters for Peace ceramic filter model because it is effective and produced locally with local materials, clay and sawdust. When firing the ceramic filter, the sawdust burns out and leaves behind a network of fine pores. Reinforced by absorption of a colloidal silver solution that acts as an antiseptic, the filter is effective in removing waterborne bacteria as well as turbidity. In Abeokuta, our team set up a factory by gathering the necessary materials and training a local team. As the factory continues to increase production, we are working to develop an effective marketing plan. We worked in conjunction with the University of Agriculture - Abeokuta and, with the help of local faculty and students, conducted surveys in a village of approximately 50 families to establish their current water situation. With the help of the local students, we will follow this village for the next year to see if the filter has an impact on their health and general quality of life."