A Short History of AVFCW
o Short history of your project: What first motivated you to start a water project? What was your first step? In 2002, founders of A Vision for Clean Water, John and Eileen Heasley, saw the dire need for clean water when they visited their son in Nepal. With the help of MIT students they provided two filters to an orphanage then quickly learned that to make their project sustainable, they needed more training. They attended the CAWST biosand filter training and founded AVFCW.
o What does the project look like now, and how did it grow to where it is today? Our mission today is to bring safe drinking water and sanitation to the poorest in the world. To offer support and encouragement to others who share this mission. We conduct yearly training for those interested in household filters, sanitation or rainwater harvesting and have helped train over 100 others.. We continue to work in Nepal and have provided filters and more to 9 villages and over 30 schools there.
o Summary of activities: What project activities take up most of your time? How do you involve the end users? How did CAWST support your work? Most of our time is spent educating others abut filters. We have hosted CAWST training here in Michigan and provided training to over 100 who want to work with household filters of rainwater harvesting in developing countries. Our next training will be a sanitation workshop in February, 2012. Our end users are the participants who have gone to over 15 developing countries ready for the challenges they will face. We continue to answer their questions and connect them with CAWST experts.
We continue to work in Nepal by partnering with Rotary International, ENPHO (Environmental and Public Health Organization) other groups to provide Kanchan Arsenic and ceramic filters or toilets to villages and schools. The end users receive quarterly hygiene training for one year but also important for them they have built an ongoing relationship with ENPHO that sometimes gives them other opportunities for more help like toilets.
CAWST has strongly supported our efforts. Their technical help is outstanding. Those working in the field are fast and efficient with their technical advice. They have provided excellent and experienced trainers for the workshops.
o Outcomes: What aspect of the project are you most proud of? What has the project achieved so far? We are most proud of the way we have leveraged our experiences in Nepal to help over 100 others do similar work in developing countries.
o Challenges: What were the biggest challenges you faced? What challenges do you think you will face in the future? We are all volunteers. We face the challenge of a small budget. In the future, we face the challenge to grow in a way that is sustainable.
o Lessons Learned: What have you learned from the experience? What advice would you have for other implementers? In everything we do we are flexible. We ask our end users what they want and need. We primarily learned that users must be vested in the project for it to be successful. They must ask to participate, spend time training and they must contribute something to the project for it to be successful.
o Plans for the future: Where do you see the project in one year? In five years?We plan to use this year to plan and have already had two planning sessions. From these sessions we can say what will come in the next five years.