Abundant Water has been on the ground in Laos since 2011, working to make clean water more easily accessible.
Availability of water in Laos
Laos has an abundance of water - however, a large proportion of the population live in remote villages without access to a reliable supply of clean drinking water.
This inadequate supply of drinking water, along with poor sanitation, sewerage and hygiene causes a high incidence of gastro-intestinal diseases, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and cholera. The World Bank estimates that each year in Laos there are 3 million cases of disease and 6,000 premature deaths directly linked to unclean water and poor sanitation.
Introduction of clay water filters
In 2011 we established our training compound and filter production facility. We also trained five potters from remote villages to produce clay-pottery water filters. The course lasted five weeks and at the completion of training course all of the potters were able to produce a filter that produced drinking water that met the Laos national drinking water standard.
Initially, we travelled to 12 villages to conduct water use surveys, take water samples for testing and find our trainees. We used our new filter production facility as a training resource to communicate how to use the filter correctly and why it is important to do so. We also managed to capture the training process and produce a training video and a Lao language booklet.
Where we are now
By 2014, Abundant Water was working with Water Empowerment in Zambia, providing remote mentoring via the internet to local potters to produce water filters themselves, for which we were nominated for a UN award.
Our commitment to establishing micro-businesses is ever-growing, with Lao business people selling our filters independently - pay off! Khampang became our first micro-business vendor, followed quickly by another named Bounsee. We are now also in the early stages of working with several new vendors.