The need to reach millions
BioSandFilter.org believes that the provision of safe water and sanitation is fundamental to poverty alleviation. We are convinced that appropriate technology is one of the tools needed to achieve the millennium development goals for water and sanitation. These targets are to reduce by half before 2015, the 1.1 billion people who currently do not have access to improved water supply.
To do this, solutions are needed that can reach millions and hundreds of millions of people, not merely the thousands and tens of thousands targeted by conventional water projects. Such technology needs to be cheap, mass-producible, effective and simple to use and maintain. Bio-sand filters combine all that, as is evident from the information available on this site.
Secondly, a market-driven environment needs to be created where consumers’ needs are met – even if these consumers happen to be poor. It is estimated that more than 35 billion Euros have been spent on water and sanitation interventions during the last decade. Yet, the results have not been impressive. Many large-scale projects have been unsustainable usually because the users were not properly involved during the project design, nor consulted on what they were actually willing to pay for.
Smaller community-based projects have been more successful. However, it takes a lot of time and resources to achieve meaningful community participation and contribution. Hence, it is very difficult to repeat such projects on a larger scale. A market-driven approach avoids these pitfalls, if sufficient demand is created for what consumers consider an attractive product. Social marketing has proved an efficient tool for the marketing of beneficial goods.