Providing clean drinking water for 200 households (1,500 people) in Ko'odiya Village, Afar Region, Ethiopia.


200 households (1,500 people) in Ko’odiya Village, Buramudayto district.


May 2009 - Ongoing

Local Implementing Partner

Afar Pastoralist Development Organization (APDA)


OCM Manufacturing (50% of project budget)

Project Rationale

The Afar Region is one of the driest, hottest, inhabited places on Earth. The under-ground water table is very deep and many depend on what little surface water they are able to collect.  Being such a dry environment, water is the crucial need. This surface water is typically contaminated with animal and human waste resulting in much disease. Consequently, diarrhea is among the top three morbidities for the region.

There are few water development projects in the Region. Currently approximately 30 boreholes and several hundred shallow wells provide some water. A lack of well and pump maintenance regularly leave up to 60% of the wells out-of-use. The communities must therefore search for water as either rain water, digging for water in river beds (buyya), harvesting steam in highly volcanic land (boyna) or constructing ponds and cisterns to capture rainwater and run offs.

Given the poor water quality, diarrhea is inevitably among the three top morbidities in the Afar Region, especially among children. More specifically, diarrhea and ultimately dehydration is accountable for as much as 30% of deaths in Afar children.

The BioSand Filters that Can-Go Afar is deploying, a Canadian technology, remove up to 99% of organic contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, worms and particles. Safe water produced by the filters is free of discoloration, odour and unpleasant taste, and can be used for drinking, food preparation, personal hygiene, and sanitation. These home-based devices can produce about 45 liters of water per hour. The device uses local materials and has no moving parts.

Project Implementation

In the Ko’odiya village, Buramudayto district (Woreda), the community is currently getting water for drinking but it is contaminated. The community is therefore subject to repeated outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea as well as other types of diarrhea. This water is often contaminated with animal and human waste.

The Can- Go Afar Foundation is funding the construction of 50 biosand water filters in the village, through our local implementing partner APDA. One filter will be constructed to serve clean drinking water for 4 households or around 24 people, using 6 people as an average household size.

During construction, one person from each beneficiary household will be trained in the construction and maintenance of the filter. Selection will be carried out by the Project Committee on the basis of the person’s enthusiasm to be trained and ability to devote time to the filter. The project will be closely monitored by local implementing partner, APDA, and quarterly activity and financial reporting will be provided to the Can – Go Afar Foundation.

Project cost is C $20,000, which includes construction, monitoring and training of the beneficiaries on the construction and maintenance of the BioSand water filters.

OCM Manufacturing has made a $10,000 contribution for this project, being one of the biggest project sponsors for our Foundation.

Sanitation is a global concern. Spending a small amount of money to improve the quality of drinking water in Africa can benefit the whole world because healthy populations increase self-sufficiency and enable stronger economies. Pandemics have taught us that we all have a stake in ensuring our neighbours’ health.

- Dr. Michel Jullian, President and CEO of OCM Manufacturing

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