Potters for Peace

19 May 2008

Potters for Peace…is a U.S. based nonprofit, a network of potters, educators, technicians, supporters, and volunteers. Founded in Nicaragua in 1986, we work primarily in Central America although our water filter projects are worldwide.

PFP is a unique organization devoted to socially responsible development and grass roots accompaniment among potters.

Mission Statement:
Our goals are to offer support, solidarity and friendship to developing world potters; assist with appropriate technologies sustained using local skills and materials; help preserve cultural traditions; and assist in marketing locally, regionally and internationally

The vast majority of potters in Central America are rural women and the core work for Potters for Peace has always been assisting these hard working people to earn a better living.

Every day 5.000 children die due to unsanitary water, (WHO 2005). Since 1998 Potters for Peace has travelled the world teaching the fabrication of a low-cost ceramic water filter, helping to bring clean, potable water to those who need it most.

Since 1998, Potters for Peace has been assisting in the production worldwide of a low-tech, low-cost, colloidal silver-enhanced ceramic water purifier (CWP). Field experience and clinical test results have shown this filter to effectively eliminate approximately 99.88% of most water born disease agents.

Every year there are 1.7 million deaths, mainly children under the age of five, due to diarrhoea caused by unsafe water. The U.N.’s Millennium Development Goal is to halve the number of people unable to reach or afford safe drinking water by the year 2015. Achieving this would require that at least 125,000 people be connected to safe water supplies each day before the 2015 target. Diseases related to inadequate water and sanitation cause an estimated 80% of all sickness in the developing world.

Safe drinking water is a precondition for health and the fight against child mortality, gender inequality and poverty. Women and children, especially girls, bear the burden of time spent collecting and transporting water, meaning less time available for activities such as school, essential to escaping the trap of extreme poverty.

This is the twenty first century but water and sanitation remain mired in the Middle Ages for one-third of the world.

Incredibly, this problem is still not being realistically addressed, high- tech solutions are proposed, but in general there is no investment in technology that can easily be copied by local workshops in developing countries.

The ultimate objective of the CWP project is to meet this urgent demand for safe water in rural and marginalized communities, and provide employment for local potters.

Potters for Peace is a member of the World Health Organization’s International Network to Promote Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage.

What is the CWP FILTER?
It is a simple, pressed bucket shape 11” wide by 10” deep, made with a mix of local terra-cotta clay and sawdust or other combustible, such as rice husks. The simplest press utilizes a hand-operated hydraulic truck jack and two-piece aluminium mould. The combustible ingredient, which has been milled and screened, burns out in the firing leaving a network of fine pores.

After firing the filter is coated with colloidal silver. This combination of fine pore size, and the bactericidal properties of colloidal silver produce an effective filter.

A benchmark filtration rate of between one and three litres per hour is attained by fine tuning the clay/combustible mix and firing temperature.

For use the fired, treated filter element is placed in a five gallon plastic or ceramic receptacle with a lid and faucet. Filter units are sold for about $10-15 with the basic plastic receptacle. Replacement filter elements cost about $4.00. Production and transportation costs vary from country to country and a basic shop with three or four workers can produce about fifty filters a day.

Recent Progress:
In 2007 projects were completed in Yemen, Benin, Kenya, Tanzania, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, 2008 plans include filter work in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and several more tentative projects in South America, Africa and Asia.                                                                                                                    

To find out more about Potters for Peace and the valuable work they are doing see www.pottersforpeace.org website or contact Peter Chartrand At P.O. Box 1043 Bisbee, Az, USA. 85603 Phone: 001-520-249-8093 – email is available from their website.