Guinea Water Project

Providing access to safe drinking water in Guinea, Africa with sustainable biosand water filters.
Jonathan Silverstein
467 Facebook Friends
5 Team Members


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Saving Lives, Uplifting Health

The Guinea Water Project is a volunteer campaign founded in Chicago, raising money to support Guineans and Americans working together to make sustainable biosand water filters. It costs $300 to make a filter which provides safe drinking water for ten people for ten years, freeing them from common waterborne diseases, including bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever.

Each of us can make a difference

With your help, we will raise $15,000 or more in the fall of 2014 to make more filters, and acquire molds, generators, drying racks, and other tools to build filter-making capacity.

We are all volunteers- artists, video makers, civil servants, web marketers, chefs and others- putting our talents together because we believe everyone should have access to safe water, so they will have the opportunity to build better lives for themselves, their families, and their community. 

All of the money raised will go to the Motherland Rhythm Community, Benkadi Project. The Motherland Rhythm Community is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which aids the people in Guinea, and offers programs in the U.S.

Thank you to Greenheart International by making a $1,000 contribution to become a lead sponsor of The Guinea Water Project

"In Guinea, people often drink from polluted streams and contaminated wells, causing serious and recurring illness and even death from cholera, dysentery, typhoid and E. Coli bacteria. Something as simple as clean drinking water can literally save lives in Guinea. Our organization builds and delivers innovative biosand water filters to homes in Guinea to address this problem. We employ community members to construct the filters and teach residents how to use them.”
-Benkadi Project co-founder
Helen Bond, on
Chicago Public Radio’s WorldView

Already, the Bekadai Project has installed a solar device and distributed self-contained solar lights; built and maintained a new school house while improving the old one and providing benches, tables and supplies; taken one village from one well to four; repaired a neighboring village well; built a youth center; and provided food, agricultural and emergency medical assistance. 

The Benkadi Project grew out of a trip which Helen Bond and Amy Lusk made to Guinea in 2001 to discover the birthplace of the Djembe Drum, their musical passion.What started as a trip grew into a relationship, which became a collaboration.

It began with the schoolhouse, which gave 140 children their first opportunity to attend school, learn to read and write, learn French (the language of business and politics in Guinea) and learn about the world outside of their small, isolated village. From there, the Project spread to include a holistic approach to community improvement.

The Benkadi Project began to make Biosand Water Filters and they quickly became one of the most effective tools available to improve health and reduce poverty. Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world, where most people earn less than a dollar a day. Half the population lacks access to improved water sources, and contaminated water has led to epidemics of cholera and diarrhea.

The Guineans and Americans in the Benkadi Project worked together to create an efficient process for making biosand filters. Materials and molds are expensive, but Benkadi can assemble them and distribute them to those in need quickly and cheaply. In 2013, their first year making biosand filters, they made and distributed 68 filters, which will supply safe drinking water to 680 individuals for the next ten years. Already, they have obtained funding to make 200 filters for 2,000 people this year. With your help, they will expand their capacity even more. 

A Biosand Filter (BSF)is an adaptation of the traditional slow sand filter, which has been used for community drinking water treatment for 200 years. It is filled with layers of specially selected and prepared sand and gravel. The sand removes pathogens and suspended solids from contaminated drinking water. A biolayer of bacteria and other micro-organisms which grows in the top sand eats many of the pathogens in the water.

How the Money Will be Used

100% of the money raised in the campaign will be used by the Motherland Rhythm Community to make and distribute biosand filters, or to build capacity for making and distributing biosand filters. Specific uses include:

Making more filters. Each filter costs $300 to make. Since a filter provides clean drinking water for ten people for ten years, a biosand filter can give a person safe drinking water for less than a penny a day.

A large, high quality electric generator. Currently, night work is impossible due to lack of power. Ideally, the generator would be large enough to power some of the welding work. Estimated cost: $2,500-$5,000.

Once we have an adequate source of electricity, we would like to acquire two to four concrete shakers, which will improve the quality of the filters, reduce repairs and allow us to use our helpers more efficiently. Estimated cost is $600-$1,000 per shaker, including the cost of mounting the shakers to the existing molds.

Additional filtering screens to improve our current filtering systems which are sifted by hand, and purchase additional mesh screens to expand this process. Estimated cost: $1000 - $1,500

Water storage tanks. Water is essential for our production process, but our 3,000 litre tank is inadequate. Estimated cost: $1,500.

Additional concrete molds. More molds would allow us to make more filters, but they are expensive and challenging to make. In the past, they have taken one to two months to make, as our machinist has travelled from town to town following changing electricity availability. Estimated cost: $1,500 per mold.

Reliable, used off-road vehicle. Good roads are extremely rare in Guinea. A vehicle is essential both for acquiring supplies, and for delivering finished filters. The first filters made went to the nearest communities, and the vehicle will be even more important as we expand our impact. The Motherland Rhythm Community has already secured some funding toward the vehicle.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 79 people in 1 month
27% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on October 5, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Awesome Karma

    Every donation makes a real difference!

    1 claimed
  • $30USD
    Even more awesome karma!

    Thank you for helping people live longer, healthier lives.

    3 claimed
  • $100USD
    Ticket to Rhythm and Schmooze

    Rhythm and Schmooze will be a five-star dinner and art auction in Chicago’s West Loop with special guest Kevin Lampe of Kurth Lampe. on Sunday, October 5, 2014 from 6 to 9 pm. Dinner will be created by AlyseMarie Warren, Head Chef at the Saddle Room in Hoffman Estates. Art for the event has been donated by some of the top artists from Chicago and beyond, including Yva Neal, Brook Woolf and Kay Wood.

    10 out of 14 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
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