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WUR alumni start crowdfunding for clean drinking water in Ukraine

Published on
October 28, 2022

In Ukraine, hospitals, water facilities, schools and nurseries have been destroyed and part of the population has been displaced. As a result, an estimated 13.6 million people lack clean drinking water. Four WUR alumni joined forces to provide affected people in Ukraine with clean drinking water using simple water filters they designed.

Ukraine suffers from a shortage of clean drinking water, but the situation is especially dire in cities and in the eastern regions of the country. In eastern Ukraine, most people rely on water supply systems for their drinking water, many of which have been destroyed by the war. At the same time, available surface water has been contaminated by dead bodies lying in the water, making the water unsafe to drink. With no access to adequate water filtering systems, there is a high risk of cholera outbreaks or massive diarrhea among people.

NGOs recognize the problem, but are often unable to reach the affected areas due to violence in the region. In addition, they focus mainly on repairing and renewing water supply systems or installing relatively large water systems in public places, such as hospitals. This leaves households without access to clean drinking water.

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Mobile water filters

WUR alumni Lieselotte Heederik and Guido van Hofwegen developed the Nazava Water Filters. The Nazava Water Filters are simple, durable, inexpensive and provide high quality water. They purify contaminated water in three steps; the ceramic membrane filters bacteria and coarse particles from the water such as iron, a silver coating kills the bacteria, and the activated carbon core reduces taste, odors and chemicals such as chlorine. The purified water is collected and can be drained. The whole system is no bigger than two buckets on top of each other. They are easily portable and can be used by anyone anywhere.

Network in Ukraine

Alumni Emmeke Vierhout and Kees Huizinga have built a network from their De Leeuw Kyiv Foundation to provide people in Ukraine with relief supplies. They have lived in Ukraine for 20 years, where they have built up a large farm. They speak the language, they know the right people. Through their connections, they can also reach people in occupied regions where NGOs have no access. Contact between the four alumni had already been established during a campaign by Unicef for water filters in Ukraine. The four alumni are now working together to make clean drinking water accessible to the people currently living in the war zones.