Archive: Posts with 'Kenya Ceramic Project and CeraMaji' Category

#MyImpact: ICChange 2016 Holiday Campaign

December 2, 2016

We are Innovative Canadians for Change


An Alberta-based not-for-profit organization, ICChange focuses on local and international initiatives that are redefining the conventional notions of development, charity, and aide. With our unique and cutting-edge approach, we have developed the principles and operating structure of a social enterprise, which has allowed us to expand our network over the past decade.


Our mission? To improve the quality of life and security of vulnerable populations worldwide by implementing successful interventions based on sustainable and scalable system-based models.


What does this mean?


This means that for over 10 years, we have dedicated our efforts to people like those in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, the Kibera slum, where we developed and implemented a primary care focused electronic health record to improve affordable access to quality healthcare for all.


This means that we’ve worked with key partners, like the Kenya Red Cross Society, to improve the outcomes of trauma patients by creating national strategies in education, surgery, rehabilitation, and policy development in the future, while working to implement short-term solutions to improve injury care today.


This means that some of our first developments, like the Kenya Ceramic Project, is now so much more than just a project. It means that lessons we learned in supplying hundreds of families with access to clean water has helped us to widen that impact.


Diarrheal disease is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of the five in rural Kenya, and it’s highly preventable. By producing inexpensive, efficient, and locally-sourced ceramic water filters, we have been able to provide impoverished communities with a point-of-use water filter that costs less than the treatment of the diseases it prevents.


Once located in Western rural Kenya, our factory is now growing in size and relocating near Nairobi to allow better manufacturing and distribution of our health product to those who need it most.


From December 1st to December 31st, help us to raise our goal of $5000 


… to help build the core of our factory: the kiln. This is where our clay “pots” are transformed into clay filters, burning away particles to add sieve-like properties while hardening the filter’s shape. The result? A sturdy filter than can now remove disease-causing bacteria and save millions of lives.


For just $25, you can buy a “brick”


… which will contribute to the walls of this kiln. If just 200 people buy a single brick each, we can fulfill our holiday goal of getting that much closer to a new water filter factory.


Throughout this campaign we will be reaching out to YOU to share how you’ve created change: paying it forward through purchasing someone’s coffee, or saying hello to a stranger, helping a friend move or even donating to our campaign, whatever that act of kindness is, we want to hear from you. Connect with us on Twitter @ICChangeAB and use the hashtag #MyImpact. Let’s start the ICChange movement and make this month a great way to end the year.


I See Change – do you?


Click here to donate today

CHANGEchallenges – Filters, Silver, and Hijackings (Oh my!)

May 2, 2016

There have been many words written about the challenges of affecting positive change in systems, places, and contexts that are not yet mature or are otherwise still developing. We’ve certainly contributed our fair share of thoughts on the subject; talking and writing about the nuances of working across cultures and economies will be something with which anyone involved in development projects will be familiar. While we won’t stop thinking about those big challenges, this series of posts is dedicated to the less-often discussed little problems that can happen in a project. Hard lessons are learned daily and reflecting upon them allows us to make positive, if not difficult, growths. As they say, change ain’t easy.

One of our longest running initiatives is the CeraMaji water filter project in East Africa. For nearly a decade, ICChange has been working with local partners to build and sell ceramic water filters in a financially and socially sustainable way. In that time, we’ve become better with each shipment at managing the supply chain of raw materials needed to build the filters in a predicable way. A lot goes into a filter: you need the right clay, you need the right machines (and the parts to keep them running), you need buckets and spigots, and, if you want to add an additional layer of protection to ensure your filter is keeping bacteria out of the water, you need colloidal silver.

Almost all of our filter components are sourced and manufactured locally in Kenya but we have to ship in colloidal silver via the airport in Nairobi. We’ve shipped this same quantity of silver countless times over the years without problem, but when we quality-tested the most recent batch of filters we found that there was no silver on any of them. When we asked our team members at the factory, they said that we ran out of silver and couldn’t coat the most recent batch of filters. We knew we had placed an order for silver but the factory manager was insistent nothing had shown up.

When he called the logistics company, we got an interesting answer: our package (and many others) had been hijacked! Two people had intercepted the truck at the airport and neither the vehicle nor any of the packages had been recovered. The shipping company offered us a small refund but even most insurance won’t cover hijackings so the only thing we could do was place another order and hope this truck made it to the factory with a little less drama. We’ve now received that shipment, coated the filters, and thankfully we were able to fill all orders in the mean time using our existing inventory.

Challenges like this one are common when you want to work on difficult problems, but it’s only one of many. Come back soon to read more and, if you feel like helping us buy some more colloidal silver, please consider donating today.


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