The Filtrao Factory (filtrao.org) was established by Kouakou Ahuié in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire on September 15, 2010. Ahuié started the project as part of the activities of an association called N-CHRIST, of which he is the founder and chairman. The Filtrao filter project is a partnership between UNICEF and N-CHRIST.
According to Ahuié, their biggest initial challenges were figuring out the correct dosage of colloïdal silver to use, and finding someone qualified to build an appropriate kiln. Colloïdal silver is applied to the finished filter in order to provide an extra level of protection from bacteria. Filtrao asked for help from Mary Kay Jackson, who worked with Methodist Development Relief Services and Pure Home Water—two charitable organizations that focus on bringing potable water to the rural poor in Ghana. Mary Kay provided Filtrao with a formula that solved the issue, leading to certification of the Filtrao filter by the Cote D’Ivoire’s Institute of National Public Hygiene.
When Filtrao could not find anyone in Cote D’Ivoire who was qualified to build a kiln, Manny Hernandez, the designer of the downdraft kiln typically constructed for filter production, came from the US and built a “Mani” kiln for them. Now production seems to be going along smoothly at Filtrao.
Last year the Filtrao factory produced 3000 ceramic water filters, many of which were distributed in villages in Northern Cote D’Ivoire.
Current challenges for Filtrao include marketing and distribution of filters. However after completing a survey in our first Ceramic Pot Filter Community Newsletter, The Filtrao Factory was randomly selected as the winner of the US $500 Potters for Peace survey-participant award. Potters for Peace requested that the money be spent on factory improvement and/or filter marketing and promotion.
Filtrao spent a portion of the money on translation of a promotional video into French for use in a new marketing campaign. In the video Fernando Mazariegos, the inventor of the ceramic pot water filter, talks about the origins, production and benefits of the filter. Filtrao plans to put the remainder of the funds towards creation of a locally produced video about the filters made in Cote D’Ivoire.