Clean water can flow through BGR on #GivingTuesday

A project worker prepares clay pot-type water filters to be distributed to schools in Southeast Asia through a Baptist Global Response clean water initiative.
Photo submitted
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Clean water is the #GivingTuesday focus of Baptist Global Response for a second year.

After its initial #GivingTuesday campaign for 500 water filters, BGR has raised its goal this year to 600 filters for families in Asia and Africa.

Each filter, which resembles a clay pot, will provide a family of five with a year of clean water at a cost of $25 per filter.

BGR is among an array of charities seeking #GivingTuesday gifts on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a way to give back following Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days.

Also promoting a #GivingTuesday initiative is GuideStone Financial Resources for its Mission:Dignity assistance to 1,800 retired Southern Baptist ministers and their widows near the poverty line. #GivingTuesday gifts to Mission:Dignity will be doubled thanks to donors who have offered $250,000 in matching gifts.

BGR, for its #GivingTuesday water filter project, notes, "Clean, accessible water is absolutely essential to the well-being of individuals and communities. From hydration to sanitation, water is the main ingredient to survival and development. Unfortunately, approximately 768 million people around the world are forced to use unsafe water sources, while 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation facilities (Source: United Nation's Children's Fund)."

BGR, while not an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, partners with Southern Baptists in meeting global human needs. The organization is undergirded by those who give through their local churches to the Cooperative Program and to the Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief fund.

Water filters are "surprisingly low-cost [and] an incredibly economical way to supply water [as a] cost-effective alternative to more expensive water solutions, such as wells or pipe systems," BGR states on its website.

Additionally, water filters can go anywhere. "Many people experiencing water shortages live in very remote areas that are not only difficult to traverse but make the installation of irrigation or pump systems difficult," BGR states. "Water filters are lightweight, portable and don't require any kind of installation, meaning they can be effective in any environment, regardless of terrain or location."

Children and adults die needlessly from water-borne illnesses every year when "the only water sources available are those shared by animals or insects [and people] become infested with bacteria and disease which can wreak havoc on anyone who ingests them," BGR states. "A water filter can eliminate nearly all of the harmful substances, resulting in fewer illnesses and improved health overall."

The filters, BGR CEO Jeff Palmer explained to BP, "are what we call clay pot or 'flower pot' water filters" that are locally sourced and made.

"They are made like a regular flower pot but without drainage holes in the bottom. Wet clay (inorganic material) is mixed with an organic material such as finely ground sawdust, rice hulls, etc., and then pressed into the flower pot mold. When the clay pots are 'fired' in a super-hot kiln (to set the clay), the small, almost microscopic organic particles burn up and a porous, clay pot micro filter is formed."

The clay pot, then, is "placed on a plastic bucket/container and water is poured in the pot portion and the water is filtered as is slowly drips through the pot into the plastic container," Palmer wrote in an email. "In most of our water filter projects, we also coat the interior of the clay pot with silver nitrate which adds an extra purification step.

"The beauty of this system is that wherever clay pots are made, they can learn to make water filters," Palmer wrote. "It makes a locally resourced solution to a big problem (clean water). Combining this pot with a plastic container and a spigot, we can produce locally made, reproducible water filters for about $25 per unit."

BGR currently works with about a half-dozen factories in Asia and Africa that make this type of water filter, Palmer added.

BGR's clean water initiative can be accessed at www.gobgr.org/cleanwater. It also is listed in the organization's 2018 Christmas Gift Catalog at GoBGR.org/catalog.

Reported by the staff of Baptist Global Response, online at GoBGR.com, and by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston.
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