Team Blog
Welcome to the PROtector Team Blog. In this section of the site we take a look at all aspects of PROtector products and discuss the broader issues involved in bringing fresh, clean drinking water to people around the world. If you are considering a PROtector installation, then you may well find the answers to your questions and concerns tucked away amongst our musings. We will be adding new articles from time to time, so be sure to stop by again soon!

 


Treated Water on a Budget: How PROtectors are providing safe water that people can afford.
  What is Microenterprise?
‘Microenterprise’ is a buzz word that has featured in countless newspaper and magazine articles throughout the past decade, but what does it actually mean? There does not seem to be one, universally accepted definition of the term, and it appears to be open to some degree of interpretation. However, I believe that USAID’s official definition of a microenterprise describes it fairly concisely: “a very small enterprise owned and operated by poor people, usually in the informal sector”..

For marginalised communities such as those in Turkana, Kenya, microenterprise can provide people with an opportunity to work themselves out of poverty. A typical microenterprise ‘scheme’ begins with a capital investment in infrastructure, training or other resources, that can be used directly by the community to provide local goods or services and create revenue. The capital invested (if borrowed from a donor) is then paid back out of this revenue, so that the infrastructure or assets become the property of the community.

One microenterprise scheme that has recently been successful in Turkana is the Morulem Irrigation Scheme: As a result of the project, farmers have been able to a plant a greater variety of cash crops such as cow peas, green grams and tomatoes. The local economy has diversified as a result of the investment made in the scheme, with the project contributing towards the creation of an estimated 938 jobs (full and part-time) in the area. The number of direct beneficiaries of the jobs created is estimated at 5630. (Data source: USAID).


         A Turkana woman lets water from the Morulem Irrigation Scheme flow into her sorghum plot.
         PHOTO: Celia Dugger, New York Times


Ownership and Management of PROtector by the Community
So how does the microenterprise concept fit in with PROtector systems? Well, the answer is easy: The PROtector is uncomplicated, affordable and durable enough to be owned, operated and maintained entirely by the community it serves. The skills required for operation and maintenance are very basic, and therefore an appointed person or persons from the community can be trained to operate the machine and vend the treated water as a business. ‘Ideal’ candidates for this job would be young, aspiring entrepreneurs who would welcome the opportunity to realise their potential. Job creation is paramount to helping young unemployed people to escape the poverty cycle. So many bright and talented people have to resort to selling drugs, committing crime and entering into prostitution, just to get by. This is especially true in urban slum communities.


         Some young entrepreneurs at a community ‘street association’ meeting in Langata, Nairobi.
         PHOTO: Barbara Ellard Dziedzic


By adopting a PROtector treatment system as the ‘infrastructure’ for a water vending business (kiosk), young entrepreneurs will be able to sell safe and affordable water to members of their community, enabling them to provide an essential service whilst earning a sustainable income. This income will not only help to provide for their families, but it will also enable them to save enough money for college and university fees.

For a river water application, such as the Mathare river in Nairobi, the cost of ownership of a PROtector treatment system works out at USD $0.04 per 20 litre (5.28 gal) jerry can. Even if the water was sold at just USD $0.06 per jerry can, there would be enough profit for an entrepreneur to hire labour to operate the machine and still make a living each month.

The microenterprise approach to owning and operating a PROtector has some significant wider benefits too: There is a real incentive for members of the community to properly look after the machine in the longer term; The future purchase of other PROtector machines can be made possible with the revenue collected; plus more and more people in the community will become increasingly productive through improved health, thanks to the provision of safe and sustainable drinking water. Through the PROtector, communities have the opportunity to break out of the poverty cycle and stop ‘treading water’ once and for all.

 
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Downloads

Don't have time to find out more about the PROtector online? Grab a copy of our PDF documents and read them on the go!

PROtector Brochure

A general overview of the PROtector hand-powered water treatment system and what it is capable of.

Program Proposal

An example PROtector program proposal. This document is annotated with instructions on how to create a proposal for your PROtector program. An editable Microsoft Word version is also available.

Pilot Program Six Month Progress Report

Catch up on the latest from the PROtector pilot installation in Longech, Kenya in this exciting report.

PROtector Prgram Management White Paper

A guide aimed at helping organizations to establish a successful protector program. This white paper contains procedures for system monitoring, maintenance, reporting, troubleshooting and repair.

To download the above PDF's, right click on the file and select "save as".