Prof. Hilonga and the Nanofilter

BlueFuture Project

Prof. Hilonga and the Nanofilter

Our partner Prof. Askwar Hilonga is an award winning chemical engineer from Tanzania. He grew up in a small village without access to clean drinking water. For him and the entire community, waterborne diseases were omnipresent. A condition that is unacceptable for Prof. Hilonga. For this reason, Prof. Hilonga has set himself the goal of fighting the water shortage. He specialized as an engineer in nanomaterials and received his doctorate in this field. At the same time he started to work on an innovative water filter. The so-called nanofilter has attracted a lot of attention and has already changed the lives of many people. “My goal is to be a millionaire, but not measured by money, but by the number of people I positively influence every day” and “What’s the point of my doctorate, what does all the fame mean if I don’t solve any problems with it?” are only two of his quotes that reflect his attitude very well.

The Nanofilter

The Nanofilter is an innovative water filtration system perfectly suited for use in rural areas of Africa. For this reason Prof. Hilonga has already won eight national and international awards. Among others, Prof. Hilonga and the Nanofilter were awarded the “Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation” of the Royal Academy of Engineering from Great Britain. The Nanofilter was extensively tested there. The jury’s verdict was breathtaking. Jury chairman Malcom Brinded told BBC News: “This innovation could make a positive difference to the lives of many Africans, as well as people around the world”. This is exactly what the filter is already doing.

The contaminated water is cleaned in three steps. First, a sand filter removes bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms. Next, fluoride, a neurotoxin widespread in Tanzania, is eliminated. The third phase is a nanomembrane that removes heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants. A special unique selling point of the nanofilter is that it can be adapted to the local pollution of the water. Since every contaminated source in Tanzania has different impurities, calibration of the filter is extremely important. Before the nanofilter is put into operation, Prof. Hilonga’s team found the local water source. Then the filter is adjusted to the pollution. Thus we can guarantee an excellent quality of the water.

Our water stations

We equip community members in rural areas of Tanzania with a nanofilter and a sales stand. From this point on, the so-called water station is the small business of this community member. These can now take contaminated water from the local, contaminated source, clean it with the filter and then offer it to the community. Every parishioner can afford the prices. The water is up to eight times cheaper than all alternatives in Tanzania. In conversations with locals, they were downright enthusiastic that water will soon be available at these prices. This strategy creates businesses, jobs and opportunities for local people while ensuring sustainable water supplies. With the water station, the station manager generates a great income, which is usually well above the average income. This income supports the family and is often used to support community members. Through Prof. Hilonga and his team guarantee the maintenance of the filter systems and the station. Thus we can ensure a sustainable, continuous water supply.

This is Jacque

Jacque is a nice young woman from Arusha, Tanzania. Like many people in Tanzania, she had problems finding a job. She could hardly meet the basic needs for herself and her two daughters. Now she runs a water station.

“It was difficult before. Very difficult. I didn’t have a job. This job makes me independent. I’ve rented a house. My children can finally go to a good school. I’m so happy. Above all, I am happy that I can provide my community with water. “

The process on site

The construction of a water station involves several steps. First the congregation is gathered and trained. The community members are made very aware of the water problem. Next, station managers are trained and prepared for independence. This ensures that the nanofilter and the water station exist for a long time. In the meantime, the water quality is checked and the nanofilter is adapted to the local pollution.

Then you can start! From now on every community member has access to clean drinking water.

Get to know Sarah

Before Sarah took over a water station, she was a teacher. However, she could not meet the basic needs for herself and her family with her income.

“The water station changed my life. I can take care of my family and support relatives. I am proud that people can buy clean water from me. Best of all, I’ve become much more confident. Because of my work, I can approach people much better. I feel like a real business woman now! “

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