Local Work. Global Impact.


  • Business: Safe Water
  • CEO: John Maiyo
  • Founded: 2015
  • Funding: $50,000.00
  • Use Of Funds:
  • Purchase of equipment to drill wells below 50 meters to provide water for schools.

Maji Safi (Swahili for clean water) has developed a low-cost, low-maintenance slow sand water filter technology to better provide clean and safe drinking water to schools and communities in developing countries around the world. “Access to clean water is a huge problem that many countries and communities face around the world, especially developing countries,” Maiyo says. “Around the globe, twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe drinking water, and globally one-third of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation.” The unique Purdue technology used by Maji Safi is a slow sand filter that utilizes containers filled with sand and water. At the bottom of the container is a water collection plate, designed at Purdue. The sand provides a large surface area on which microbial growth occurs that metabolizes the dissolved and particulate organic material in the water. The point-of-use slow sand filters are made from readily available five-gallon plastic pails or 55-gallon drums. “Typical slow sand filters use gravel layers at the bottom of the filter as the water collection zone, however, our filters do not use gravel. Instead we use a porous plastic plate enclosed within a mesh bag,” Jafvert says. “We’ve found this method to be much simpler to use and maintain. There is only the sand to sieve and rinse, instead of sand and different gravel sizes.  It provides easier maintenance and makes for easier filter transportation and final assembly.” Each 55-gallon drum filter can process 200 liters of water each day. With five filters installed at one school, this meets the needs of over 400 children and teachers at the school every day. A single school’s filter system cost less than $1000 to install. The problem is that in dry season many of the schools wells dry up. To expand number of installations, Maji Safi is seeking $50,000 in financing to purchase a drill bit that can drill deeper wells to provide a reliable source of water for filter systems. Maji Safi has installed 10 large slow sand filters in rural schools in Kenya, and Jafvert and Howarter have installed similar filters in Colombia, Tanzania and China.