The 2017 Colombia Learning Exchange

Eva Manzano from CAWST leads information session.

In late November 2017, CAPD in conjunction with CAWST and FRPG, held a Learning Exchange – a forum where implementers past, present and future, came together to share experiences in all phases of a filter project. These 3 organizations have become a well-oiled machine in the area of Household Water Treatment and Storage in Colombia.

Three experienced ladies from Rotary Club of Monteria Dos.
Rotarians from Monteria and Ibague exchanging information.
Maria Clara, expert on filter media, shares a technical point.










We were blessed to have people from all aspects of project implementation, including leaders, Rotarians, quality assurance types, community organizers, installers and community promoters. We learned from each other – what worked and what should be avoided. Eva Manzano of CAWST always had some interesting interactive learning activities in her virtual tool kit. Ivan and Rocio took on a significant workload leading various sessions. Bob lead some sessions, but his favourite job was timekeeper – how else to cram 3 days of material into 2 days.

This was an ideal time to introduce some new ideas, such as the plastic filter that now seems ready to trial in field conditions. Many were very enthusiastic about a lighter weight version, but Bob helped them understand it was not a solution to embrace without some skepticism.

Ivan Castro of FRPG explains details on the new plastic filter.









Another interesting technology was the large Slow Sand Filter for schools that uses BioSand Filter design characteristics on a much larger scale and is appropriate for schools and institutions. Samaritan’s Purse has proven this design in more than 600 school installations.

Large-scale slow sand filter for large schools.

Bob and Ivan rolled out the “made in Colombia” plastic diffuser. This will help clubs do projects without the administration and logistics of importing something from USA.

Bob demonstrated KOBO ToolBox, an “app” which, in conjunction with a laptop and using cloud based technology, can be used to collect data in the field and view it shortly afterward on a laptop in an excel format. This will eliminate carrying massive amounts of paper forms and sometimes transcribing the data to a spreadsheet. Rotary Club of Nuevo Ibague expressed willingness to test it in the field.

Screen shot of the cell phone data entry panel.

Everyone was glad to have attended. Just another way to strengthen the knowledge and the power of the network.