A Purdue University-affiliated startup 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.

Maji Safi International, which means clean water in Swahili, was founded by John Maiyo, a doctoral student in Purdue's College of Engineering.

The company installs groundwater wells, and provides ceramic filters and slow sand filters, in western Kenya where safe water is not readily accessible.

I met with John recently and was inspired by his business savvy.

"Access to clean water is a huge problem that many countries and communities face around the world, especially developing countries," Maiyo said. "Globally one-third of all schools lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation. "Each of our filter installations can meet the needs of over 400 children and teachers at one school every day."

"We're also working on a device that connects to a smartphone to tell users what filters aren't working properly so adjustments can be made remotely instead of having to visit the schools in person."

Maiyo said the company's next steps involve marketing the filters to other schools.

"Everything we've done, so far, has been through funding, but now that we've installed the filters in a few schools and the schools have seen the filters' potential, we're hoping other schools will be willing to purchase them," he said. "It would be great if a private organization or government agency would fund this project to allow us to install water filters in many schools. We've heard from multiple community leaders and the feedback is always 'how can we get more?' So now it's just a matter of finding funding to be able to do that."

For more information contact John Maiyo, jmaiyo@purdue.edu or Professor Chad Jafvert, jafvert@ecn.purdue.edu