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Community Acceptance and Laboratory Performance


Kaloko and Mapolo, Zambia


Seeds of Hope International Partnerships

Transporting water is a daily task for Kaloko families

Seeds of Hope International Partnerships (SoHIP) trains and equips communities with practical skills and tools to tackle hygiene, water and sanitation issues. Together with the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), the organizations established  the  Zambia  Water  Expertise  and Training (WET) Centre. The WET Centre assists communities with technical training and educational resources to implement sustainable WASH initiatives. Since 2009, the Wet Centre has helped 904,000 people use better water or sanitation as a result of projects implemented by the WET Centre’s clients.

Two of the communities that SoHIP serves are Kaloko and Mapolo. With a population of 14,000 people, Kaloko residents face challenges with the reliability of piped municipal water. Along with some areas where open defecation routinely occurs, the intermittent water supply compromises safety and water quality in the region. Mapolo is a peri-urban community with a population of around 65,000 people. The majority of households rely on shallow hand dug wells for their drinking water, and latrines for sanitation needs. The ‘newer’ households of Mapalo have a water kiosk   to supply nearby surrounding households. Diarrhea and other waterborne diseases are common in the Mapalo community, especially in the rainy season when waterborne-related epidemics occur as well as during the dry season when the water quality (and quantity) is at its lowest.

As part of its educational outreach, SoHIP promotes the use of biosand filters (BSFs). When used correctly, SoHIP reports that BSFs achieve bacterial removal efficiency of at least 98%, making filtered water far less susceptible to causing waterborne diseases. However, SoHIP has discovered, through its monitoring and evaluation program, household storage containers storing BSF-treated water often have varying concentrations of E.coli. Feedback indicates these households understand the importance of post filtration disinfection, such as boiling or adding chlorine; however, most families do not undertake these extra steps due to inconsistent supplies of chlorine as well as taste and smell issues. Contamination also occurs when BSFs breakdown or are improperly maintained.

MadiDrop Implementation:

As a leading voice in household water treatment  and safe storage technologies, CAWST introduced MadiDrop PBC to SoHIP, leveraging SoHIP’s work with water-stressed communities in Zambia with the M-Drop’s ability to address residual contamination with minimal behavior change. In 2016, SoHIP and MadiDrop PBC entered into a six month contractual agreement to evaluate and implement the M-Drop under laboratory and community conditions and to undertake a community perception survey among users of the M-Drop.

Community Results

Baseline testing of the household water sources showed general coliforms were too numerous to count (TNTC) and E.coli levels were exceedingly high. Fifteen households were selected to participate in the research. Selected households agreed to have their storage containers tested every 4 weeks. Water was collected from the source, filtered through a BSF, and stored in a storage container with an M-Drop.

Transport Containers in Kaloko


SoHIP lab staff visited each household once per month over a period of six months. They collected samples from the source, the biosand-filtered water and the M-Drop-treated water. Overall results for general coliforms and E.coli showed:

Source Water: TNTC

Filtered: <10 CFU/100ml (significantly reduced) M-Drop treated: <1 CFU/100ml (non-detectable)

"It has helped us so much that now there is less diarrhea."

- Christina N., Test Household in Kaloko

"We are now having safe water, especially during this hot season when the municipal water supply had green water coming from the water point taps.

- Esnart P., Test Household in Kaloko


Following the Kaloko procedures, overall results for general coliforms and E.coli showed:

Source Water: TNTC

Filtered: <10 CFU/100ml (significantly reduced) M-Drop treated: <1 CFU/100ml (non-detectable)

In October, the people of Kaloko experienced green water coming out of taps. This condition was attributed to high algae concentration in the river and old infrastructure at the treatment plant. As a result, there was a tremendous rise in consistent use of household treatment technologies (BSFs and M-Drops) which significantly improved the quality of water, both in appearance and microbiologically. The  distinctly  better  water  quality  resulted  in a small entrepreneurial business selling the technologies to other community members who lacked treatment options.

Households participating in mandatory training were more aware of household treatment options. Samples brought in by the participating households represented source, filtered and stored MadiDrop water. The result from this training was they saw firsthand the quality of their water and the effectiveness of household water treatment technologies to improve water quality for households. Participants had a broader understanding of why the water had to be exposed to the M-Drop for at least 10 hours. All participating households provided the required samples for the training sessions and showed overwhelming interest in the results of their tests. This positive behavior change was observed through the sixth months of the action research.

"MadiDrop is a very good product because before we were drinking unsafe water. We are very proud that we now drink water with a free mind. It’s the best product because I don’t have to buy it very often and I don’t need to boil water as much.

- Faneli M. , Test Household in Kaloko

Children gather with their water containers in Kaloko

"The activity of the MadiDrop in participating households in the community showed a significant reduction of up to 100% in disinfecting the water."

– SoHIP Mid-term Report September 2016

Laboratory Tests

To validate community results, laboratory tests were undertaken in conjunction with household water testing over a six month period. Sourcing a shallow hand-dug well, the SoHIP Water Lab tested source water as well as BSF filtered-source water that was then treated with an M-Drop.

The M-Drop demonstrated consistent  abilities  to  further reduce E.  coli  concentrations  in  filtered  water to undetectable levels. The tests performed under lab conditions showed total disinfection of the water was achieved in 12 hours for most of the water samples. For the few water samples that still had some coliforms at Time = 12 Hours, the water quality tested negative for E. coli. Total coliforms tested negative at Time = 24 Hours.

SoHIP also tested M-Drop-treated source water that was not pre-filtered by a BSF. Results showed that the M-Drop significantly reduced general coliforms and E.coli at 12 hours, and were non-detectable at 24 hours, showing the M-Drop is an effective stand- alone technology in addition to being a companion technology for pre-filtered water.

"The effect of the tests performed under laboratory conditions showed that total disinfection of the water was achieved in 12 hours for most of the water samples."

– SoHIP Mid-term Report September 2016

Perception Surveys

Households generally commented that the smell and taste of the M-Drop treated water was normal and they would use and recommend the product to their family and friends.

SoHIP is embarking on a program to introduce M-Drops more extensively to the communities they serve. Community acceptance suggests there is demand and a willingness to incorporate M-Drops into household life.

"The MadiDrop is a realistic option to disinfect drinking water among Zambian communities."

– SoHIP Final Report November 2016


SoHIP Mid-term Report (September 19, 2016) and SoHIP Final Report (November 14, 2016)