Featured Organization Profile – FilterPure & an Interview with Lisa Ballantine

Posted on by bmiller

FilterPure, an Invent for Humanity participating organization, is a non-profit bringing desperately needed clean and safe drinking water to the people of developing nations.

Image Courtesy of FilterPure

The urgent need for clean water continues to be one of importance across the world. Today, Invent for Humanity turns the spotlight toward FilterPure’s achievements during their ground-breaking summer, including blueprints for the expansion for an international training center in the Dominican Republic and a factory presence in Thohoyandou, South Africa.

The facility in the Dominican Republic will serve as a training center for ceramists from around the globe, who, through innovative design, are seeking to further advance the FilterPure mission. The quest for clean drinking water has also moved across the Atlantic Ocean to South Africa.

In Thohoyandou, FilterPure has established a partnership with The University of Virginia and The University of Venda to begin construction on a factory. In an ongoing study conducted by students from the two universities, FilterPure® Filters continue to be not only effective in eradicating water-borne disease, but are also well-accepted by the communities in and around Thohoyandou.

Both of these projects focus on developing a community where there is a need for sustainable, local enterprise.

Q&A with Lisa Ballantine, CEO & Director of FilterPure.

How has your experience in the Dominican Republic shaped your goals for the future of FilterPure?

The main issue that my living here in the DR has addressed is the great need for a simple solution for clean water in the developing world. Water is the most important element needed for people who are at risk, but the way that we bring that to them is critical. When the solutions are not sustainable, the people’s situation stays the same. The solutions that we present must be easy and sustainable in the underdeveloped world. Hygiene is an issue for most households and getting replacement parts must be made simple. For the future of FilterPure, I propose that the solution must fit within these requirements. It must function at a high level of effectiveness and a simple use. Our goals as an organization were formed by my time living in the DR and Haiti.

What was your original intent in founding FilterPure?

My original intent was to create a project that would meet the needs of a small community here in the DR. I intended to teach them to make filters for their community and help them to get clean water in their homes. I did not understand the scope of the water crisis, or the necessity of simplicity in design.

How have you been successful in the establishment of the FilterPure factory in Jamal Haiti? What have you learned from this experience?

With regards to success in Haiti, you have to first define success. Haiti has long been known as the black hole of projects and things are very difficult there for a number of reasons. The infrastructure is non-existent and the culture not adapted to high technologies. On the other hand, the people are tenacious and creative. We are moving ahead in our factory in Haiti, although the infrastructure is difficult to maintain. While we are moving slowly, we are moving ahead, and in a way that would produce long-term results. We are establishing production systems and reporting systems that will help us to be organized and move forward in a way that is sustainable.

What are some difficulties you encounter with the distribution of this filter?

The main problem that we often encounter is ignorance to the problem of water, and the perceived need of the purification system. An education program with the distribution is critical.

Explain why the FilterPure strategy of creating sustainable enterprises to manufacture this filter technology provides more long-term impact to local communities.

The FilterPure solution is simple and sustainable. It can be cared for in simple circumstances and, because it is produced locally, it can be replaced when needed. The project itself will drive the market and the enterprise in country. When the results are noted the technology will spread.

Your 7 Step Strategy is similar to what Invent for Humanity aims to do with our Campaigns. How do you think participation in Invent for Humanity will help FilterPure achieve your goals over the next several years?

We hope to offer this solution on a worldwide basis. The solution is simple and repeatable worldwide, and through Invent for Humanity we hope to contact those working on water projects globally. We can assist them to establish a filter factory in their country of influence and also get filters to those in need in areas where they work.

Through FilterPure’s recent summer projects, and by partnering with Invent for Humanity, Lisa hopes to offer her solution to the global marketplace and educate those on the importance of this simple solution.