In India, an estimated 38 million lives are lost due to waterborne diseases yearly. Unavailability of potable water, highly-priced filtration mechanisms and a lack of awareness lead to a vicious cycle of disease and deprivation. Furthermore, the traditional art of pottery is on its decline in this modern era. The primary victims of this shift are potters, who are skilled yet heavily underpaid due to erratic demand for their products.
Project Asbah aims to tackle the issue of unavailability of potable water in rural areas by promoting the usage of clay-based Terafil filters, designed in collaboration with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, a premier national R&D organisation and produced by a community of skilled potters.
Goals and Objectives of Project Asbah
// ProvideTo provide rural households with access to a low-cost water filtration mechanism.
// EmpowerTo empower a community of potters so as to augment and stabilise their income.
// The Community and the Business Model
The community is based in Uttam Nagar, New Delhi, which is the largest settlement of potters in the region. Seasonal and unsustainable demand for clay products was detrimental to the livelihoods of all potters. To rejuvenate this dying art form, we are developing the entrepreneurial abilities of a community of potters by facilitating the production of clay-based Terafil water filters. The Terafil technology has been provided by CSIR which has the ability to clear biological and pathological contaminants found in water sources. Moreover, it reduces iron content and turbidity levels of water, making it suitable for rural households.
The business model entails identifying rural areas which can make use of the clay-based Terafil water filter. Testing of water samples is conducted so as to ascertain the effectiveness of the filters in given areas. Post an affirmative response, regular demand assessments are conducted in suit with a local dealer who is given charge of collecting orders, storing the filters and conducting marketing and grievance redressal activities, in return for a monetary incentive.
Project Asbah operates on a five step business model:
// PILOT PHASE
The pilot phase was launched in a village named Sadhopur, in Greater Noida, where the villagers were facing severe challenges in gaining access to clean drinking water. After conducting testing with the help of Farelabs, an established laboratory in Gurgaon, the clay-based water filter was introduced in the village only to receive a strong positive response. In a span of less than a month, more than 25 filters have been sold, thereby reassuring us of the effectiveness of our endeavour.
Triple Bottom-Line Impact
A month after the pilot phase was launched, the income per potter recorded an increase of Rs. 1560. In the coming months, the potters’ income will register an increase of 83% from their previous income. The filters significantly reduce expenditure on clean drinking water to less than Re 1 per day.
Project Asbah has impacted more than 100 lives in one month of operation by providing 15600 litres of clean drinking water and reducing the risk of waterborne diseases. The production of clay-based filters has instilled new life in the dying art form of pottery.
As compared to its competitors, the clay-filter is an eco-friendly solution for clean drinking water. Usage of the filter doesn’t require electricity thereby making it energy efficient.
// Our Vision
Through Project Asbah, we aim to penetrate villages across India so as to eliminate the challenges that the rural population faces in acquiring clean drinking water. This can be done by including a larger number of potters in our ambit and building ties with village-level organisations for on-ground support and marketing. We also aim to diversify our products to include newer filtration mechanisms which can address varied water-specific issues in villages across the country.