Innovation That Matters

Filters provide clean water and jobs in Uganda

Sport & Fitness

SPOUTS are ceramic water filters made of clay and rice husk, which remove 99.9 percent of contaminants to produce drinkable water.

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In Uganda, 30 percent of people lack access to clean water, and preventable water-borne diseases are the leading cause of death for children under five-years-old. While water can be sterilized through boiling, the process is both time consuming and costly, often using up valuable charcoal. Now, SPOUTS is a for-profit organization offering an affordable alternative in the form of a ceramic pot water filter. The company has also created work for Ugandan potters by basing the production in the country.

SPOUTS, which stands for Sustainable Point-Of-Use Treatment and Storage, are ceramic pot filters made of clay, water and rice husk. They are made by pressing the mixture into regular pot molds, then firing them in a kiln. During firing, the rice husks combust to create tiny holes. The filter is then covered in silver nitrate. As a result, when the filter is placed in a plastic SPOUTS bucket and contaminated water is poured in, the silver nitrate kills the bacteria and the microporous ceramic filters out contaminants, creating clean, drinkable water.


SPOUTS installs free filters in refugee camps, schools and prisons, and sells 400 units per month through local retailers. The company plans to expand into South Sudan this year.

What other charitable projects could be turned into social enterprises?



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