Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Clean Water for Peace

Project #
Johns Hopkins University
  • Paul Baublitz
  • Minhaj Chowdhury

In the United States, we take for granted that when we turn on the tap, we’ll receive clean drinking water. This is not so in much of the developing world, and especially in Bangladesh where more than 18 million people are drinking arsenic contaminated water every day. Arsenic contamination does not change the appearance of the water and does not cause an odor, but regular exposure to arsenic can lead to serious long-term health issues, including cancer.

Paul and Minhaj used their Projects for Peace grant to mount an educational campaign about the realities of arsenic contamination and poisoning, and to distribute over 100 Sono filters to individual households in Golaidanga in the Manikgoni District of Bangladesh. In addition, they supplied institutional filters to the local mosque and the primary and high schools. Sono filters are considered to be the best filters of arsenic, are relatively inexpensive ($40 each), require no electricity, emit no toxins, and last for five years.

Working in partnership with local NGOs, clergy, and school and local government officials, Paul and Minhaj spent eight weeks educating the community about the use and benefits of the filters. They led workshops for community members and for schoolchildren. They helped village officials determine an equitable means of distribution for the filters and to plan a way to fund more filters in the future. Their efforts led to a community-wide festival on arsenic awareness that
resulted in national media attention.