by Maura O’Neill, Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counselor to the Administrator, USAID
From the hills of western Kenya to the coastlines of Haiti, blue bins are popping up unexpectedly across local landscapes. These unassuming plastic containers positioned near communal water sources and propped on stands built from local materials, don’t exactly seem like life-saving innovations–but ask the half million people who use them daily, and they will tell you otherwise.
These modest-looking systems are the water purifying Chlorine Dispensers developed by Connecticut-based NGO Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). These systems are designed to bring clean water to beneficiaries like Martin Ouma, the Head Teacher at Busidibu Primary School in Kenya, and his students. Martin tells a common story that is echoed among the communities whose lives are transformed by Chlorine Dispensers: “The dispenser has reduced diarrhea in schools. Standards have gone up, and diseases related to drinking water have been minimized.”