Empowering Communities Around the World to Care for Their Clean Water Needs

a young girl holds up a clean glass of water.

Work with Hope Revival Children's Organization (HRCO) and  Friendly Water for the World to expand access to low-cost, clean water technologies and information about health and sanitation.

Project description

We are seeking students to collaborate with Friendly Water for the World, an award-winning non-profit situated in Olympia, Washington, that works to expand global access to low-cost clean water technologies and information about health and sanitation through knowledge-sharing, community-building, peacemaking, and sustainability.

ELN Director, Mara Huber, first connected with the work of Friendly Water while in Tanzania, observing first-hand the impact of their BioSand filters and educational outreach within the remote Mara Region. Since that initial meeting, she learned that Friendly Water works with communities around the world who have little in the way of access to resources, except for their own intelligence, resilience, pent-up initiative, labor, generosity and caring. By sharing their knowledge and providing training in ensuring clean water, they help to end a culture of dependency, enabling people and communities to take charge of their lives. They look for technologies and approaches that are proven, affordable, utilize local materials and resources, and easily teachable, and can be replicated, so that they do in one community together can be readily spread to others. By teaching people to build and install BioSand Water Filters, combined with community sanitation and hygiene education, they seek to reduce and ultimately remove the threat of cholera, typhoid, bacterial dysentery, Rotavirus, hepatitis A, cryptosporidiosis, and other waterborne illnesses. They are also working with communities to explore approaches to rainwater catchment, hygiene stations, soap making, spring and water source protection, MicroFlush toilets, rocket stoves and non-fired, soil-stabilized brick-making.

With so many of our students interested in clean water and global community development, Mara was eager to explore possibilities for collaboration and student engagement. She is delighted that UB students have been invited through our new Project Portal to contribute their talents and interests to existing programs and initiatives, and explore new innovations and opportunities.

Developing projects include an asset based community development study in Musoma, Tanzania. The project involves site based research and GIS mapping and will lay the foundation for future collaborative initiatives. 

Project outcome

Students will contribute to the goals and vision of Friendly Water for the World, engaging in ongoing projects and contributing to new and evolving initiatives. Students can engage in the following categories of activities and resources:

  • Biosand Filters: students can join a BioSand Filter/Community Sanitation Training either in the U.S. or abroad. 
  • Hygiene and Sanitation: students can help raise awareness about the need for environmental sanitation to ensure a better living environment for all through providing community sanitation surveys for those undertaking projects 
  • Water Catchment: students can contribute to the training and building of ferro-cement rainwater catchment tanks. and experimenting with an adaptation of ferro-cementer rainwater catchment systems called "water hives." 
  • Microflush Toilets, Rocket Stoves, or Non-Fired Soil-Stabilized Brickmaking: students can work on efforts to spread related expertise throughout east and central Africa, and around the world

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Other: projects can align with scheduled trainings, trips and events
Start time Anytime
Level of collaboration Other: individual or group projects welcomed
Benefits Varies
Who is eligible Anyone
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.
Truman and Fulbright Scholarships

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Truman Scholarship and the Fulbright Scholarship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Core partners

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, Director of

Experiential Learning Network

Phone: (716) 829-2834

Email: mbhuber@buffalo.edu


To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. 

To get started, contact the project mentor using the contact information above to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge. Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project:

  • Students should familiarize themselves with the Friendly Water for the World website and related programming. 
  • They should also demonstrate a significant level of knowledge and competence related to the program area of interest.
  • Specific preparation can be discussed with the Friendly Water team once engagement is discussed and clarified.