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Ceramic filters make clean water accessible to communities in East Africa and create livelihoods

Ensuring access to clean water for human consumption is a critical global issue, affecting one billion people in communities around the world. In Kenya, half of the country’s population does not have access to safe drinking water and many households must build fires to boil water for cooking and cleaning. Although boiling water can prevent waterborne illnesses, open fires in homes may cause burns, house fires or respiratory illnesses. 

CeraMaji, an innovative social enterprise based in Kenya and developed by Innovative Canadians for Change (ICChange), has created a unique solution to this problem: an affordable ceramic filter that provides potable water to underserved communities in Africa. The CeraMaji filters offer an elegant and practical design, made of clay and colloidal silver, and fitted into a large plastic bucket with a spigot. They are inexpensive to make and highly effective and resistant to contamination. Thanks to these filters, thousands of families now have clean water in their homes.

The ceramic filters produced by Ceramaji also stand apart from other similar products because they are made of locally sourced materials like clay and sawdust, which significantly decreases their cost. Ceramic filters are highly effective at eliminating bacteria and pathogens, reducing waterborne contaminants by more than 99%. 

Customers who had used the filters in the rural town of Bungoma in Kenya, reported fewer illnesses, reduced their fuel expenses, and were healthier overall. By purchasing a CeraMaji filter, they also saved $10 to $15 dollars a month in antibiotics for their children, which demonstrates how the filters offer a compelling solution for preventative health care. This is great news, especially for young children who are most vulnerable to waterborne diseases such as Giardia and Cholera.

Madiro is a key partner of this socially impactful enterprise that not only provides clean water to local communities but also supports local economic empowerment and education. Indeed, CeraMaji aims to achieve a socially-driven business model that provides work opportunities while expanding their distribution network. CeraMaji's approach to scaling their enterprise lies in its franchise system, which empowers local entrepreneurs, particularly women, to distribute filters within their communities. Their unique community-based franchise model will not only sells an affordable product to families but also support job creation and the local economy.

Thanks to their partnerships with Madiro, ICChange, Grand Challenges Canada and the Muungano Alliance (Muungano wa Wanavijiji, Akiba Mashinani Trust and Slum Dwellers International Kenya) and others, CeraMaji has the potential to reach 2.5 million people in urban informal settlements in the Greater Nairobi Metropolitan Area and surrounding area. Ceramaji also plans to expand their operations to other East African countries in the next five years and has a long-term plan for a second factory to meet increasing demand.  

CeraMaji undoubtedly offers a comprehensive solution to customers, distinguishing itself as an affordable and effective provider of clean potable water to communities in need as well as an opportunity to create livelihoods and economic empowerment to local entrepreneurs.

Woman holding a CeraMaji water filter
Ceramic water filters lined up on a shelf in a factory
Factory facade at night, with constructions in the foreground
A row of ceramic filters stacked on top of each other on the floor
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Note: In 2023, Madiro’s co-founder, Andrian Schauer, visited CeraMaji’s factory in Kenya. Read more about his visit here:

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