Kathy Ku, while living in the United States, did something amazing for the citizens of Uganda. Kathy went to Uganda to live with a host family in her first year at Harvard. There she came across the issues related to clean water. There was an urgent need to come up with clean water for both children going to schools and families alike.
More than 10 million citizens in Uganda do not have access to clean water. It increases the risk of diseases while affecting the social life for many who cannot pay for healthcare. Therefore, Kathy came up with an idea that was logical and can done using local resources. She was a student at Harvard and her courseload was never low enough to give her a break, or allowing her to concentrate on the startup with her co-founder. Kathy recalls scheduling time for school, work, and sleep. There were upto 8 hours of study daily, 8 hours of work and 4 hours of sleep. She even took time off her school, in order to ensure that SPOUTS gains traction, making it easy to deliver safe drinking water as soon as possible.
In 2011, her team chose ceramic water filter system as one of the most economical ways to provide safe drinking water. The same year, they secured funding from Kasiisi Foundation. In 2012, they did their initial research with Kumi University in Uganda, and had their first factory and plant setup. Their first filters were sold to local educational institutes and families in 2013.
They make ceramic pot filters with the use of water, clay and rice husk mixtures. Then the mixture is machine pressed, molded in the correct pot shape, dried, and baked in a traditional ceramic firing kiln. When the rice husk combusts, it leaves behind 500 μm holes, which help remove physical contamination. The silver nitrate coating helps to purify impurities. The filtered water is then saved in a reservoir. The technique can kill impurities and germs to upto 99.9 percent. SPOUTS for Water now has 50 factories worldwide and 30 employees. Profits get reinvested in research and product development while providing educational resources as well as the provision of better drinking equipment installations at community educational institutions.