Project Details

Water Sanitation and Hygiene 2017 Community Project

The SOFER Initiative WASH project is commissioned to investigate and proffer practicable solutions (long/short term) to water, sanitation and hygiene problems/ challenges in Ibeno L.G.A, using Mkpanak community as a case study.

To better understand the WASH challenges, SOFER Initiative carried out a Need Analysis Survey in Mkpanak. The survey showed that:

  • Mkpanak community in Ibeno LGA is a host to oil exploration companies which includes, Exxon Mobil, Network Exploration, etc
  • The activities of operating companies resident in Ibeno have contributed immensely to the environmental degradation of the communities
  • The residents in Mkpanak like other coastal communities in Ibeno do not have access to a proper and adequate defecation system, safe drinking water and proper health care services
  • Women and children have been gravely affected, leaving them more vulnerable to diseases
  • The major sources of water which are; surface/well and borehole water are contaminated with chemicals and pathogens making it inconsumable for the locals

Further investigations revealed that residents of this community do not have proper knowledge of hygiene. The resultant effect of the hygiene deficiency has led to increased mortality and morbidity rate especially among children and women.

The WASH project therefore draws attention to the fact that urgent solution is indeed required to save the livelihood of this community. These solutions include;

  • Construction and installation of Bio Sand Filter (BSF) for purification of contaminated water
  • Awareness campaign on hygiene
  • Environmental Sanitation targeted at cleaning up the Ibeno beach
  • Pro Environmental Policy Drive

Goals of the Project

We hope to achieve the following goals on the completion of this project:

  • Strengthening environmental values among the residents of Ibeno community
  • Reduction of morbidity and mortality rate in the community as it relates to Water/Hygiene illnesses
  • Widening the community's involvement in the United Nations Environment program/activities
  • Reduce the hygiene challenges of women and children in the community and promote healthy living

Objectives of the Project

Objective #1

To achieve equitable access to universally accepted safe and affordable drinking water for everyone in Ibeno local government area starting from Mkpanak community.

Objective #1

To achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for everyone in the community and minimize open defecation.

Objective #1

Focus on the needs of women, children and those in vulnerable situations in the community.

About the BSF (Bio Sand Filter)

The Bio Sand Filter is an easy-to-use household water treatment system which is an improvement on the traditional slow sand filters specifically designed for periodic use. The BSF was proposed by Dr. David Manz in the late 1980s at the University of Calgary, Canada. According to the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), the BSF was developed from the slow sand filter that has been used for drinking water purification since the 1800s.


The filter container can be made of concrete, plastic or any other water-proof and non-toxic component. However, for the WASH project, SOFER Initiative is building both the concrete and plastic types. The other components include Lid (for covering the BSF), Diffuser, and Outlet tube, Filtration Sand, Separation Gravel and Drainage Gravel.


The filter operation is easy. Water is poured into the top of the filter after which it travels slowly through the sand and gravel bed. At the base of the filter the water is collected and drained through plastic piping out of the filter into a clean water container for storage.


The BSF purifies water by removing pathogens and suspended solids through a combination of biological and physical processes that take place in the biofilm layer which is within the sand layer. These processes are:

  • Mechanical trapping and sieving: Suspended solids and pathogens are physically trapped in the spaces between the sand grains.
  • Absorption and attachment: Pathogens become attached to each other, get stuck in the sand and thus more easily sieved.
  • Predation: Pathogens are consumed by other micro-organisms in the biological layer.
  • Natural death: Some pathogens die from starvation and lack of oxygen for them in the BSF.


The BSF is a proven technology which removes pathogens such as bacteria, protozoa and worms with 99% purity level over a period of 30 days. It has been widely used in rural India and Bangladesh and other regions of the world where safe drinking water is a challenge. Thus, we have adopted this purification system for the WASH project.