WHIL Projects

Representative Picture

Project Name



Photovoice I

“Photovoice” was the first project component of WHIL, initiated just after the May 2008 WHIL workshop. A qualitative research methodology designed in 1992 by community health educators working with rural Chinese women, Photovoice was selected as a creative and effective way to hear the community voice of mostly non-English speaking Tshapasha and Tshibvumo residents, and to begin building capacity of community members around water and health issues.

Slow Sand Filter

They found that centralized “slow sand filters,” made of concrete block holding a bed of sand and gravel with a naturally formed biological top layer (of bacteria fungus, algae, and other tiny water creatures), would clean water of bacteria and suspended particles well without the use of chemicals or electricity. For storage, large plastic containers called jo-jo tanks (5,000-10,000 liters) commonly used in Limpopo, proved an easier solution than making a reservoir that would disrupt the river flow downstream.

Health and Hygiene: Clean Water Camp

A group of UVa first year women and Univen nursing students introduced health and hygiene education in June 2010 for village primary school students and community members at a Clean Water Camp and Clean Water Fair. The primary students who attended the camp gave presentations at the Water Fair to their community on what they had learned.

Community Mapping


Ceramic Water Filter

From January 2009 through August 2010, UVa and Univen collaborated on a project outside of partnering villages that has been informative to the WHIL project with regards to the potential importance of in-home water filters. The Ceramic Filter Project, funded by the UVa-Pfizer International Initiative, was a pilot-study conducted at the St. Joseph clinic near Thohoyandou. It examined the health effects of using household water filters made from clay and sawdust and embedded with silver nanoparticles. These ceramic filters are set inside 5-gallon plastic containers. When water is poured into the filter pot, it flows through into the lower container, which has a spigot to release the filtered water for use. Household (or“point-of-use”) filters are among a number of simple, socially acceptable, and low-cost interventions that have the potential to significantly improve the quality of household water and reduce the risk of diarrheal disease and death, particularly among children
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