Nearly half the people on our planet do not have safe water to drink. Friendly Water for the World is a nonprofit organization, founded by Quakers, whose mission is to help expand access to low-cost clean water technologies, as well as information about health and sanitation, to people in need. They teach communities how to construct simple biosand water filters, which remove nearly 99% of all parasites, disease and water-borne pathogens.

After acquiring the skills needed to build a water filter, communities can then work autonomously to train their neighbors how to construct these biosand systems. Besides helping people learn how to bring safe drinking water to their families, Friendly Water for the World also supports the formation of independently owned cooperatives, which are able to locally construct more biosand systems for their region. Many of these new small businesses and co-ops are also run by women.

This grassroots water advocacy group has a strong commitment to social justice, and stresses self-sufficiency; they are currently is working on projects in Kenya, Burundi, India, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Uganda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Honduras.

Bringing clean water to Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, this man demonstrates how much cleaner the local water becomes after being purified through a biosand filter.


How Does it Work?


This relatively simple water filtration device was developed over two decades ago in Canada, by Dr. David Manz, who patented his life-saving invention, then made it freely available to the world. This video and diagram help to illustrate just how the low-tech biosand water filters actually work:



Earlier this month I met with one of the founders of Friendly Water for the World, David Albert. He explained how the organization came into being, and shared some amazing personal stories about their transformative work. He told me about a group of widows who were now working together with former child soldiers to bring clean water to their village, and many other amazing clean water successes from across the globe.

A biosand water filter can be built for around $50, and will last a family for decades, without maintenance. David confessed that it actually brings him great joy to raise funds for these important projects, and that he loves helping to direct human energy into such vital life-saving endeavors.

biosand water filter

Learn How to Make Biosand Water Filters


Friendly Water for the World has three biosand water filter trainings scheduled over the next few months in Washington and Oregon; there is still time to register to learn how to build this simple water purification system. The workshops include six days of classroom and hands-on instruction in creating a biosand water filter, as well as other related lessons and useful skills.

June 26-July 1 training in Olympia, Washington

August 21-26 training in Anacortes, Washington

September 29-October 3 training in Newberg, Oregon


Through their ongoing dedication and hard work, the Washington based clean water advocacy group strives to:

• Find practical methods of addressing water as an emerging issue of global importance

• Build relationships with individuals and communities in other parts of the world in need of environmentally sensitive clean water technologies and sound economic development

• Empower people to take charge of their water quality

• Provide useful skills to Friends and others as they go out into the world, and encouraging multigenerational opportunities

• Set up mentoring relationships among concerned Friends both in the U.S. and abroad, and finding ways for individuals from different parts of the Quaker tradition to work together

• Build local and transnational communities


If you would like more information about this organization, or would like to sign up for one of their upcoming trainings, please visit

Friendly Water for the World


all images are via Friendly Water for the World