Leveraging Adoption of Low-cost water purification system (Nanofilter) for rural development

Nanofilter system makes clean and safe water available and affordable to rural communities and create employment to youth entrepreneurs

Photo of Askwar Hilonga
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Gongali Model Co.Ltd

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $50k - $100k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Tanzania

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Country 1: Tanzania, Arusha Country 2: Kenya, Kakamega



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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Every year 7,000 children die in Tanzania alone due to water borne diseases and millions of people are suffering from high fluoride level in drinking water. In Arusha areas where we implement our project, beside teeth and bones fluorosis, 50% of hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from water-borne diseases. Youth unemployment goes parallel with this water challenge, particularly in rural areas where there are limited opportunities.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Nanofilter® is a solution creating shared value! Dr. Hilonga has invented a water filter (Nanofilter®) for removal of all water contaminants. Water is first tested in the laboratory in order to identify the contaminants contained therein. As required by WHO Standards, the Nanofilter® “selectively” removes 99.999% of contaminants from water, including bacteria, viruses, and chemical contaminants (of any category). As demonstrated in our YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aORGCIp_2Fs), input water flows under gravity from the slow-sand filters to a collection bucket through the Nanofilter® and 0.1 micron hollow fiber membrane. This technology does not require electricity or pump. We make the clean and safe water accessible and affordable to our rural communities while creating job opportunities to youths. This is done through local entrepreneurs (mainly youth) who purify water and sale to their community at affordable price. This is a GREAT win-win approach - shared value!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We are proud of our many success stories such as winning five (5) different awards, extra-ordinary recognition - including been featured in the video with Bill Gates and other renown dignitaries: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkjmJ5MyQoE and global exposure to more than 10 countries. But the most rewarding part is that by Oct 2017 we have created job opportunities to 233 people (mainly youth) in rural Tanzania and are benefiting 12,500 people with clean and safe water. We have also given public education through our clean and safe water and sanitation campaigns through media and local meetings in rural communities; we have done hundreds of this! At present we have just opened our branch in Kenya (Kakamega) and are determined to scale-up our innovative activities to other countries, particularly in Sub-saharan Africa and India - where we have received a lot of invitations from potential agents / partners.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

I started pilot activities with my personal funds and got my first big support after winning Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation in 2014. Thereafter, we won another grant from HDIF/UKaid - GBP 350,000 in 2016. Those grants enabled us to establish our offices, Water testing laboratory, and many other facilities for our business eg. motorcycles, revolving funds, free mentor-ship, etc. With this initial powerful take off we have been able to firmly establish our business and now we generate revenue from (1) Sales from Nanofilter Water Stations - 55%, (2) Direct sales of filters - 20% (3) Water quality testing - 15%, and (4) Donations - 10%. The donations are mainly coming from GlobalGiving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/low-cost-sustainable-water-filter-for-70000-tanzanians/

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Unlike our competitors, Nanofilter targets specific contaminants in water. The drivers behind our business model are a mixture of social need, commercial feasibility, and technical capacity. Nanofilter's unique selling point is that we have developed a COMPLETE SOLUTION for drinking water challenge and made it convenient, accessible, affordable, sustainable and lasting solution to all categories of our customers, including those who may not afford to purchase our filter.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

“I want to be a millionaire. Not in terms of money, but in terms of impacting millions of lives”. I got this conviction as the result of my childhood challenges in rural Tanzania. I grew up in ‘Gongali’, a poor and humble village near the Ngorongoro Crater, where - like in most rural areas in Tanzania - drinking river water is still normal. I’ve been struggling with waterborne diseases myself and we still have terrible statistics in Tanzania, even in this 21st Century. After finishing my Ph.D in South Korea in 2010 and Master of Public Health (MPH) in 2012 I decided to return home and determined to take ACTION after asking myself a question: "What does my Ph.D mean to my suffering community?" - If I can not solve the water challenge even after publishing 41 papers in top SCI journals! I was also motivated by the business opportunity because 70% of 50 m Tanzanians have no water filters

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

Attachments (1)

Hilonga - Nanofilter - List of Links and Videos.docx

Nanofilter is featured on WIPO, BBC, DW, CCTV, France TV, Sci.Dev, etc. Please kindly glance over the attached list; also available at http://gongalimodel.com/Water-Nanofilter.html


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In existing situation, this is a good work.
Sustainability is one issue; monitoring and maintenance are other issues

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