About The Archimedes Project
Who are we?
The Archimedes Project is a not-for-profit organization that believes the most intractable problems in water and sanitation can be solved using market-driven approaches. Our goal is to end water-borne disease by supporting the design and launch of scalable and financially sustainable clean water and sanitation social enterprises around the world.
The Archimedes Project believes the world already has the technology, resources and expertise necessary to get water and sanitation to those who need it. All that’s missing is a little leverage.
The Archimedes Project co-founds revenue-generating enterprises that utilize existing cost-effective technologies and establish local partnerships to eliminate water-borne disease once and for all. We bring together visionaries, thinkers, makers and doers from across sectors in hackathon-style Ideation Labs to create lean, collaboration-driven social enterprises that can scale across a country.
Frequently Asked Questions [and Answers]
Who is Archimedes?
Archimedes is a Greek mathematician who discovered leverage: The phenomenon by which a larger, seemingly impossible-to-move object can be moved by a much smaller object. He is credited with having said – “Give man a long enough lever and a firm point on which to place it, and he can move the world.” At the Archimedes Project, we believe that by leveraging existing technology, resources and business ideas, we can solve the world’s toughest water and sanitation issues.
Why water and sanitation?
Archimedes Project Founder Faith Wallace-Gadsden traveled to Haiti two weeks after cholera hit the impoverished Caribbean nation. Then completing her PhD in molecular microbiology, Faith established a research partnership with a hospital located at the epicenter of the nascent outbreak. She quickly realized that the international community, despite all of its technology, resource and expertise, was failing to stop cholera before it got out of control. In an article for Crowdfunder Insider, Faith recounts her frustration with the intensifying situation in Haiti in 2010:
Here are the facts: Cholera kills over 120,000 people every year. Diarrhea kills 2 million children under the age of 15 per year. We think this is unacceptable. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation not only impacts individual livelihoods, particularly those of girls and women, but also greatly affects national productivity. Diarrhea causes the loss of $260 billion of economic productivity.
It is absolutely crucial that water and sanitation be treated as a crosscutting issue that affects every other major development challenge, including education, health, and unemployment.
Finding effective solutions to water-borne disease is a crucial step towards alleviating global poverty.
What’s an Ideation Lab?
One of the main obstacles to finding effective solutions to the world’s water and sanitation problems is a lack of emphasis on action. Donor-reliant organizations take too long to find answers to a problem we already have the technology, resources and expertise to solve. Our Ideation Labs bring together the best minds and most experienced hands across sectors to ideate, design and launch scalable clean water and sanitation projects.
Although many clean water and sanitation organizations have operations in developing countries, none are similar to Archimedes Project in facilitating and implementing innovative ideas generated by a diverse gathering of experts, students and practitioners. In 3 days we build a social enterprise, within 365 days we launch it.
In November 2013, we brought together 65 experts, students and professionals from all sectors for a hackathon-style weekend of brainstorming to develop a market-based, scalable, lean social enterprise to address sanitation and water issues around the world. At the end of the three days, we agreed to move forward with the idea for Community Chlorinators, a clean water social enterprise dedicated to ending cholera in Haiti.
What is ‘Community Chlorinators’ or 'Kouzin Dlo'?
Kouzin Dlo, emerged from a business concept called Community Chlorinators from our November 2013 Ideation Lab. After taking the lead on the idea with passion and innovation, Jessica Laporte became the project’s co-founder and successfully launched in June 2014. Since day one, she has coordinated the various actors involved in running a simple business in a complex context.
In Haiti there have been over 900,000 reported cases of cholera and over 9,500 deaths from this devastating and debilitating disease since October 2010. Simultaneously, more than 40% of Haitians are unemployed, and more than two-thirds of working individuals do not have formal jobs. In urban Haiti, the cost for a household to purchase safe drinking water is equal to 16% of the average wage; a cost burden many are not able to bear.
Kouzin Dlo tackles all of the above challenges simultaneously, generating local employment opportunities, especially for women, while developing a distribution network for chlorine, a proven and low-cost water treatment product, and increasing the accessibility and affordability of clean water. Kouzin Dlo works with local partners to train community members to become entrepreneurs who educate their neighbors and friends about the value of chlorine to purify drinking water, offer the product for sale, and teach them how to use it.
With the help of on-the-ground partners Team Tassy, RAJEPRE and Malteser International/PENAH RAJEPRE, Klouzin Dlo launched its first pilot site in June 2014 in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Bwa Nef in Cité Soleil. Since then, it has launched in two additional sites (Menelas and Cite Limye). Kouzin Dlo has sold chlorine to clean over 2 million gallons of water.