Okotoks resident heading to Kenya with Samaritan's Purse to install water filters

June 13, 2013 • Africa • Okotoks Online

Alberta resident travels to Africa as an intern with Samaritan's Purse Water Projects.

Written by Dan Bascombe
Published by Okotoks Online on Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sixteen  young Canadians from across the country will be spending seven months overseas working with Samaritan’s Purse.

Okotoks resident Michele McIllveen is part of the group heading to Kenya at the end of June to help impoverished people in the country get access to clean water.

She says they’ll be doing that by installing Biosand Water Filters in the communities.

“It’s a Canadian invention using micro organisms to remove disease causing bacteria and parasites from water, which leaves the water clean, healthy, and ready to drink,” says McIllveen.

The filter is a point of use device that the program hopes to place in each household in the communities that are interested in the program.

McIllveen says the filter will give a number of families a chance to have clean, drinkable water.

“They are drinking dirty water that is very harmful, especially to young children. It just alleviates a lot of the suffering for the families.”

The internship program, which has been running since 1998, had more than 100 applicants this year.

“[The interns] are selected on a variety of criteria including their educational background and their prior travel and cross-cultural experience,” says Jason Martens, the program’s coordinator.

The internship programs receives funding from the Canadian International Development Agency, which has recently absorbed into the Department of Foreign Affairs. The rest of the funding for the filters is raised by a number of community groups and members.