It takes a lot of time, work, planning, organization, patience and prayer to get our filters into the family homes.
The entire process takes 4-7 months and begins in Belmont, Michigan where the filter parts are produced at a plant. This usually takes a few weeks, excluding any unforeseen malfunctions or technical errors. Other parts like tubing, the spigot, and sand are ordered from other vendors and everything is sent to Knoxville. Here, our experienced assembly team puts all the parts together, measures and bags the sand, and packages the filters to be shipped on a pallet. In each shipping container we can fit 1,080 filters.
In the meantime, our team is collaborating with our transportation company to settle on details like pick-up date, price, legal documentation, and coordinating with our in-country team to pick up the filters at the port.
Filters going to Guatemala only take a a few weeks (max) to arrive at the port, while filters going to Uganda can take 4-6 weeks. Once they are in country, it’s a waiting game. We hope to get through customs quickly, but you never know what is going to happen.
After teams get their hands on the filters they immediately go to a warehouse (In Uganda, TivaWater owns the warehouse. In Guatemala, we use the Vine International warehouse). These are the distribution points for filters.
Next, communities and families in need of filters are identified and then filters are loaded onto a truck and taken to the area for distribution. Sometimes the distribution is home to home and other times there is a group training. It all depends on the specific project. Every family is trained on how to use and maintain the filter and the importance of drinking clean water.
And that, in a nutshell, is how we go from start to finish!