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Interview Questions

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Zak H

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of Interview Questions

1. How did you first get involved with PureMadi?
I first got involved with PureMadi while I was working on my Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Virginia. One of my professors there, Jim Smith, was doing research on ceramic water filtration techniques – and he brought a group of students together to do additional research with the University of Venda (located in South Africa) over one summer. I was pulled into the project after that summer, when I worked with Jim to apply for a Fulbright Grant to work with professors and students at the University of Venda for 9 months post-graduation.
3. How much training do the local villagers need to have and how much does it cost or take to train them?
Again, the MadiDrop is still in the research phase. Don’t quote me on this (!)– but I’m guessing it will cost about $0.75 to make the MadiDrop – this includes clay (free), sawdust, water, electricity, and silver. We will charge about $2 for one MadiDrop, to pay the women and get a return on PureMadi’s investment. I’m not sure how Rebecca Kelly answered this question – but she may have more accurate or update pricing information.
The Ceramic Water Filters cost about $10 to make – this includes the cost of clay, sawdust, electricity, water, silver, the bucket, spigot, and sticker. We charge about $20 for one filter – to pay the women for their labor, and to get a return on PureMadi’s investment.

3. How much training do the local villagers need to have and how much does it cost or take to train them?
I was personally responsible for doing a lot of the training to teach the potters how to create and sell filters. I was in South Africa working directly with the potters for 9 months over 2012-2013. We made a lot of progress over this time! Unfortunately, since I have returned to the U.S., the potters have not developed many filters on their own. We believe this is mainly due to cultural differences and priorities. (Keep in mind, the women making these filters are running households with many responsibilities – child care, cooking, cleaning, collecting water, making clothes, caring for the sick or elderly, etc). Overall, I would guess it will end up taking 2 years to train them to make functioning filters consistently. In terms of cost - all of PureMadi’s money has come from various grants or donations – so it’s difficult to put an exact number on it. For “training” alone – the highest cost would be paying the person to train them, and most of our work has been through volunteering or grants! There are no additional training costs – just working side by side with the women to learn how to make the filters appropriately!
We have invested a great deal of money in creating the space they create filters in, purchasing start-up materials, and buying electrical equipment. All of this equipment probably add’s up to around $40,000.

5. Does the MadiDrop only work on water that has been drained of sediments?
Great question! The ceramic filter will physically filter the water (drain the water of sediments) in the filtration process. The filter will also chemically disinfect the water through the silver nanoparticles. Water of any quality can be cleaned by the ceramic filter – and it will filter out 99% of harmful bacteria.
The MadiDrop does not provide a physical filtration component (you’re right!) – it simply releases silver nanoparticles into the water, chemically disinfecting it. So yes – ideally the water being used with the MadiDrop has been filtered through another filtration device (even something as simple as a tshirt) to get the dirt and large particles out.

6. What is you process for cleaning water of sediments so that you can use the MadiDrop?
Since we haven’t started selling MadiDrops yet – this is difficult to answer. I’m sure we will decide on a “recommended” pre-filtration technology – but we haven’t decided yet. One option is to use the MadiDrops and filters together. Another idea is a t-shirt or fabric like I mentioned above, a very thin mesh.... the locals come up with great ideas that they have around their homes!
7. Does the MadiDrop also purify the water from bacteria and viruses?
Yes – chemically, through the silver nanoparticle release, which occurs once the MadiDrop enters the water. This process rids the water from nearly all bacteria and viruses. (It is still important to physically filter out dirt and other large particles in the water, if the source of the water is visibly unclean!)
8. What was your inspiration for this career? Was there someone special in your life that inspired you to join PureMadi? What classes did you take in high school and college to prepare you for this career?
So, PureMadi is a volunteer activity for everyone involved right now. I worked for 9 months in South Africa working to develop PureMadi and I loved it! I love development work – in particular with water. I’m excited to see PureMadi grow and expand as we continue to work with it.
Earlier in my college career, I went to Belize to work with slow-sand filtration – another really interesting water filtration technique that is used in the developing world. I was able to take a couple of development courses while I was at UVA, but for the most part I took water-based science classes.
My “career” (for now), is actually working as a water resources engineer for a large engineering and consulting company. I took a lot of math and science courses in high school, and my stepmom encouraged me to study engineering in college. I got my undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a focus in water resources engineering. That’s how I first met Professor Jim Smith (the one who started it all!) I tried to follow my passion for development by taking classes when I could. PureMadi pulls from lots of disciplines at UVA – we have students and professors from across the board – engineering, economics, business, medicine, anthropology, biology, even architecture!

I interviewed Ms.Schmidt from the PureMadi foundation
Interview Questions
Overall, I would say it takes the local potters about 2 weeks to make a batch of 60 filters. The steps of the process include.... 1) Gather clay from the nearby clay deposit, 2) Grind the clay down to a fine dust, 3) Order and receive sawdust from a local lumberyard, 4) Use a sieve to get the sawdust down to tiny particles, 5) Mix the clay, sawdust, and water together in an electric mixer, 5) Use the Filter Press to make sure the filters are all the same shape and size, 6) Let the filters air-dry for a few days 7) Fire them in the kiln – firing alone takes an entire day at least – the kiln needs to get up to 900 Celsius! 8) Perform quality assurance tests on the filters to ensure that they will have an acceptable flow rate 9) Paint silver nanoparticles on the filters, and 10) Drill a hole in the bucket, slap on a sticker, and place the filter inside!
2. How long does it take for local villagers to make the MadiDrop or is that something that has to be transported to the village from America?
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