Beth Koigi was born in Kiambu, Kirenga village in Kenya, in a family of 5 children, and has 3 brothers and 1 sister. Both of her parents are farmers and have always believed in the importance of education.
After attending a local primary and secondary school, she received a government sponsorship to study community development at the university. While in school, she interacted with many people, and began her research into water borne diseases. Beth knows the effects of dirty water all too well: as a young woman she herself became very sick after drinking contaminated water.
After learning that in Kenya 56% of the population do not have access to clean water, that 80% of all diagnosed diseases are waterborne, and that access to clean water was impossible for many women in Kenyan communities, Beth felt compelled to bring her education, passion, and skills to bear on the problem, and started Aqua Clean Initiative, an organization that provides underserved communities in Kenya with affordable filters.
Initially, Beth found that while filters were available, they were far too expensive for most people in Kenya to afford. Saddened by seeing people drinking muddy and unclean water, Beth developed a filter which cost less than a third of others available. Her early designs were a hit, and provided many families with clean water. However, Beth knew she could innovate further, and recently developed a new type of filter which provides even better results and is much easier to use.
Although far cheaper than other options, Beth realized that the she wanted to ensure that every community had access to her filters, and knew that there had to be a way to make these filters available to those who need them most. In response, her organization, Aqua Clean, uses a micro-finance model to help women’s groups purchase the filters.
In 2014 Beth received a seed grant from the Pollination Project to support her work to provide water filters to communities who do not have access to clean water. She has supplied filters to over 500 households. She also received an impact Grant in 2015 from the Pollination Project, and has been working producing over 1,000 filters in the coming year.
Beth considers clean water to be the foundation for healthy communities. She explains, “the filter will promote health by encouraging people to use clean water; hence, improving health conditions.”