In Malaysia, there are about 4.3 millions Orang Asli / Orang Asal living in various part of the country including Sabah and Sarawak.
According to Malaysia’s Department of Statistics, 53 percent of Orang Asli communities do not have access to piped water. Besides lack of access to clean water and sanitation, the Orang Asli, like other underserved communities in Malaysia, are at higher risk of waterborne and water-washed diseases.
Infant mortality is reported to be double the national figure while parasitic infections are as high as 90% in certain Orang Asli communities. Clean water supply is the key contributor to the problem of household food insecurity among these communities.
The Life Changing Innovation and Project:
The Efinity Clean Water, Comes Easy project started from the inspiration of Teng Yu-Mein, a housewife and a mother of a 16 years old son when she was on a reach out program with her church to a Orang Asli village in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan. She noticed that the water from the taps in the homes of the orang asli was murky and full of sediment as they were directly piped from the rivers. The water in the rivers usually becomes murky after a heavy rain fall.
She and her husband, Robest Yong designed a simple gadget called the Efinity EZ Cap, this simple unique innovation was designed to fit into the common Coke / PEPSI used bottles and then be connected to an air pump and a filtering element. The air pump will induce air pressure into the bottle to force the dirty water out with high pressure thru the filtering element which will remove all the dirt as only the clean water passes thru.
It is cheap, easy to maintain and yet an effective product which is very suitable for the people in the rural communities especially the orang asli.
Connected to a 0.02 micron UF membrane filter, the system is able to produce clean and safe drinking water at a rate of around 3 liters a minute. The filtering membrane is good for filtering about 30,000 liters of water or 3 – 4 years of normal usages before the need for replacement.
In just 3 years of operation, the Efinity Clean Water Comes Easy project had successfully recorded:
- More than 5,000 sets of the Efinity Water filters had been deployed to the marginalized communities all over the world since 2017.
- More than 2,000 sets were deployed to the local orang asli in Peninsular Malaysia as well as in Sabah and Sarawak.
- With an average of 8 members of the family living in one home, 40,000 people are now having the luxury of clean water for drinking and cooking.
- The people will be able to filter the water the need at the comfort of their own homes instead of fetching them from the centralized filtering station which could of some distant away.
- The people, especially the women would be saving a lot of time and energy when they no longer need to do the chores of fetching the water.
- Those who had been buying an average of 2 litters of mineral water a day for drinking, would be saving RM 50 a month which now being used for other daily necessities and their children education.
- With clean for drinking, illness such as Cholera and Diarrhea had been significantly reduced.
- Pride and dignities of the orang asli who had been forced to drink dirty and muddy water had been restored.
- There had been no report of water poisoning cases from the communities where we had installed the Efinity filters.
WHAT IMPACT HAS THIS PROJECT CREATED IN THE COMMUNITY/ NATION?
The invention of the Efinity EZ Water Filter had won numerous awards and accolades from 2016 to 2020.
- 2016 MaGRIs Grassroot Innovation awards from Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia
- 2016 National Innovation Award from MOSTI
- 2017 Swiss Innovation Challenge from Switzerland
- 2017 International Technology Exhibition (ITEX)
- 2018 Star Golden Hearts Award
- 2019 Malaysia Commercialization Year Award from MESTECC
- 2020 Malaysia Technology Expo (MTE)
- 2020 Asia Social Innovation Award
- 2020 Special Polish Innovation Award
- 2020 International Award of Merit from Croatia
These achievement had done the nation proud and also inspired other Malaysians to come forward with social innovations to help our fellow countrymen and also to spread goodwill and brotherhood among all other nations regardless of race, religion and political believe.
The Prime Minister recently proclaimed that the people are the asset to the nation. But to put it in a better prospective, it should be “A healthy person is an asset to the nation but an unhealthy one is a liability”.
With clean water and sanitation, the people will be healthier and less prone to illness. This will save the government medical expenses on them.
Health is wealth and the people can be more productive in their work and be more self sustainable thus require lesser aids from the government.
HOW WAS THIS PROJECT HELP TO ADVANCE THE CHOSEN SDG?
Clean water and sanitation had always been the number one priority of every country in the world. Over 70% of the world surface is water and yet people are drying from thirst each day. True to the words of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge…. “ Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”
The objective of the Clean Water, Comes Easy project is to help advance Global Goal 6, including multiple sub-targets through the same initiative.
Each household to have a unit of the Efinity water filters installed in their homes. They will come with Ultra-filtration membrane element which is capable of removing 99.99% of the sediment and bacteria, thus making it safe for them to drinking without boiling. According to a recent JAKOA report, disease like Cholera, Leaptospirosis and Diarrhea are avoidable if the people have excess to clean drinking water.
By providing consistent clean water access and education on hygienic practices through the Clean Water Movement project, women and girls in the rural community gets the opportunity to practice better personal hygiene routines.
Through the site visitations, the team realized that some rainwater harvesting systems are inefficient due to a small catchment area. In some villages, the team will also help install and increase the overall rain gutter’s length to divert more rainwater to fill the water tanks in complementing the government’s effort. The team will also teaches the rural communities on the basic water tank maintenance and cleaning procedures to keep the water clean at all times.
THE TAGLINE FOR UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (UNSDGs) IS “LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND.” PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW YOUR PROJECT HELPS TO REALIZE THE COMMITMENT OF UNSDGS FOR THE FUTURE. HIGHLIGHT ANY OTHER SDG(s) THAT YOUR PROJECT HAS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY CREATED POSITIVE IMPACT TO PEOPLE AND SOCIETY
The very reason why we started this project is to reach out to those who had been forsaken and left behind…. the poor, the rural and the marginalized. Without the basic rights to clean drinking water, this will not happen. Today, the official average life span of the orang asli is 45 years old.
We are not only serious in “Leaving no one behind”, but also extending our arms to those who are already been left behind.
Our project Clean Water, Comes Easy is a baby step towards this goal.