AngelaKuan profile“My Life has been difficult, but all the work I have done for my community has been worth it,” says 71-year-old Angela Kuan. This woman has led numerous projects that have built schools, roads, and water systems in Siares, a rural community in the mountains of Nicaragua.

Her latest project? Guaranteeing that every family in her village is drinking clean, safe water.

Angela is the Coordinator of her village’s Water and Sanitation Committee. She mobilized her community to purchase CTI’s Water Chlorinator in an effort to prevent the diarrhea and disease that frequently occurred from drinking untreated water. This inexpensive system attaches to a village water tank and uses chlorine tablets to disinfect an entire community’s drinking water source.

Angela and her neighbors shared the $200 (USD) cost of purchasing the chlorinator, and CTI staff trained Angela and other community volunteers to assemble and operate the system. Families in the community chip in a few cents each month to buy new chlorine tablets, and the system is regularly maintained by the local Water and Sanitation Committee.

Angela’s community of 1,500 now has clean drinking water.

What does this mean for Siares? Angela explains, “Before the chlorinator, you would see up to 2 children being buried because of diarrhea [each year]. Now the chlorinator has decreased sickness in our community, it has changed the lives of our people. I am happy to see the impact, children are being raised in a better environment.”AngelaKuan interview

Angela stresses that this success wouldn’t be possible without the support of CTI. She explains that prior to installing CTI’s Chlorinator, Siares tried other water treatment systems—but none of them stuck. Unlike the CTI Chlorinator, other technologies frequently rely on power sources that aren’t practical in rural communities, and they did not constantly clean the water. Because of its simplicity and effectiveness, rural villages can maintain and operate CTI’s Chlorinator with ease—which explains why CTI’s clean water project in Siares has thrived where others failed.

“I will die satisfied with the work I have done,” Angela stated proudly, “It has been an honor to do what I have done for my community,”

Angela’s passion and generosity have improved the lives of hundreds of men, women, and children in her village. And thanks to dedicated community members and support from CTI donors, more than 400,000 people across Nicaragua are drinking clean safe, water.


Adrian Diaz graduated from Northland College in May 2016. He double majored in Sustainable Community Development and Sociology with a Social Justice Emphasis. After finishing his internship with CTI, Adrian plans on applying to law school in the Twin Cities area, and becoming a human rights or immigration attorney.




Last year, CTI and our partners EOS International and Self-Help International launched a study to measure the effectiveness of CTI’s Water Chlorinator and water treatment efforts in rural Nicaragua. We are pleased to report that in unannounced visits to 21 communities with the chlorinator installed, 95% (20 out of 21) of chlorinators were stocked with chlorine and the units were being properly maintained by villages. A full report will be released in the coming weeks, but in the meantime we want to share a few of the highlights:

  • The chlorinator completely eliminated the presence of harmful bacteria in all communities with the chlorinator operating.
  • In communities with no water treatment system, harmful bacterial contamination was found in 70% of water sources, indicating a strong need for treatment

To date, 275,000 people in 540 villages across Nicaragua have gained access to safe drinking water through our program – including 76,000 people in 136 villages over the course of 2014 alone.

Look for the full study later this year!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Most Powerful Tool of All

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CTI’s most valuable tool is not a grinder, nor a chlorinator, but it is something that can’t be built. In Nicaragua, CTI has spent many years BUILDING TRUST while installing our Water Chlorinators. By partnering with volunteer water committees in Nicaragua, CTI trains villages to install and maintain chlorinators to control the harmful bacteria in water. Together, CTI and Nicaraguan communities are eliminating waterborne illness while building strong collaborative relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

On a recent trip with CTI to Nicaragua, members of Project Redwood directly experienced the implementation of CTI’s work and saw the power of this partnership in action. Project Redwood is a foundation of the Stanford Business School Class of 1980 that supports international development projects that mitigate the causes and effects of poverty.

Project Redwood members reported that CTI infuses enthusiasm, respectfulness, passion, and dedication to clean drinking water among the extraordinary Nicaraguan people — and in the process they create a bond of trust. As one traveler wrote, “The positive and respectful relationship shared by CTI and local water committees is fundamental in the adoption of CTI’s systems in Nicaragua.” This relationship makes CTI’s Water Chlorinator all the more effective because technologies are only truly appropriate when there is trust between those who build it and those who use it.

With the great relationships between CTI and Nicaraguan villages comes more opportunity to reach CTI’s goal of providing clean drinking water to 250,000 Nicaraguans by the summer of 2014. Severe rural poverty and the prevalence of water-borne illnesses remain a threat to these communities, but CTI’s Water Chlorinator makes water safe and that is key to their health, vitality, and opportunity. Project Redwood’s experience confirms that livelihoods can improve with great technology and trust.

To find out more about Project Redwood’s experience with CTI in Nicaragua, read their blogs here.

Blog pic of Sorcha

Sorcha Douglas is an intern from Macalester College, studying International Studies with a concentration in International Development and a minor in Environmental Studies.





If you’re reading this, you likely don’t have to worry that the water you drink today will make you too sick to go to work, or that it might kill your kids. This is largely because the introduction of water chlorination in the early 20th century virtually eliminated waterborne diseases in developed countries. Before we began using chlorine to treat our drinking water, thousands of US residents died every year from cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery.

Two years ago, CTI began helping communities in rural Nicaragua eliminate waterborne illness through chlorination–a solution that’s cheap, easy, and effective against most types of bacteria and viruses responsible for waterborne illness. We gathered a team of local organizations, health ministry officials and village volunteers, and working together, we’ve provided safe water for more than 150,000 people.

World Water Day

Today is International World Water Day: a day held annually on March 22 to recognize the importance of clean water, a day to focus attention on those who lack it, and—most importantly—World Water Day is a day to come together and DO SOMETHING about it.

We think everyone should have access to safe drinking water, especially children. But the reality is, 4,000 children will die today because of unsafe water, and no amount of reflection on World Water Day is going to change that, only action.

Will you to take action with us right now?

Will you join our efforts to bring safe water to 25,000 more Nicaraguans over the next four months? Since just one Water Chlorinator provides safe water for an entire community, a little money goes a long way:

  • A donation of $50 funds safe water for five families
  • A donation of $150 can deliver a water chlorination system to a village of 1,000 people

Your investment will improve lives for generations to come.

Donate Now 

Thank you to our water supporters!

With support from individuals, Nicaraguan communities, foundations and corporations, together we’ve helped more than 65,000 people gain sustainable sources of safe water in the last year. We want to thank the following organizations for their collaboration and generous support:

  • Pentair Foundation
  • Project Redwood
  • EOS International
  • Self Help International
  • Unity Avenue Foundation
  • Hudson Daybreak Rotary
  • Minneapolis City of Lakes Rotary Club
  • Rotary Club of New Brighton/Mounds View
  • New Richmond Rotary Club
  • Rotary Club of Rice Lake
  • St. Croix Valley Rotaract
  • Rotary Club of St. Paul
  • St. Paul Sunrise Rotary Club
  • Siren/Webster Rotary Club
  • Rotary Club of South Saint Paul




This article was originally published in CTI’s newsletter. Sign up now to receive monthly updates from CTI.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

CTI field tests water filtration system

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The fact that unsafe water kills more people each year than all forms of violence (including war) is appalling. But the fact that there are plenty of affordable and effective water treatment solutions makes these deaths a tragedy.

One of the challenges of eradicating waterborne illness in the developing world is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What works well in one community isn’t going to be appropriate in another. Take CTI’s water chlorinator, for instance. Our chlorinator is designed to provide safe water for a community; it attaches to a gravity-fed water source that an entire village obtains its water from, like a water tank. In Nicaragua, where community water tanks are common, CTI Water Chlorinators provide safe water to over 150,000 people. But there are many parts of the world where families obtain water from less centralized sources, like nearby streams or lakes. For these families, CTI’s Water Chlorinator isn’t going to be much help.

In search of a small-scale water solution

To help individual families treat their water, CTI is exploring a smaller-scale water filtration system that can provide safe water for 8-10 people and meet the following criteria:

  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • Does not require electricity
  • Must produce safe drinking water within 2 hours
  • Must produce a minimum of 15 gallons per day
  • Must be certified as to its efficacy against waterborne pathogens
  •  Must be easy to clean

We aren’t seeking to reinvent the wheel, so CTI’s water team has researched numerous technologies on the market that either meet the above criteria, or can be adapted. We’ve narrowed our focus on the Sawyer Water filter. We like the filter because it’s very affordable and it works exceptionally. Like most water treatment technologies, the filter does require occasional cleaning. Without cleaning, the water’s flow rate begins to decrease over time as the filter collects contaminates. In order to make the system easier for families to clean, we’ve permanently connected a backflush device that returns the filter to its optimal flow rate.

Testing Water Filter in Nicaragua

Testing in Nicaragua

Testing Water Filter in Senegal

Testing in Senegal

Field Testing in Senegal and Nicaragua

Two Prototype units are currently being field tested in Nicaragua and Senegal for flow capacity and ease of use. Thus far, feedback on performance has been consistently excellent. Users have reported the prototypes are effective, intuitive to use, and their rate of output is quite satisfactory. If the initial field tests continue to go well, CTI will likely explore wider distribution of the systems.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Coffee workers gain safe water in Nicaragua

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Siblings do the washing at Acopia San Francisco Uca, a major coffee plantation and wholesaler in Nicaragua. Behind them, community members build a CTI water chlorinator.

Siblings do the washing at Acopia San Francisco Uca, a major coffee plantation and wholesaler in Nicaragua. Behind them, community members build a CTI water chlorinator.

In rural Nicaragua, seasonal workers and their families travel long distances to work on coffee, corn and cocoa plantations for months at a time. The money they earn during this period is essential to their families’ welfare, but the lack of safe drinking water at plantations often causes serious illness—preventing seasonal workers from going to work and devastating families.

Access to safe water not only improves community health, it increases incomes too. In fact, every $1 invested in improved water and sanitation yields an average of $4-12 for the local economy.

Because communities ability to earn money is so dependent on safe water, many plantations in Nicaragua are installing CTI’s Water Chlorinator. We are currently providing safe water to more than 12,000 seasonal workers in Nicaragua. With access to safe water, parents can earn wages, kids can attend school, and families in general have better lives.