Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

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Faircap has allowed NGOs and relief organizations to provide a small, portable, effective and low cost solution for purifying contaminated water as material relief assistance to people who need it most, during natural disaster situations (earthquakes, floods, etc.), during refugee migrations (to provide a portable water purifying solution for improved living conditions during long distance travelling and at refugee camps), and for people living in urban and rural areas in developing countries under unhealthy non-hygienic conditions.

In 2019, Faircap was awarded a second grant from the HIF’s diffusion call to support the scaling of this intervention, which was used to test the Faircap Mini water filter format for bottles through water quality improvements, as well as a user feedback study in places where mobility is needed. With the second grant we also tested a new filter format for family settings that incorporated a larger capacity filter and a hand pump that was easy to use and could be screwed into a Jerry can or water container to provide a higher flow rate and remove viruses.



With the first phase of funding from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), Faircap developed the main innovation which was the design of the filter, a small, easy to use water filter that could be used universally as it could be screwed into standard plastic bottles, that allowed the user to transport water and purify it instantaneously without waiting and without chemicals or electricity. The design is open (non-patented) and collaborative, new versions can be improved by inviting designers, scientists and engineers to propose new solutions.

With the second phase of funding from Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), the Faircap family filter solution followed similar principles to the bottle version; being easy to use, providing a much higher flow rate than other alternatives like gravity ceramic filters as it incorporates a hand pump, filters viruses which ceramic filters can’t, can be adapted to existing containers like Jerry cans and is small in size for easy shipment.

The aim was to gather evidence from at least two different labs, as well as in 2 to 4 locations in the field. The water quality improvements and the feedback from users was documented in a published report shared with NGOs and other researchers. The hope was that this would convince other humanitarian organizations to distribute the Faircap filters in their relief operations.


In the first phase of funding different versions of the Faircap filter were prototyped including a mini version for personal use and a filter for more people that had different adapters for different usage scenarios. The following was also tested;

  • Pathogen reduction using water sources in the field certifying the purifying effectiveness already tested at the lab
  • User uptake, specifically tracking whether there was an increase in water consumption; which could lead to fewer cases of disease, improved hydration and better health
  • Design needs, i.e. whether the current design fitted the needs of relief organisations so that the filter could be deployed anywhere in the world.

The results were documented and shared. A final product that could be produced in large quantities and at a low cost was made, so that any organization could make use of the Faircap filters.

With the second phase of funding, Faircap wanted to learn about the limitations of the innovation in the field, as well as the opportunities and potential impact they could provide during emergencies and sustained humanitarian situations.

Firstly, they wanted to gather evidence that Faircap filters were as effective in the field as they were in the lab. Secondly, they wanted to test that users were willing to adopt them in their daily lives and finally that they could be trusted and used for several months, to create a positive impact on health, preventing waterborne diseases.

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Latest Updates

Faircap: From an initial concept to making finished product part 2

20 Sept 2019

In part 2 of our final blog posts, we looked at how we built evidence regarding what worked and what the limitations of the Faircap project were.


Faircap: From an initial concept to making finished product part 1

20 Sept 2019

In this blog post we looked at the project from its initial concept to developing the finished product; and the lessons learned through this process.


Faircap: Rapid Prototyping and Collaborative Design

20 Sept 2019

Read this blog to find out about Faircap's experience with Rapid Design and the problems and solutions they encountered.


Faircap receive diffusion grant

1 Apr 2019

In April 2019, Faircap was successfully awarded a HIF diffusion grant to help them scale their project.


Faircap: open design and innovation

31 May 2017

Since receiving HIF support to continue developing the Faircap filter we made progress defining the final 3D design and worked with two labs to prepare the first series production. We also got the first functional prototypes working and arranged the final details to launch the production.

Children using the Faircap filter
Users of the Faircap filter
Faircap filter in use on a water bucket
Demonstration of the Faircap filter being used
The Faircap filter will filter water for bacteria
Faircap filter design
Faircap filter being made

Read the Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue

Learn more about this WASH project, and many others, in our Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue.

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