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To filter or not to filter: The case of ShelterBox

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posted on 20.10.2020, 15:00 by Edwin Wong
ShelterBox (SB) is a humanitarian aid organization responding to emergencies around the world. Part of their aid package is a Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage system (HWTS) known as the Thirst Aid Station (TAS). Currently, SB, as an organization, is at a crossroads. Some in SB advocate discontinuing provision of their HWTS while others consider the HWTS to be crucial to SB’s strategy. To better inform the organization’s decision, a range of data concerning SB’s HWTS program was collected. SB’s TAS was compared to other HWTS products, and found to be well-suited to the multiple scenarios that SB operates in. However, a broader assessment of SB’s program approach estimated the effectiveness of SB’s current program approach to be much lower compared to enhanced program approaches by other organizations. Nonetheless, tasks required to enact similar enhanced program approaches were deemed unfeasible by SB. So, with the consultation of HWTS experts, alternative ways of achieving an enhanced program were proposed. Should SB decide to adopt these alternative ways, the organization is likely to have a more effective program. If not, SB must decide if it is satisfied with the lower effectiveness its HWTS program currently yields.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)