Ms. Susan Murcott, a water/waste water engineer in MIT’s D-Lab, has worked to improve WASH infrastructure around the world, including a previous water filtration project in Nepal. More recently, she has designed a low-cost, low-energy, easily assembled water-testing kit that evaluates levels of fecal contamination in drinking water. Such systems are much needed in many communities in Nepal where fresh water supplies have been disrupted by earthquake-related damage, or are otherwise unreliable.
In Spring 2015, MIT Associate Provost Richard Lester provided a small grant to assemble and ship 2,000 of these kits to Nepal, where ENPHO, a Nepal NGO, used them to test water found in water trucks and food carts in the Kathmandu Valley. Based on this initial, successful collaboration, the MIT-Nepal Initiative, ENPHO, and its social business spinoff EcoConcern are undertaking a project in 2018-2019 to build manufacturing capacity and marketing networks to sell the kits in Nepal and elsewhere in South Asia. This work is being funded by a “Solutions" grant from the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems (J-WAFS) Lab and MIT’s Deshpande Center. In fall 2018, Susan Murcott constituted a team of students and staff to pursue the project. After preparatory work during the semester, Susan and five students went to Nepal during IAP 2019. As result of this collaboration, ENPHO and EcoConcern have developed the "ECC vial” and incubation kits. Production and marketing of the kits will begin in Nepal in October 2019. J-WAFS and the Deshpande Center have renewed the Solutions grant for the 2019-2020 academic year. This second year of funding will allow the MIT team under Murcott’s leadership to continue to work with our Nepali partners, and to explore manufacturing and sales opportunities elsewhere in South Asia.
If you are a member of the MIT community who wishes to learn more about becoming involved in this project, please contact Susan Murcott.