Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Competition Year: 2014

AQUA-BRIDGE tackles drinking water problems in the developing countries through the integration of water filtration technology and effective data management via a community-based web platform using Information Communication Technology

Health and Medical Energy and Environment Water and Sanitation Mobile Devices and Communications Emergency and Disaster Relief


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Our Pitch

Drinking water problem: According to the WHO/UNICEF Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012 Update, over 780 million people worldwide have no access to improved sources of drinking water. Children are especially vulnerable, with approximately 20% of deaths of children under five years in developing countries occurring from diarrheal disease.

Our serving community: Kiwalani community in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is an urban informal settlement. The majority of community members are currently suffering severely from water, sanitation and hygiene related problems. A neighboring large industrial area has seized the community’s main water supply from the centralized water system, limiting the community’s only source of drinking water to four privately owned wells.

Solution: We tackle drinking water problems through the integration of water filtration technology and effective data management via a community-based web platform using Information Communication Technology (ICT). The ICT platform will allow us to make a data-driven decisions based on the sufficient information collected from our community. Our data management system can be divided into four steps.

STEP1: Data collection (water quality, community input, rent fee collection)

STEP2: Data mining & transforming (data visualization)

STEP3: Integrative data analysis (extract meaningful information)

STEP4: Data driven decision making (improved filter design, optimized filter management)


Provide sustainable drinking water systems to 500 people (50 households) in Kiwalani community, AND develop a web-based platform for data collection, transfer and analysis that will support community specific water treatment systems.

Who We Are

[1] Peter K. Kang ( is a PhD candidate in Civil & Environmental Engineering at MIT. He has expertise in groundwater hydrology, flow and transport through porous media, and water purification technologies. During his PhD studies, he has developed an effective and predictive transport model through porous media systems which can be applied to low-cost water treatment systems and contaminant transport through groundwater. He is also a founder of AQUA-BRIDGE, which integrates low-cost water filtration technology with Information Communication Technology (ICT) to allow effective data collection for making data-driven decisions to solve drinking water problems in developing countries. The project is ongoing and has successfully distributed biosand filters to deliver clean water to Kiwalani community in Tanzania. Peter holds a Bachelor of Civil, Urban & Geosystem engineering from Seoul National University with summa cum laude in 2008, and Master of Science from MIT in 2010. He has been selected as a Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellow in 2010 and Martin Fellows for Environmental Sustainability at MIT in 2013. Peter will lead the project and be in charge of water filtration technology.

[2] Youjin Shin ( is a M.P.S(Master of Professional Studies) candidate in Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. She also holds MS degree in Mechanical Engineering at Korea University. In her graduate years in Mechanical Engineering, she developed the surveillance mobile robot system under the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of Korea (MKE) as a part of government’s SMART project to develop the new economic growth engines for South Korea. In addition to her strong technical skills, she has experiences working with humanitarian non-profits, including a six-month internship at Amnesty International, and training at the Appropriate Technology Academy where she worked on water purification solutions for communities in Rwanda. In her current studies at ITP, she has developed an website for empowering women in Haiti and currently working on a project to solve energy poverty in Burundi in Design for UNICEF class. Based on her strong technical background and diverse experiences, she will be in charge of developing a community-based web platform in project AQUA BRIDGE.

[3] Pratik Shah ( is a fellow in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Microbiology and Immunology at MGH and Harvard Medical School and in the Infectious Disease Initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He was part of a team that discovered a novel vaccine antigen against pneumococcal infections. He has a strong educational background and interest in biological sciences with BS, MS and PhD all in Microbiology, and in particular with infectious diseases that primarily affect children and the elderly (pneumonia and diarrhea). In addition to having an academic research career, he is interested in tackling global health concerns and the bench-to-bedside transition of discoveries from the laboratory to markets in the developing world. Pratik is also involved in MIT Enterprise Forum and MIT Media lab. Pratik has been developing approaches that could significantly improve the quality of drinking water by selectively inhibiting harmful bacteria that cause diarrhea. He is also actively working on the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that causes cholera, a waterborne disease, and is taking several innovative approaches such as digital gene expression technology and proteomic studies with this deadly pathogen. Pratik is leading the effort to design, implement and innovate water-quality testing and criteria to warn community members of unsafe water. He also develops the business plan and helps in making Aqua-Bridge financially sustainable.

Our Community Partner

Partner Name

Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP)


Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP) is Tanzania nationwide activist non-governmental organization based in Tanzania committed to pursuing three main goals: activism lobbying, coalition building, and enhancing women leadership in Tanzania. TGNP and AQUA-BRIDGE have been collaborated for past three years.


  • Service Location
    Kiwalani, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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Comments and Support

  • Equitable urban water quality/access issues are key to the future for humanity: we are rapidly becoming a predominantly urban species!

    Posted by J. Mendler de Suarez on Fri, Apr 18th 2014, 16:07 Report Abuse

  • Water security is related to the survival of mankind

    Posted by . li on Mon, Apr 14th 2014, 10:17 Report Abuse

  • Hi AQUA-Bridge! Thanks for starting a team! The first chance to submit a scope statement is this Thursday (Oct 24 @ 11:59pm) so we hope to read more about your idea soon. Please feel free to contact us at if you have any questions.

    Posted by K. Swan on Tue, Oct 22nd 2013, 16:44 Report Abuse

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