Potters For Peace
Potters for Peace is a nonprofit organization that has created a network of potters and other relevant parties to improve quality of life and preserve tradition using local skills and materials. PFP primarily works in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 and has headquarters in Brisbee, Arizona. PFP manages projects that help local potters to improve and market their products. PFP is best known for their work in water treatment, which has influenced water treatment systems worldwide. The treatment strategy follows a Point-Of-Use (POU) water treatment
Point-of-Use (POU) water treatment
Point-of-use water treatment refers to a variety of different water treatment methods used to improve water quality for an intended use , at the point of consumption instead of at a centralized scale...

 design that uses ceramic water filters to remove pathogens and other contaminants from the water. This is generally a very effective method to remove bacteria from water, though there are some concerns about the ease of use and maintenance of the filtration units. Unlike other similar organizations, PFP does not manufacture these filters, but instead helps local communities to set up independent filter workshops to produce and sell the filters.


Potters for Peace is clear to assert itself as an assistance organization, rather than an aid-based organization. Instead of simply solving the problem, PFP aims to provide sustainable solutions propelled by the goals of the individuals they work with.
According to the Potters for Peace website, "Our goals are to offer support, solidarity and friendship to developing world potters; assist with appropriate technologies sustained using local skills and materials; help preserve cultural traditions; and assist in marketing locally, regionally and internationally".


Potters for Peace got its start in 1986 when a group of potters led by Mary Chapman
Mary Chapman
Mary Chapman has been the Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute in the UK since 1998.-References:*...

 of the Quixote Center in Washington DC traveled to Nicaragua. The potters met with a female pottery/canning cooperative. This led to the first PFP fundraiser in Washington, DC. The program began to gain momentum after the Nicaraguan civil war to help pottery cooperatives . In 1988, the first contact in Nicaragua was made. A year later Steve Earp and Ron Rivera
Ron Rivera
Ronald Eugene Rivera is the head coach of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. Rivera was a linebacker on the 1985 Chicago Bears, who won Super Bowl XX. Rivera was the defensive coordinator for the 2006 Chicago Bears, who won the National Football Conference championship and competed in Super Bowl XLI...

 were sent. Ron Rivera helped make tenmoku
Tenmoku is a dark glaze with a surface that resembles oilspotting.It is made of feldspar, limestone, and iron oxide. The more quickly a piece is cooled, the blacker the glaze will be...

 glazed ceramics for electrical transmission lines. Over the next decade, PFP grew in size, finally receiving 501(c) (3) non-profit status in 1999 in the US. PFP later obtained non-governmental organization status in Nicaragua.

The best know PFP project, ceramic water filters, was begun when in 1998 Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch was the most powerful hurricane and the most destructive of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph . The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the season. Along with Hurricane Georges, Mitch...

 struck Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. A filter workshop was set up in 1999. This workshop developed into an independent business that has implemented more than 40,000 filters in collaboration with several NGOs. PFP takes pride in the fact that it does not operate any filter workshops, but instead trains local potters to produce and distribute the filters.

Potters Without Borders

Potters Without Borders registered as a Non-Profit society in British Columbia, Canada in 2006 is the sister organization of Potters For Peace and works on projects together with PFP. PWB is based in Enderby, British Columbia
Enderby, British Columbia
The City of Enderby is in the North Okanagan of the Canadian province of British Columbia, between Armstrong and Salmon Arm. It is approximately 80 km north of Kelowna and 130 km east of Kamloops...

, Canada with offices in Clare, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 and Ningming, Guangxi
Guangxi, formerly romanized Kwangsi, is a province of southern China along its border with Vietnam. In 1958, it became the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, a region with special privileges created specifically for the Zhuang people.Guangxi's location, in...

-Zhuang, China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...



PFP has been active with several programs in Nicaragua since 1989. These programs emphasize the mission of PFP to help local potters succeed in their own right. Many of these projects center around helping potters market their products locally and abroad (PFP help organized a 18,000 piece sale to Pier 1 from a Nicaraguan cooperative, though this may have had negative long-term results) or use their skills to create new products that solve a local issue .

Potters Teaching Potters

The goals of the Potters Teaching Potters project is to share skills and knowledge about pottery. It allows campesina
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

 potters to travel in their country and abroad by providing transportation and expenses. Additionally, PFP finances scholarships for apprenticeships and holds conferences that bring together both Nicaraguan potters and also international buyers which help potters learn how to market their products abroad.

Technical and Design Assistance

As part of the Technical and Design Assistance program, Potters for Peace give access to necessary tools along with training on items such as energy-efficient kilns. Pottery designs are constantly being refined to fit the needs of their customers.

Fuel Efficient Kilns

The Fuel Efficient Kiln project was begun when volunteer Manny Hernandez designed a kiln that uses 50% less firewood to fire pottery. These kilns, called "Mani" kilns, have been built worldwide, totaling at least 60 so far.

Alternative Fuel Burners

Along with helping potters with starting up their practices, PFP helps maintain this profession by utilizing agricultural and construction waste as fuel for firing pottery as part of the Alternative Fuel Burners project. As firewood becomes more and more expensive, PFP keeps sustainability at the forefront of their projects by pushing for alternative and local fuels.

Ceramic Raw Materials Research

Potters for Peace has a materials research facility in Nicaragua where different combinations of ceramics are tested for their different properties for the Ceramic Raw Materials Research project. Also, PFP pays some of its potters to do their own materials research.


Pieces made by these local potters are marketed in several ways. PFP developed a system of road signs that alert people to the availability of pottery. Funding is given for these potters to attend artisan fairs, where they show their wares and make connections.

Ceramic Water Purifiers

Ceramic Water Purifiers (CPWs) were first developed by PFP. The manufacturing process is quite simple. A press forms the pot shape out of clay mixed with rice husks. The pot is fired, and the husk burns, leaving small holes that the water can run through. Finally the filters are coated with colloidal silver. The filters are used with plastic storage units to collect the water .

The efficacy of the PFP filter has been assessed by several independent organizations. It is reported to remove up to 99.9% of fecal coliform under laboratory conditions; however, this removal rate can vary greatly under usage in the field

Efficacy of the CPW filters also depends on the flow rates through the filter. Lower flow rates have led to disuse of the filter. It is found that a filter manufactured with a clay to sawdust volume fraction of 1:1 was found optimal for field use. An elaborate study illustrated that the flow rate through the 1:1 CPW followed a hyperbolic relationship with time . This study also discussed the relationship between flow rate from the CPW filters and quantity of materials (Clay and Sawdust) used in the manufacture of the filters.

The long-term sustainability of CPWs has also been assessed. It has been found that the CPWs have a disuse rate of 2% per month, with 67% of this disuse resulting from filter breakage. This leads to a mean usage lifetime of 2 years. This may or may not be appropriate for a given situation. The strength of the ceramic water filter materials as a function on clay and organic materials like sawdust, ash etc have been performed. Economics and supply chain would have to be assessed before considered CWPs as a solution to a water problem.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.