Potters for Peace (PFP) is a U.S. based NGO consisting of potters, educators, technicians and supporters who work intimately with potters in Nicaragua to alleviate difficult social conditions related to the country’ s political and economical instability. In October of 1998, Hurricane Mitch destroyed, among other things, Nicaragua’ s water infrastructures and generated so much waste that nearly all water sources were contaminated. In response to this devastation, PFP established a filter production workshop in an existing pottery collective and taught Nicaraguan potters how to make clay filters. The goal was to keep the workshop under the control of Nicaraguans while, at the same time, providing them an opportunity to assume active roles in assisting their own nation. PFP then collaborated with other non-profit organizations (Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, etc.) to distribute the filters throughout the country. While this initiative began in Nicaragua, PFP has since expanded to other countries in Central America and has even introduced the filter to a few countries in Asia and Africa. This past January, I was fortunate enough to take part in the Potters for Peace brigade in Nicaragua. As I learned about Nicaragua’ s social and cultural elements, I also obtained firsthand appreciation for the relevance of the filter project in Nicaragua. My presentation will consist of an explanation on the process of creating the clay filter, and on its cultural significance in Nicaragua. I will also speak on the incorporation of the filter in the daily existence of other countries.
Tizeta Bekele, ‘06 Alameda, CA
Major: Sociology and Anthropology
Sponsor: Douglas Hanson