An Introduction to OHorizons

OHorizons is an international non-profit committed to improving the lives and providing essential basic necessities to all of humankind. Our mission is steeped in a vision of a world where everyone can live a healthy, productive, and dignified life. Eradicating world hunger is our aim and we believe that the capability and resources exist today to make it happen!

Hunger isn’t caused only by lack of food. Many complex, multifaceted issues contribute to hunger, including: nutrition, health, access to food, and poverty. We were founded with the belief that some of the world’s most difficult challenges need simple solutions. Our solutions can be implemented locally, are scalable, and we partner with on-the-ground organizations to deploy them. This ensures the long-term sustainability and success of underserved communities, particularly women and children, around the world. We call these solutions “Low-Tech, High-Thinking because they follow our Principles of Low-Tech, which ensures our innovations are simple, low-cost, locally-sourced, flexible, and open-source. We use High-Thinking in our process to design the best solutions possible that adhere to these principles. When a scaleable solution has been developed, we provide our implementation partner organizations with the support, knowledge, and resources to be active agents of change in the implementation process and long-term sustainability of the project.

At OHorizons, we believe that by approaching the problem of hunger through the lens of the Four Horizons of Life, we can attack hunger from a systems perspective, which ultimately will be more sustainable and impactful in the long term. We looked at the basic necessities of life that are essential to health and wellness on a fundamental level and arrived at the Four Horizons of Life: Water, Energy, Agriculture, and Economic Development.

We intend to design and implement a disruptive innovation for each Horizon while always keeping in mind a systems perspective and our larger focus of eradicating world hunger. Our design process is to research, evaluate, ideate, prototype, and develop an innovation using the principles of Low-Tech. This way we ensure our impact is equitable, easy to use, affordable,  sustainable, and builds the capacity of the communities we work with!

We have started our mission with the Water Horizon. Our solution for water is a Wood Mold for the production of Concrete BioSand Filters.

In the early 1990’s, Concrete BioSand Filters were developed by the Canadian engineer Dr. David Manz as a low-tech water filtration device for household use in developing countries. The invention used a steel mold to cast the filter’s concrete structure. The final product is an approximately 3 foot tall concrete column that is filled with layers of sand and gravel to filter pathogens out of water. We’ll cover this process in more detail in a future blog article.  

OHorizons has engineered an award-winning Wood Mold to serve the same purpose as the aforementioned steel mold. The Wood Mold is a breakthrough because it allows on-the-ground organizations to manufacture and install BioSand Filters locally and for a fraction of the upfront costs of traditional methods, meaning more people can get clean water faster.

At this stage, we have run projects in Se Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Our initiative in Bangladesh has been a major success and we are in the process of rapidly scaling our operation there. Each Wood Mold has the capacity to make approximately 50 BioSand Filters, meaning 250 people are given access to safe drinking water from a single mold! We’ll also cover this in more depth in a future blog article. Our open-source Wood Mold Construction Manual and Appendix are available to download here.

OHorizons believes the world’s most difficult challenges need simple solutions. Through this blog, we hope to spread awareness and inspiration about our work and philosophy! We are OHorizons and we’d love to have your support.