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Another random thought: Consumer Reports, special Appropriate Technology edition. They seem to have some excellent methodologies for doing this kind of thing, and I wonder if they could, as a corporate-goodwill thing, share some of those techniques with us, and possibly some employee time, and put their name on the resulting publication (we + volunteers do legwork, they get all the glory, but the publication must be open-licensed... they can print and take the revenues from printing, though, or split them 50/50 with Appropedia.) --Mchua
What about a bake-off in context of another even shinier media event? I'm not sure whether this is feasible in your terrain, but here's a strawman: The Water Challenge.
Organize an extreme sports race/marathon - wilderness navigation, camping, etc, 1-3 days or so, not way too long or challenging, but going through varied terrain with checkpoints. At each checkpoint each team has to test each filter and log data properly. (Monitors at each checkpoint will make sure of that.) First team to the end wins some fantastic donated prize, like... eh, a wilderness adventure trip, or hiking gear.
Each team that enters must fundraise $X (like those AIDS or breast cancer, etc. walkathons) for <insert world aid organization here>. EWB, Rotary, UNICEF... pick one.
Extra catch: teams have an extra "testing slot" in their packs for solo inventors/teams of engineers who want to submit their own design in the competition - at the end, recognition is also given to the "best new design" for water filters, as well as rankings for the current commercial solutions mentioned below.
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You are invited to.