The field activities of our project have come to an end. Just to give you a few numbers:
- 1114 school kids and 60 teachers were trained on simple methods to improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at schools and at home
- 72 water filters were installed at schools
- 150 families were provided with an innovative water treatment device and provided feedback for its further development
Moreover, the numerous activities carried out by our staff led to substantial changes in the way people think, feel and act in relation to water, sanitation and hygiene:
- At the end of the project, 89% of the children had safe drinking water available at school class at the moment of the evaluation – this number was at 1% when the project started.
- 58% of school kids correctly washed their hands with soap (up from 23% at the project start).
- 59% of the schools had adequate and clean sanitary installations available at the end of the project, up from 4% at project start.
These numbers clearly show that the project has created a massive improvement in water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at the local schools. It also is clear that the results can be further improved, and that’s why we will continue to support these schools with technical advice and supply of materials (e.g., candles for the ceramic filters).
Now that the activities in the field have stopped is the moment when we start with the second phase of the project, which is at least as important as the first phase: We are documenting our experiences in order to share them with other people and organizations. In this case, our most important conversation partner is the Ministry of Education. Before and throughout the project we informed people at local and at district level about the project, and we now are in conversations on how to integrate some of the modules we implemented into the curricula of the Ministry and how we can improve in general the water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at schools, as these have a significant impact on absenteesm and on learning results.
We will keep working on the improvement on water-related issues at schools in Bolivia. If you want to continue supporting our work at schools, please check out our other projects on GlobalGiving.
For us, this project has been a very positive experience. We have implemented an innovative methodology and helped improving basic services at schools. We think this is a model which deserves further attention and will be working with our local partners to support additional schools in Bolivia and in the region.
At this point, we also would like to thank all our supporters and sponsors – without you, the project would not have come as far as it did.
This is the final report on our project to develop an indicator for Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS). The goal of this project was to develp and test a low-cost device which can tell users of the SODIS method when the PET bottles which are used for this process have been exposed to sufficient amounts of sunlight. During the course of the project, we tried several approaches to solve this problem:
- Materials-based approach: Some materials change colour according to the amount of sunlight they receive. This fact can be use to produce a SODIS indicator, and in fact we identified a producer of an adequate product and carried out field tests with it. It works well in the field, but the drawbacks are the fact that the indicators can only be used once and that the price per unit is fairly high - 0.40$ may sound like a small amount, but each user family will need at least 10 to start with, and that's already 4$ - and then they will need more... However, the product works and the SODIS Foundation will continue to use it where it sees a need and a benefit in doing so - for example in situations where there is not enough time to train people thoroughly, like it is the case in some emergency siutations we are attending at the moment in Bolivia.
- Electronic approach. We have supported and collaborated with several groups (both research and private sector) around the world who are working on the development of an electronic device which measures the amount of sunshine received and tells a user when the water in the bottles is ready for drinking. Two of these groups went ahead to set up formal organizations (www.helioz.org and www.potavida.org, who we mentioned earlier) and are currently undergoing field tests of advanced versions of their prototypes. The advantage of these devices, as compared to a single-use device, is that they can be used for a long time (several years), which makes for an ideal training and teaching device. The drawback is the prize - but this will come down as the numbers of units produced increase. We will keep in contact with these organizations and actually may field-tests some of their products later this year.
Thus, we think that we have reached a stage where we can close this project. Over the past years, we have developed and tested several prototypes, supported research around the world and helped to establish two companies. We hope that this initiative will continue evolving and wish all the people and organizations involved all the best - for that in the near future, a SODIS indicator will be available for everyone who needs one - potentially, that would be at least 870 million people who currently do not have access to safe drinking water!
If you have questions or comments about our project, please do not hesitate to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
At this point, we also want to thank all of the people who supported this project. Without these inputs, we could not have done all of this, and we also want to extend the thanks of all the people who directly benefited from this project.
Best regareds from the whole project team,
Inspirational story from the field
On this occasion, we would like to share with you a truly inspirational story about our project “Safe Drinking Water for 40 Schools in Bolivia”:
Last week, we visited some families and schools in the field and went to Encanta Pampa. Encanta Pampa is a district located in the northeastern part of the town of Tiquipaya, where 300 migrant families from different mining areas of Bolivia live. In this neighborhood resides 8-year old Maribel (see picture) with her parents and two younger brothers. She attends the afternoon shift at the local school where, for the last two years, one of the teachers has been committed to teaching his students the importance of disinfecting water before drinking.
Maribel listened to her teacher’s advice and applied the SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection) method for disinfecting water at her home, teaching her family how to do it.
“In my house, I’m the one who makes SODIS water for my family in order to take care of my brothers so they don’t get sick.” These were the words of Maribel while proudly showing her bottles and the place where she exposes them to sunlight. Her mother is happy that her daughter cares about their health saying, “She is always with water bottles, and she also made portable faucets for washing hands with her brothers.”
Maribel is just one example of the great results we are achieving through this project. We find examples like this very inspirational for our work and wanted to make use of this opportunity to say "Thank you", because only with your help stories like the one of Maribel are possible.
Bonus Day ahead: increase your impact!
We also wanted to inform you that this February 12, we are having the 1st Bonus Day of 2014. Any donation up to $1000 will be matched by an additional 30%! We think this is a great opportuniy for you to help us even more with our cause, since your donation will create an additional 30% impact, completely for free to you. For example, if you decided to donate 100$, the project actually receives 130$! (Donations only will be matched on February 12, starting at 9 AM EST, and matching funds are limited - so please make sure to make your donation as soon as possible after 9 AM).
We hope that we continue to be both inspired and inspirational. Best regards from the whole project team.