Every 20 seconds, a child dies because of diarrhea. As diarrhea is mostly caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions, we feel that our project can make a difference in this regard. In the project, which you supported in the past, we want to develop and produce a low-cost device to tell the user when their water is safe for consumption by making use of the method of Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS). Here is a short update from the latest developments:
One of our partner organizations (helioz.org) has just managed to produce a first small series of their indicator. We are currently talking to this organization on how to obtain funding for a field test - we want to give this device to 1,500 families in order to collect more data on the use and usefulness of the current design. Producing the device was just a part of the project, we now need to obtain funding for the distribution logistics, for the field promoters and for the data collection process.
This field test is important as it will help us identifying what are the key factors for an adequate product design. In our case, indicating the user what to do is not as simple as you'd expect: We need to distinguish three different states (turned off; turned on an in progress; ready) and communicate these states to the user in a simple way. As we want to use the indicator with low-income families and with people who often are illiterate, we need to find ways of communicating with the user without the use of text. In order to be able to use the same device in a number of different cultural settings (not only in Bolivia, but in Latin America, Africa and Asia), the communication also needs to be universally understood. Luckily, the spread of mobile phones in many low-income countries helped to establish a set of almost universally understood icons and we expect to use some of them (e.g., a smiley).
Meanwhile, we also want to test alternative designs. Ideally, we’d be able to field test different products simultaneously in one setting in order to compare their effectiveness and reliability. We hope that by creating some competition among different providers we will obtain the best results: a low-cost indicator which can help thousands of families to determine when their water is safe for consumption. With a small donation, you can support us in this task and be part of a simple solution for saving lives.
Thanking you in advance and with best regards from the project team,
Wednesday, October 17 is another Bonus Day. This means that all donations we receive that day will be matched by 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. This is an excellent opportunity to make your donation have an even bigger impact than usual, enabling additional families in Bolivia to access a micro-credit for water and sanitation improvements.
As we have reported earlier, the project keeps pushing ahead. Due to its nature, the project is advancing family by family, and even though we want to reach our goal of 100 credits approved by the end of the year, we are also aware that more important than than the number of credits is the change this projects brings about: families who have accessed credit are now able to store drinking water in large, safe tanks and do have water available all the time - previously, they were storing water in used (!) oil barrels, and because water is delivered only every 3-4 days by the tanker trucks, there were many days when there was no water at all. In this situation, a safe water tank makes a huge difference, not only for the wellbeing of the families, but also for health: where water is short in supply, basic hygiene tasks such as washing hands become a major challenge and frecuency of diarrheas and other waterborne diseases increase rapidly.
In the meantime, we keep promoting the micro-credits in peri-urban areas of Cochabamba and some surrounding small towns. One of the key obstacles for poor people to access credit are the security requirements: One needs to be land owner or have a long-term renting contract - both things are very unusual in informal settlements. Our micro-finance partner (EMPRENDER) is offering alternative securities (paid electricity bills, for example), and currently, we are also evaluating the possibility of giving credit to groups of people - experience has shown that this is a viable alternative which has considerable potential.
We will keep informing you about further developments of our project. Please take advantage of the opportunity of Bonus Day (October 17) and pass on the word to other people who may be interested in supporting our work.
With a big "Thank You" from the whole project team,
We are excited to announce that Wednesday, October 17 will be another Bonus Day - this means that every donation we receive that day will be matched by 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. This is a great opportunity to keep supporting our project and will make your donation have an even larger impact than usual.
Meanwhile, our project in 40 schools in Bolivia keeps pushing ahead. Our project team had to overcome many difficulties - for example, to get to one of the project schools, people have to walk for 2 days... in our interconnected world, it is hard to imagine living so remotely - and mobile phone coverage of course has not reached this hidden corner of Bolivia yet.
At this moment, the project team is preparing an extension of the project for an additional year. This was actually requested by the local authorities and teachers as they feel that even though progress has been great at schools, there now is a need to involve the communities more closely in order to make sure that the children drink treated water at all times, not only at school. The SODIS Foundation is taking on this challenge and is currently negotiating the terms for the project extension. We will keep you informed about this exciting development and the results we achieve on the way.
In the name of the whole project team, I want to thank you for your previous support and encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity of the Bonus Day on October 17.