It has been a while since we last informed you about our activities regarding the development of an indicator for solar radiation. We are interested in such an indicator because solar radiation is a very effective means to disinfect drinking water (see www.sodis.ch for more information on the SODIS method), and one of the factors limiting the widespread use of this method is the fact that radiation dose is difficult for laypersons to estimate. With a simple SODIS indicator, this hurdle may be overcome and thus the task of bringing safe drinking water to millions of people in the world made easier.
In 2010, we were invited by GlobalGiving to set up an open innovation challenge for such an indicator. The challenge was presented on one of the leading open innovation platforms (www.InnoCentive.com) and participation has been overwhelming. Among more than 70 entries we identified a winner, which at that time was a team of students from the University of Washington. Motivated by this success, the team then developed a business plan and in 2011 won an international business plan competition. During this time, the students set up their own company (PotaVida.org), which will now focus on the technical development of the indicator.
The key point in advancing the idea of a low-cost SODIS indicator is to produce it in large quantities. However, at the current stage, we want to try these indicators in the field and keep improving them, so we need small quantities. We expect the final price to be below 5 USD per unit and thus even cheaper than we originally anticipated. But for the moment, we are making small productions of prototype series, which are costly. However, we are confident that within a few months we will have a product which meets the needs of users and which can be produced massively.
Currently, we are negotiating with several groups who are working on the idea of a SODIS indicator in order to produce a next generation prototype which can be field tested. In the next few weeks, we will inform you about the results of these negotiations and the next steps of our project.
We also want to inform you about an important fundraising opportunity coming up soon: Between February 1 and 29, all donations received through www.globalgiving.org to our project will be matched by 200%! That is, for each dollar donated, Global Giving will add two more, thus tripling the amount you donate. We think this is a great opportunity to achieve a great impact and support this important initiative further. Please share this information with friends and families who may be interested in making a donation.
Best regards from the whole project team,
As we announced earlier, we are now in the third phase of our project for schools in Bolivia. During this phase, the project will be implemented in 40 schools in Tiquipaya, a municipality close to the city of Cochabamba. Training of teachers started in October and continued until the middle of December. Currently, the schools are closed (for summer vacation!) in Bolivia, and classes will start again in early February with the next phase of the project.
Today, we want to tell you the story of the school named “Floresta Collpapampa”. It’s the first school in Tiquipaya where not only the teachers have been trained in methods to obtain safe drinking water, but also these methods are practiced on a daily basis. Floresta Callpapampa is a school in the Eastern part of the municipality where 250 children go to class of the primary level. The teachers were enthusiastic about the novel methodology which is being implemented by the SODIS Foundation, and the director of the school proudly accepted the challenge to be the first school of the project which can offer SAFE DRINKING WATER to its pupils and teachers. Thus, Christmas was an ideal opportunity to celebrate and to finish the year with many smiling faces.
From the SODIS Foundation, we also would like to announce more GOOD NEWS: User’s of mobile phones in the US can now donate to our project with a text message:
Text GIVE 1905 to 80088 to donate 10$ to our project. Messege and data rates may apply. Read full terms: www.mGive.org/t.
Wishing you all a happy Holiday Season and all the best for 2012,
With best regards from the whole project team,
We just received news from the Global Giving Foundation that very soon our supporters will be able to donate by sending a text message from their cellular phone. The best part of it is that 100% of the donation goes to the project. This is very exciting news and we shortly will inform you about the details.
We also wanted to let you know how our project to develop a low-cost indicator for Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) is developing. We have just completed a series of calibration tests with our prototype, which gave us proof that we are on track. The next step for this project now is to produce a small series of prototypes with an improved form factor so that we can give them to potential users of the product. This is very important as the acceptance and user friendliness of a product determine the value it provides to the user. We therefore are now raising funds to produce the small series of prototypes for field testing.
Over the past months, we have adjusted our primary target audience for the SODIS indicator. Initially, we expected that this would be a device which can help every person or family who wants to purify drinking water with the SODIS method to determine the exact moment when the water is safe for drinking. However, given that most of these people earn less than 1 dollar per day, they are unlike to be able to purchase such a product. Giving the indicators for free is an option, but this creates inequalities (who do we give it to?) and inefficiencies (there are no established channels for widely distributing free products). Additionally, we perceived that free products are often considered of low value by the beneficiaries. Thus, we think that a better strategy is to develop a product which will help people like teachers or health promoters to train others on how to do SODIS. If this promotion process can be supported by the SODIS indicator, we may reach additional people, and more people will be willing to try the method for a first time.