Over the past few weeks, we have developed a new model for a waterless toilet. This is important for several reasons:
- Most families in peri-urban areas of Bolivia are not connected to a water supply network. And even where such connections exist, water usually is delivered only for a few hours per day (if at all). Thus, water is a precious good which can not be used for things like flushing the toilet.
- The price of our new model is significantly lower than existing products thanks to the use of pre-fabricated cement elements. These elements also allow for a faster installation of the toilet, bringing down overall costs of the product.
- Combining a high quality but low-price waterless toilet with micro-credit is crucial for accelerating access to sanitation. In Bolivia, only 30% of the population have access to improved sanitation - literally millions of people need a toilet.
In order to further promote this product, the SODIS Foundation will participate in a large trade fair in Cochabamba in November. This will allow us to present the innovation to a wide audience and accelerate its diffusion. We are currently raising funds to showcase the waterless toilet and participate at the fair: Of the 2,500 dollar needed (renting a space, constructing the pilot model, printing flyers), we already secured 40% thanks to a private donor. We encourage all our previous supporters to donate to our project:
If you donate today (Wednesday, October 19), your donation will be complemented by another 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. Take advantage of this opportunity and make your donation today, making your donation 30% more effective than during the rest of the year. This special offer applies to all on-line donations (credit card and PayPal) up to $ 1,000 received today. Please also feel free to forward this information to friends who may be interested.
Best regards from the whole project team,
We are excited to inform you that we entered the third phase of the initiative to bring safe water to schools in Bolivia. The long-time supporters among you may remember that during the first phase of the initiative (2008-2009) we implemented our previously tested methodology in more than 230 schools. During that phase, we reached more than 80,000 school kids in three Departments of Bolivia.
Throughout the second phase (2010) we worked together with UNICEF in schools in several communities in the Andean region of Bolivia in order to develop our methodology further. In the third phase (2011-2012), we include novel technologies (like on-site generation of chlorine solution for water disinfection) and test them for their acceptance and adequacy in rural and peri-urban schools.
Over the past few months, we have been setting up the institutional framework for this new project phase. On September 1st, the new phase was officially launched at a ceremony during which the District Director of the Ministry of Education, along with Representatives of the Municipality of Tiquipaya and of the SODIS Foundation signed the project agreement (see pictures). The project will be implemented in 40 rural and peri-urban schools of Tiquipaya, a municipality in the Department of Cochabamba. The initiative also received the formal support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the local water and sanitation service provider (SENASBA). Involving so many institutions slows the project down in the beginning. However, we consider that this is more than compensated for in later phases of the process when we want to disseminate the lessons learned and eventually integrate the successful elements of this project into other initiatives. We strongly believe that working in an isolated, project-based manner is a thing of the past - today’s complex challenges require mixed networks of organizations cooperating and complementing each other.
On a separate note, we would like to announce that Wednesday, October 19 is a Bonus Day on Global Giving. This means that all donations we receive that day through www.globalgiving.org/1905 (credit card donations of up to 1,000 dollars) will be complemented by another 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. This is a great opportunity (and the last one this calendar year) to make your donation go even further – we can reach 30% more children if you donate that specific day, with no extra cost for you.
For your continuing support and interest we want to thank you very much. We will keep you informed about the further development of this exciting initiative and look forward to receiving feedback from you.
Today I want to tell you a story of responsibility and courage which we came across in our project. Doña Soledad is a single mother in her thirties (see picture), living on the outskirts of the city of Cochabamba (Bolivia) with her six children. She moved to the city several years ago and lives in an improvised one-apartment adobe hut. She makes a living on selling bakery and other food items she produces herself. Up to now, the family did not own a toilet or a latrine - "going to the toilet" for them meant going to field behind the house. For Doña Soledad, this not only implied a health risk to her and her children, but also a matter of (in)dignity – every time she was remembered to be poor and excluded from even the most basic services.
But Doña Soledad had a dream. Her dream was to have an adequate sanitary installation. Installing a conventional flush toilet was not an option because her house is not connected to the water network (she buys the water for drinking, washing and cleaning from a truck and stores it in barrels). Through the promotional activities of our project, she heard of the concept of Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) and of a novel type of toilet, which does not require water for flushing - and on top, it generates fertilizer and compost. In a city with chronic water shortage and a mostly dysfunctional sewerage system, this is a very good option we want to promote further. Doña Soledad was very excited about the solution, because it not only solved a pressing problem for her family, but it also allowed her to do something for the planet- this was the decisive factor for her to apply for a credit.
The rest of the story is told quickly: Doña Soledad went to our micro-credit partner and applied for a loan. The conditions (9.5% annual interest rate and a duration of 3 years) beat any commercial offer on the national market – and it not only includes the product itself (the EcoSan-toilet and a sink), but also advisory services on behalf of the SODIS Foundation. After the construction was finished, Doña Solange also received an in-depth training on how to operate and maintain the system.
Today, Doña Soledad has an adequate sanitary service. She told us that she now can start inviting guests to her house and that she is proud to be the owner of the first EcoSan-toilet in her neighborhood. We are now working with different producers of components to make this toilet more affordable and faster to construct, so that in the future more people like Doña Soledad can have a safe, odorless toilet close to their home.
Our project continues to promote simple solutions to improve water and sanitation services with the support of micro-credit. In order to keep developing even better models and products, we need your support. Please consider making a donation to our project or tell your friends about it. Every donation makes a difference for people without access to water and sanitation services.
Thanking you in advance and with best regards from the whole project team,
P.S. Please mark October 19th on your agenda – this will be this year’s last chance to have your donation complemented by additional donors. Each donation we receive that day (up to the amount of 1,000 US$) will be increased by 30%, making your contribution even more effective than usually.