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.
Happy New Year!
In this report, we want to let you know what happened during the last months of 2013 in our project “32 girl-friendly schools in Bolivia”. As you know, this project is about teaching and practicing simple methods for improving water, sanitation and hygiene conditions to kids at schools in the municipality of Independencia (Bolivia), with a special focus on gender-sensitive issues like menstrual hygiene management.
In general, the project has been advancing well in 2013. The teachers, students, directors and community leaders accepted with much delight the simple ways of disinfecting water and the habits of improving hygiene and sanitation conditions, not only at school where they are trained, but also extending these to their homes.
One project highlight of 2013 was the celebration of World Handwashing Day on October 15. The activity was held as an educational marketplace at Independencia’s main square, with each participating school presenting its own creative stand. The professors of the schools expressed their support and helped the children to prepare the event even though it was exams period. Monica Mamani, a teacher at the “Laura Vicuna” school said, “We participated even though there were a lot of activities in the school and it was worth it, only bringing the tables to the main square was costly because of the buses but besides that, everything was easy.” On his part, the District Director of Education was the master of ceremonies and inaugurated the event World Handwashing Day.
The children from one school performed a street theater with mimes, demonstrating the consequences of washing hands and including the topic of water pollution. Children from another school explained different methods of water disinfection, and others presented a sociodrama with puppets which made a splash with the audience.
In November, Margoth Garcia, the project facilitator of the SODIS Foundation, organized what would be the first,. “General Assembly of the Water Committees”, composed of the schoolchildren in Independencia. This assembly brought together 194 child leaders from 18 schools. The event was supported by the Mayor and inaugurated by the District Director Oscar Teran who expressed his happiness to take part in this activity and at the end of his speech directly told the children: “You represent the best of the Independencia district!” At the end of the assembly, the professors closing the ceremony stated that, “The assembly was a success, a unique experience, and I am very happy to have been part of this project.”
As you can see, within a short time this project managed to bring about significant changes and positive impacts to the schools and families of Independencia. We are looking forward for the new school year to start soon (in Bolivia, the educational cycle goes from January to December), and our project team is getting prepared for a lot of activities in 2014. On behalf of the whole project team, I would like to thank you for your support and invite you to be a part of this project. Together, we shall take this project onto the next level in 2014!