In this report, we want to briefly inform you about the latest advances and achievements of the project "Safe Drinking Water for 40 Schools in Bolivia":
Donation of 50 water filters to day care centers
In the beginning of 2014, we supported a local organization which is running more than 40 day care centers with a donation of 50 water filters, which was made possible thanks to a micro-project we launched on Global Giving during December 2013. The goal was to extend our work from the schools to other members of the communities, in this case the most vulnerable group in terms of infectious diseases: children between 6 months and 5 years. By working with a trusted partner, we were able to reach dozens of at-risk children with an efficient intervention which is proven to lower diarrhea rates, one of the leading causes of death of young children in Bolivia.
Experts of the SODIS Foundation trained the employees of our partner organization so that they can use the filters adequately. Thanks to this micro-project children and families are now drinking safe water, thus improving health and well-being. In the coming months, we will keep working with these day care centers so that they use the filters instead of consuming unsafe drinking water.
Safe Water Schools Manual:
Over the past months, we adapted a manual which has been developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), with the title “for “Safe Water Schools”. The adaptation of the manual to the Bolivian context was conducted by the technical team of the SODIS Foundation and underwent a series of revisions and corrections based on the experiences with local teachers. In addition, we managed to obtain the support of the Ministry of Education at District level in Tiquipaya, who validated the material and now support its use in local schools. The manual provides guidance on how to improve water, sanitation and hygiene aspects at schools in low-income settings.
Water disinfection and hand washing:
From previous projects, we know that when promoting new habits, it is very important to remind people to practice these habits regularly. In the current project, we are using specially designed materials for this purpose:
As you can see, the project is making good progress and we are happy to have found positive response by our local partners - most importantly the teachers and pupils, but also by the school administrators, the local representatives of the Ministry of Education, of the Municipality, and the population in general. We therefore decided to extend this project for one more year in order to keep improving water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at local schools.
Bonus Day ahead: increase your impact!
We also wanted to inform you that this July 16, the 2nd Bonus Day of 2014 will take place. Any donation of up to $1000 will be matched by an additional 30%. Shortly before this date, we will provide further details about this special opportunity to make your donations go further.
The project is making good progress, and the response by local people and stakeholders is very positive. We decided to extend this project in order to keep improving positive health impact, further reducing diarrhea rates and school absenteeism.
If you found this report useful, please share it with other people who may be interested in this project. For questions and suggestions, please write to us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best regards from the whole project team,
In this update, we wanted to provide a short overview on what happened over the past 4 months in our project “32 girl-friendly schools in Bolivia”.
Staff of the SODIS Foundation has been working hard with the local teachers. In total, 146 teachers were trained in important topics related to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. So far, we reached the equivalent to 64% of the target set for the project, and the trainings continue.
In three schools where the teachers already have been trained, they started to implement a series of workshops for the pupils, with the support of experts from the SODIS Foundation. During these workshops, we were able to speak about how to facilitate and support healthy habits like water disinfection, hand washing at key moments (before eating and after using the bathroom) and proper use of bathrooms.
In each classroom, the teachers and pupils jointly installed a corner with safe drinking water (SODIS water bottles and jerry cans of 20 liters with chlorinated water). In some schools, they started the production of handmade soap, which is a very interesting approach to make sure that soap will be available in the future, even after the official end of our project.
Project staff, in cooperation with school managers, set up a Safe Water Committee in each school. The committees are composed of student representatives and one or two teachers. These committees are responsible for monitoring the healthy practices at school.
Meanwhile, we analyzed the conditions for the construction of ecological dry toilets in five educational units. In these schools, there is not enough water to run traditional flush-toilets, and ecological dry toilets have been identified as the best technological option. Currently, we are in the design phase of these unit, and construction will start in the next few weeks. Furthermore, we are in the process of identifying local leaders (men and women) who will help us in the next phase of the project, when we want to bring the healthy habits from the schools to the whole community.
In general the project is advancing well and according to the plans. If you think this report was useful to you, please share it with your friends and family. Please also let us know if you want more specific information, or if you have other suggestions on how to improve our work.
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.