It has been a while since you last heard from the project team in Bolivia. In December 2008, we were invited to join a special fund-raising campaign, which received much attention and feedback. In spite of the fact that we did not reach our fundraising target (5,000 USD in one month), there have been many contributions, and we were the most successful project (out of 42) from Latin America. Even after the campaign, funds kept coming in steadily, in spite of an ever worsening economic outlook worldwide. We would like to thank all our supporters for their help in hard times – it is very motivating for us to see so many people contributing to the project.
In Bolivia, the project has made considerable progress over the past few months. In November 2008, staff of the SODIS Foundation trained dozens of facilitators of “Save the Children” on the specific methodology. They in turned started with the training workshops for teachers. So far, more than 700 teachers have been trained in 2008. After holiday season (December and January traditionally are “summer vacation” in Bolivia), the project team went back to work as soon as classes started in February 2009. Local authorities and the parents of the school kids were informed about the project, in order to facilitate the spreading of healthy habits from school to homes.
At the classrooms and schools, the transition is already visible. Not only are there many bottles placed on the roofs or ready for consumption in the classrooms, but also a large number of the innovative “mobile hand washing units” can be seen (see pictures). These units are made of used PET bottles and enable kids to wash their hand at any time, using only very little water.
The project is now in full swing. Within the next few months, SODIS and hand washing will be promoted at all 231 schools of the project as well as in their surroundings. In some schools, poetry and drawing competitions will be held and health fairs will be organized. The SODIS Foundation will keep visiting the project in the field and keep you informed about the latest developments.
Once more, we would like thank all our project supporters. In the words of a child from the project region: “Thanks to SODIS we now have good drinking water, and my headache has gone away…”
P.S. Please let us know what you think of this update by providing feedback in the comments section.
Dear friends of the SODIS Foundation,
The new phase of the SODIS promotion project is taking shape. Over the past few months since the last update, the new project phase has been defined in detail, and we already started with the training workshops. This project update provides you with some additional information on how the project is advancing.
Project up-date November 2008
After completing the pilot phase of the project, it was decided to make some changes to the project, the most important ones being its scale (about 88,000 children will now benefit instead of 10,000) and its partner (one large NGO rather than several small ones). In July and August 2008, the SODIS Foundation and its partner “Safe the Children Bolivia” then set out to define the details of this joint project. Among the main features are the following:
- The project will benefit 231 schools in three Departments of Bolivia: La Paz, Oruro and Cochabamba.
- A newly developed methodology will be applied, focusing on the active participation of the schools as well as the parents.
- The project will be implemented in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the municipalities, whose staff will be actively involved in project activities.
- The project will be launched in all 231 schools at the beginning of the educational year 2009 (starting in February 2009) and will last 2 years.
Save the Children Bolivia and the SODIS Foundation want to focus this project on two key healthy behaviors: Consumption of safe water (through the method of Solar Water Disinfection) and hand washing. For this purpose, the teachers first will demonstrate the methods, and then, a “healthy corner” will be installed in each class room. Additionally, there will be three pupils in every class responsible for SODIS and hand washing. The parents will be informed and involved as well, so that the healthy habits not only will remain at the schools, but also be put into practice at home.
In October 2008, the new project phase was planned in detail. In early November, the technicians of Save the Children were trained on the specific methodology and the parent’s committees of the schools involved were informed about the project. Over the next couple of months, all the teachers of the 231 schools will be trained on how to teach these simple methods at class and on how to motivate children to actually practice the healthy habits.
The SODIS Foundation will keep informing about this project. Over the next few weeks, we will participate with this project in the "Everybody can Win Challenge" of GlobalGiving. If successful, this will generate additional funds so that even more kids in Bolivia can benefit from this simple intervention. So if you can, please support the project. In the name of the beneficiaries, I would like to thank you in advance for any kind of support.
And the best about all this: With this project, it costs less than 3 dollars to allow a child to drink safe water for a year – that’s less than your coffee this morning. Safe drinking water reduces risks of waterborne diseases and improves school attendance – the basics for a brighter future.
Dear friends of the SODIS Foundation,
We are happy to announce that the project “Safe drinking water for 10,000 school kids in Bolivia” experienced some exciting changes and a significant extension – it will now benefit more than 100,000 school kids in several regions of Bolivia, thanks to an alliance with a new partner organization. Read about progress made so far and about the new dimension of the project in our project update (see below).
Project Update July 2008
Project activities started in November 2007. The goal of the first project phase was to test and evaluate the education materials, which the SODIS Foundation previously had produced and promoted. In order to test these materials, partner organizations working in schools were identified. The partner organizations involved in this project phase were two local NGOs (PDA Soracachi, PDA Wiñaypaj, local offices of the international NGO World Vision) and three Municipalities in the Bolivian highlands (Uncía, Pocoata and Colquechaca). All these institutions successfully have been implementing projects for the promotion of SODIS in previous years with the support of the SODIS Foundation.
They key piece of the education materials is a guide for teachers which facilitates teaching and application of the SODIS method in schools (you can download the manual at http://www.aguasegura.org/es/biblioteca/metodologicos/Escuelas%20para%20la%20Salud.pdf). With this methodology, schools can be changed from high-risk environments into a “escuela para la vida” (“school for life”) - a school where healthy habits are taught as well as practiced.
During this first project phase, the methodology was implemented in 20 schools. In February 2008, in each school, at least 5 teachers were trained on implementation methodology. In the following weeks, technicians of the SODIS Foundation visited the schools in order to support the teachers. Between April and May, the activities and results were evaluated, with the following main insights:
- The methodology and materials were well accepted by teachers.
- In some projects, changes within the staff of teaching personnel led to discontinuities, which affected the activities negatively.
- The material was not as well received by teachers of secondary classes as by the primary school teachers. Therefore, the target audience of the education material (teachers of primary school classes) needs to be better defined.
- Some teachers showed lack of motivation for implementing the methodology as it implies an additional work load and is not directly linked to their regular activities.
Based on the experiences of this first project phase, the SODIS Foundation decided to change the strategy of the initiative. Instead of implementing several small projects, it was decided to look for a partner institution for carrying out a large-scale initiative, which will last at least a full school-year cycle. Working with all the schools of a region also allows to involve the Ministry of Education more formally and to include the project in regular training and supervision processes of the Ministry. This guarantees a continuous improvement of the methodology as well as the involvement of large numbers of teachers, and working in many schools will create an impact at regional level, creating a positive attitude towards the SODIS method.
In June 2008, the SODIS Foundation managed to identify an ideal partner for the large-scale initiative at the schools: Save the Children Bolivia. The international NGO has many years of experience of working in Bolivia and working with schools (see also http://www.savethechildren.org/countries/latin-america-caribbean/bolivia.html). The new project phase will benefit at least 100,000 school kids. Currently, the SODIS Foundation and Save the Children are raising additional funds for this new project phase, while details of the project implementation are being defined. In our next project report, we will write more about these exciting new developments and about further progress. In the meantime, we keep receiving donations, which will benefit this new project phase. We would like to send all our donors a big THANK YOU – thanks to our support, we can make a difference in the lives of thousands of children. An remember: With as little as 20 US$, we can train a teacher; and with 100 US$, we can bring safe drinking water to a whole class of kids.