2009 is coming to its end and it’s time to wish everyone a joyful holiday season and all the best for 2010. At the same time, we also want to with you some thoughts about an actual issue:
As many of you have witnessed over the past few days, the climate conference in Copenhagen did not bring about the step ahead which many people were hoping for. This means that more time will be lost for mankind to find better ways of living in dignity without damaging the fundaments of future wellbeing. Nevertheless, at the SODIS Foundation we think that it’s not too late to contribute with our own first steps. Surprisingly, climate change is closely connected to the issues of drinking water (and thus survival) of people in Bolivia (and elsewhere).
As a highly recommendable article in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/science/earth/14bolivia.html) points out, glaciers are a low-maintenance form to store fresh water. Conveniently, they retain the water in the rainy season and slowly release it during the dry period. For countries like Bolivia, this is a blessing, thus facilitating agriculture, power generation and development in the valleys and lowlands. However, the glaciers are disappearing quickly: what was known as the “world’s highest ski resort” on Mount Chacaltaya just a few years ago today is a rocky landscape, unable to retain the snow falling on it. Worse, the snow now quickly turns into water, leading to devastating flash floods downstream, a scenario Bolivia is witnessing with increasing frequency. Cities like El Alto are already facing critical water shortages, threatening livelihoods of millions of people.
That is why it is important to do something about climate change, and something about the millions of people who do not have access to safe drinking water. Our project “Safe drinking water for 80,000 children in Bolivia” is just a humble attempt to take a first step. We would like to thank all our supporters for taking this step with us in 2009, and we will keep you informed about the continuing advances and developments. Without your support, this project would not be where it is today.
Thank you again. We wish you happy holidays and all the best for 2010!
Best regards from the SODIS Foundation,
Dear supporters of the SODIS Foundation,
Thank for your continued support and interest in our work.
We are glad to inform you that the project in Bolivia is continuing to progress. Activities in the field finished in November as the schools entered summer holidays, and they will start again in February. It has been a busy year for the SODIS Foundation and its project partner Save the Children Bolivia. In a few months, more than 80,000 children have been trained on simple methods about how to obtain safe drinking water and improve hygiene. Through the parents committees at the schools, more than 20,000 parents were reached as well, and many of them are adopting the healthy habits taught at schools. These results make this initiative one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and the SODIS Foundation is glad to announce that the activities will continue in 2010.
One of the highlights was the participation of many project schools at the international hand washing day on October 15. At public events, children presented street theatres and poetry contests. The innovative mobile hand washing units, which had been developed during this project, also received considerable attention from the public and the media. As you can see from the pictures, it also is a moment of great pride for the children and gives them the opportunity to display their creativity.
We just received news that the in November, the project received donations over the amount of $ 1,131 through the Global Giving website. Thanks to everyone who contributed. We also wanted to let you know that the project is participating in GlobalGiving.co.uk's Christmas Giving Challenge, a fundraising opportunity for non-profit organizations working with communities around the world. Every donation helps, and no donation is too small. You can show your support for the SODIS Foundation for as little as £5 and make a big impact to our project. Just click on this link (www.globalgiving.co.uk/1905) and follow the instructions.
Please spread the spirit of giving and share this email with your friends and family and ask them to help us too. Donations can also be made in dedication to someone (e-gift cards), which makes an excellent present. Giving a perfume to your loved ones is nice, but how much nicer is it to facilitate someone access to safe drinking water?
The whole team from the SODIS Foundation wishes you a happy giving season.
Thank you for your support,
This is a short message with some updates from the field and an announcement of an upcoming opportunity to increase the impact of your donations.
During a recent field trip, two volunteers of the SODIS Foundation, Valerie Grosscup and Jonathan Spear, visited several project schools. They went to schools in El Alto and Oruro, talked to teachers, school directors and students and came back with a lot of impressions and ideas. One thing they learned is that in the schools in El Alto, where project activities had started much earlier than in Oruro, there is much more practice of SODIS and hand washing at the classrooms. This confirms our experience that change does not come over night, neither by a single workshop or training. Whereas these learning moments are important, the key of behavior change consists of repetition and motivation, which takes a lot of time and effort (those of you who have experience in teaching children to brush their teeth or wash their hands may know this…).
The visit of Valerie and Jonathan, along with other monitoring activities of the SODIS Foundation, confirmed that the project is progressing well. Over the past months, the training activities in the field have reached all 231 schools involved in the project. More than 800 students were trained as peer trainers, as well as more than 800 teachers and school directors. In more than 100 schools, some simple structures were installed for exposing the bottles to sunlight. Furthermore, “healthy corners” were installed in over 100 schools, where the treated water is kept and where students can wash their hands.
You may be aware that on a global scale, hand washing is being recognized as an effective prevention not only for waterborne diseases, but also for influenza (including the “swine flu”). This situation highlights the importance of this project, providing over 200 schools with simple yet effective shields against public health threats. The next time you wash your hands, you may want to think about the luxury of safe dinking water coming out of the tap – it saves thousands of lives, day after day.
We also would like to announce an important opportunity: During November, all donations we receive through the website www.globalgiving.com will be matched by at least 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. This means that for example a donation of 10$ will actually generate 13$ of benefits, and the more funds we raise, the more matching money we receive (up to 50% if we raise at least 7,500$ during this challenge). We therefore would like to encourage you considering a donation to the project – every donation makes a difference!
Please let us know if this project update was useful for you by leaving a comment on the website. We continuously strive to improve our services and are grateful for any feedback.
Thanking you for your support,
By the way, you can also find us – and many pictures of from the project – on Facebook. Simply type “Safe Drinking WAter for Children in Latin America” in the search bar of Facebook.