The first year of our project in 40 schools in Tiquipaya (Bolivia) has finished. Currently, school kids in Bolivia are on summer vacation (yes, this is summertime in the Southern part of the planet) and only will return to school in February 2013. As we reported earlier, our project has brought about sifnificant changes to the schools, mostly related to water and hygiene behaviour. Behaviour change is a slow and complex process, but within a short time, we achieved that most kids (and teachers as well) started drinking treated water and washing hands at critical moments. These changes seem simple but they make a big difference in the lives of people: children who drink safe water and wash hands is significantly better than the one of their peers who do not apply these simple solutions for saving lives.
The project will continue for another year and we are already preparing the materials and trainings for 2013. However, before we start with our activities at schools again, we wanted to share with you an official certificate we received from the Ministry of Education at District level – they are thanking the SODIS Foundation for its dedicated work (see picture). In this way, we would like to say thank you to all our supporters – thanks to people like you, this project has been possible and thousands of lives have been improved.
In the coming months, you will hear from us again, reporting from the experiences in the field, about successes, failures and challenges. We hope this project is as motivating and exciting as it is to us, and we will be looking forward to receiving some feedback from you – please let us know how we can continue to improve our reports and the way we keep you informed.
We hope you enjoy the holiday season and wish you all the best for 2013.
For the whole project team,
We are happy to announce that last two weeks, the project you supported in the past was visited and evaluated by an external advisor of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). He went to 7 of the 40 schools of the project, talked to the teachers and children, and interviewed local authorities: mayors, directors of health centers, etc.. His conclusions are very conclusive: The project is a success and led to substantial improvements in the targeted areas of water, sanitation and hygiene. The advisor also was impressed by the enthusiasm of the children – some of them made their own songs and poetry which help remembering the key messages of the project. Children, teachers, school administrators and health authorities are very convinced of positive impacto of the project, and the mayor of Tiquipaya even suggested to extend it to the secondary schools of the municipality.
This confirmed us in our decision to extend the project for an additional year, during which we will reinforce the work with the 40 primary schools already included in the project but also involve secondary schools and reach out more closely to the community in general. We also detected that in 15 day care centers of the municipality of Tiquipaya, drinking water provided is of poor qualilty. We therefore developed a micro-project which specifically will address this problem. You can support this micro-project directly following this link.
Sometimes, it is difficult to describe in a few words the profund changes which are brought about by our projects. That's why we decided to make a video of this showcase project – it is currently in elaboration and will be out by the end of the year - we will let you know.
Last but not least, we would like to point out to the recurring donation campaign: If you decide in December to donate on a regular basis to one of our projects on Global Giving (e.g., $10 per month), this amount will be matched by an anonymous donor by 100%. Thus, you can help us make financial planning easier and at the same time double the amount which goes to the project.
We wish you a happy holiday seasons and send you best greetings from the whole project team,
Every 20 seconds, a child dies because of diarrhea. As diarrhea is mostly caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions, we feel that our project can make a difference in this regard. In the project, which you supported in the past, we want to develop and produce a low-cost device to tell the user when their water is safe for consumption by making use of the method of Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS). Here is a short update from the latest developments:
One of our partner organizations (helioz.org) has just managed to produce a first small series of their indicator. We are currently talking to this organization on how to obtain funding for a field test - we want to give this device to 1,500 families in order to collect more data on the use and usefulness of the current design. Producing the device was just a part of the project, we now need to obtain funding for the distribution logistics, for the field promoters and for the data collection process.
This field test is important as it will help us identifying what are the key factors for an adequate product design. In our case, indicating the user what to do is not as simple as you'd expect: We need to distinguish three different states (turned off; turned on an in progress; ready) and communicate these states to the user in a simple way. As we want to use the indicator with low-income families and with people who often are illiterate, we need to find ways of communicating with the user without the use of text. In order to be able to use the same device in a number of different cultural settings (not only in Bolivia, but in Latin America, Africa and Asia), the communication also needs to be universally understood. Luckily, the spread of mobile phones in many low-income countries helped to establish a set of almost universally understood icons and we expect to use some of them (e.g., a smiley).
Meanwhile, we also want to test alternative designs. Ideally, we’d be able to field test different products simultaneously in one setting in order to compare their effectiveness and reliability. We hope that by creating some competition among different providers we will obtain the best results: a low-cost indicator which can help thousands of families to determine when their water is safe for consumption. With a small donation, you can support us in this task and be part of a simple solution for saving lives.
Thanking you in advance and with best regards from the project team,