SODIS Foundation

To develop and promote solutions for improving drinking water quality and health. For achieving this, we cooperate with the private, public and development sector in order to benefit people in Latin America.
Dec 14, 2012

December Update

Safe drinking water: one of the greatest gifts
Safe drinking water: one of the greatest gifts

Dear supporter,

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,

Matthias Saladin

Poetry to water, encouraging healthy habits
Poetry to water, encouraging healthy habits
Safe water is available at all project schools
Safe water is available at all project schools

Links:

Nov 8, 2012

News from the indicator development

One of the indicators we are testing (helioz.org)
One of the indicators we are testing (helioz.org)

Dear supporters,

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,

Matthias Saladin

Links:

Oct 16, 2012

Opportunity on October 17: Bonus Day

Water is stored in used oil barrels: not safe
Water is stored in used oil barrels: not safe

Dear supporters,

Wednesday, October 17 is another Bonus Day. This means that all donations we receive that day will be matched by 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. This is an excellent opportunity to make your donation have an even bigger impact than usual, enabling additional families in Bolivia to access a micro-credit for water and sanitation improvements.

As we have reported earlier, the project keeps pushing ahead. Due to its nature, the project is advancing family by family, and even though we want to reach our goal of 100 credits approved by the end of the year, we are also aware that more important than than the number of credits is the change this projects brings about: families who have accessed credit are now able to store drinking water in large, safe tanks and do have water available all the time - previously, they were storing water in used (!) oil barrels, and because water is delivered only every 3-4 days by the tanker trucks, there were many days when there was no water at all. In this situation, a safe water tank makes a huge difference, not only for the wellbeing of the families, but also for health: where water is short in supply, basic hygiene tasks such as washing hands become a major challenge and frecuency of diarrheas and other waterborne diseases increase rapidly.

In the meantime, we keep promoting the micro-credits in peri-urban areas of Cochabamba and some surrounding small towns. One of the key obstacles for poor people to access credit are the security requirements: One needs to be land owner or have a long-term renting contract - both things are very unusual in informal settlements. Our micro-finance partner (EMPRENDER) is offering alternative securities (paid electricity bills, for example), and currently, we are also evaluating the possibility of giving credit to groups of people - experience has shown that this is a viable alternative which has considerable potential.

We will keep informing you about further developments of our project. Please take advantage of the opportunity of Bonus Day (October 17) and pass on the word to other people who may be interested in supporting our work.

With a big "Thank You" from the whole project team,

Matthias Saladin

Links:

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