Yordi: Helping his Family through Safe Water and Healthy Practices
In 2008, Save the Children began implementing a health education program in the city of El Alto, Bolivia one of the poorest areas in La Paz Department as well as the country. In the Gran Poder neighborhood, for example, there is no easy access to basic sanitation services and as a result, intestinal infections are common in this unprotected population – especially in younger children. In Save the Children’s 2008 baseline study, we learned that 22 percent of children had giardiasis, a diarrheal infection largely associated with poor hygiene/sanitation and the consumption of contaminated water or food.
Yordi, a 9 year-old fourth grader, lives in Gran Poder and goes to the Santísima Trinidad School. Yordi’s family includes his mother, father, four-year-old brother in kindergarten, and a three-year-old sister named Milenka. With his classmates, Yordi participated in Save the Children’s Improving Our Lives (Mejorando Nuestra Vida). In this program, Yodi learned about the importance of better hygiene practices and safe water consumption. For example, he learned how to disinfect water and avoid diarrhea through the simple SODIS method.
Yordi is one of 195,289 children in Bolivia who participated in Improving Our Lives and now shares vital health information with family members.
After three years of school health and nutrition programming, Save the Children saw demonstrated improvements in children’s knowledge and health practices:
Save the Children implemented Improving Our Lives in four departments throughout Bolivia in both rural and urban settings.
 Giardiasis is also known as giardia, and for people with compromised immune systems it can be deadly. In children, giardia can lead to malnutrition and poor physical growth or “failure to thrive.”
 Through SODIS, children put water in clear plastic bottles – usually soda bottles – and set them out in the sun on a simple structure with a corrugated tin roof to disinfect the water. SODIS has proved to be particularly beneficial for children in rural areas with limited access to safe water.
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