As you may be aware, our project in Independencia-Bolivia is about promoting healthy habits at schools, with special attention to the needs of girls. One of these healthy habits is hand washing with soap - in fact; it is one of the most effective health prevention measures of all. Sometimes we tend to think that improving health is about technology and expensive treatments, but the truth is that we can achieve a large reduction in the number of cases of diarrhea and other diseases just by washing our hands with soap (by the way: hand washing also prevents the flu, so remember to wash your hands and remember others to wash their hands as flu season is arriving...).
In order to increase awareness of the importance of hand washing, many organizations around the world celebrate Global Hand Washing Day each october 15. In Bolivia, the main event this year was organized by the Ministry of Water and the Environment, and it took place last week in La Paz. The SODIS Foundation was part of the celebration: we taught children and adults how to wash hands and how to make a simple hand washing station with a used PET bottle. We also gave out information about soap making, we had children practice and improve their hand washing technique, and we engaged many adults in conversations about hand washing, health and water.
In the pictures you can see some of the activities - of course, it also involved laughs and a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone involved, especially our partner organizations Helvetas, Sumaj Huasi, Water for People, Plan Internation and SENASBA.
Best regards from the whole project team
In this update, we want to tell you a story about a resourceful teacher. His name is Antonio Choque and he work for the school “Carhuani” in the municipality of Independencia in Bolivia. Like many other teachers in this area, he teaches kids of several grades at the same time. His 14 pupils are between 6 and 12 years of age.
Antonio is really committed to promote hygiene practices, safe water and sanitation to each of his students. Last year, he participated in several of the workshops organized by the SODIS Foundation for this project in order to train and motivate teachers to implement simple practices for improving water and hygiene conditions at schools. One of the simple measures is the establishment of “healthy corners”, which are tables where pupils store safe drinking water and clean cups. As the project did not provide such tables for all class rooms, Antonio decided to make one with locally available resources: plastic bottles and a pressboard (see picture). This table made of recycled materials at no cost now serves as the “health corner” in Antonio’s class room, and the kids are using it regularly. This simple story tells us how importance it is to train people and to enable their creativity for finding locally adapted solutions. After all, our project is not about “feeding the hungry”, but about “teaching them how to fish”.
Given the need and with his own creativity, he created a platform to organize his corner of safe drinking water. In the educational unit, they only have distributed five “tarimas” and have six classrooms. Antonio managed to create a small table for his barrel and glasses with only pressboard and plastic bottles.
Currently, we are also training teachers and students on how to produce soap for hand washing. Again, we are seeing how important it is to foster creativity and make use of existing materials and resources – we will tell you about this in our next report.
We hope this report was useful for you. If you liked it, please share it with other people who may be interested in supporting a project like this. Thank you in advance!
Best regards from the whole project team,
In this update, we wanted to provide a short overview on what happened over the past 4 months in our project “32 girl-friendly schools in Bolivia”.
Staff of the SODIS Foundation has been working hard with the local teachers. In total, 146 teachers were trained in important topics related to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. So far, we reached the equivalent to 64% of the target set for the project, and the trainings continue.
In three schools where the teachers already have been trained, they started to implement a series of workshops for the pupils, with the support of experts from the SODIS Foundation. During these workshops, we were able to speak about how to facilitate and support healthy habits like water disinfection, hand washing at key moments (before eating and after using the bathroom) and proper use of bathrooms.
In each classroom, the teachers and pupils jointly installed a corner with safe drinking water (SODIS water bottles and jerry cans of 20 liters with chlorinated water). In some schools, they started the production of handmade soap, which is a very interesting approach to make sure that soap will be available in the future, even after the official end of our project.
Project staff, in cooperation with school managers, set up a Safe Water Committee in each school. The committees are composed of student representatives and one or two teachers. These committees are responsible for monitoring the healthy practices at school.
Meanwhile, we analyzed the conditions for the construction of ecological dry toilets in five educational units. In these schools, there is not enough water to run traditional flush-toilets, and ecological dry toilets have been identified as the best technological option. Currently, we are in the design phase of these unit, and construction will start in the next few weeks. Furthermore, we are in the process of identifying local leaders (men and women) who will help us in the next phase of the project, when we want to bring the healthy habits from the schools to the whole community.
In general the project is advancing well and according to the plans. If you think this report was useful to you, please share it with your friends and family. Please also let us know if you want more specific information, or if you have other suggestions on how to improve our work.
Happy New Year!
In this report, we want to let you know what happened during the last months of 2013 in our project “32 girl-friendly schools in Bolivia”. As you know, this project is about teaching and practicing simple methods for improving water, sanitation and hygiene conditions to kids at schools in the municipality of Independencia (Bolivia), with a special focus on gender-sensitive issues like menstrual hygiene management.
In general, the project has been advancing well in 2013. The teachers, students, directors and community leaders accepted with much delight the simple ways of disinfecting water and the habits of improving hygiene and sanitation conditions, not only at school where they are trained, but also extending these to their homes.
One project highlight of 2013 was the celebration of World Handwashing Day on October 15. The activity was held as an educational marketplace at Independencia’s main square, with each participating school presenting its own creative stand. The professors of the schools expressed their support and helped the children to prepare the event even though it was exams period. Monica Mamani, a teacher at the “Laura Vicuna” school said, “We participated even though there were a lot of activities in the school and it was worth it, only bringing the tables to the main square was costly because of the buses but besides that, everything was easy.” On his part, the District Director of Education was the master of ceremonies and inaugurated the event World Handwashing Day.
The children from one school performed a street theater with mimes, demonstrating the consequences of washing hands and including the topic of water pollution. Children from another school explained different methods of water disinfection, and others presented a sociodrama with puppets which made a splash with the audience.
In November, Margoth Garcia, the project facilitator of the SODIS Foundation, organized what would be the first,. “General Assembly of the Water Committees”, composed of the schoolchildren in Independencia. This assembly brought together 194 child leaders from 18 schools. The event was supported by the Mayor and inaugurated by the District Director Oscar Teran who expressed his happiness to take part in this activity and at the end of his speech directly told the children: “You represent the best of the Independencia district!” At the end of the assembly, the professors closing the ceremony stated that, “The assembly was a success, a unique experience, and I am very happy to have been part of this project.”
As you can see, within a short time this project managed to bring about significant changes and positive impacts to the schools and families of Independencia. We are looking forward for the new school year to start soon (in Bolivia, the educational cycle goes from January to December), and our project team is getting prepared for a lot of activities in 2014. On behalf of the whole project team, I would like to thank you for your support and invite you to be a part of this project. Together, we shall take this project onto the next level in 2014!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.