Jan 2, 2018

Clean water for China's orphanages

Splash founder, Eric Stowe, with beneficiary
Splash founder, Eric Stowe, with beneficiary

Happy New Year and warm wishes for 2018! Splash is excited to announce that at the close of 2017, 100 percent of orphanages in China have clean water! We're realizing a goal at the core of our organization – 120,000 vulnerable children and elderly adults at 1,100 orphanages, across 32 provinces, stretching 3.7 square miles across China, have consistent access to clean, safe water. 

Splash was founded in 2007 with the ambition of providing clean water for every orphanage in China. Inspired by his time working in international adoption, Splash founder and Executive Director, Eric Stowe, could not ignore an issue he repeatedly witnessed in orphanages. “Hotels and restaurants had access to clean water, but across the street, children at poor schools and orphanages did not," said Stowe.  

One decade later, after years of hard work and lessons learned, Splash, the Chinese government, and other partners have helped bring that disparity to a close. Over the past several years, the Chinese government has prioritized improving the policies and practices regarding child welfare,” said Hailan Qi, Director of China at Splash. “The collaboration with the local governments in each of the 32 provinces has been critical to securing clean water for every orphanage.” 

Yet work does not stop with 100 percent coverage of orphanages in China. We're working hard to build a sustainability model to ensure safe water stays flowing for all Chinese orphanages through local, independent management of Splash filtration systems. Outside of China, Splash continues to address the explosive growth of urban poverty and the need to improve critical water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and infrastructure in some of the world’s largest cities. Splash’s current goal is to reach 100 percent of government schools with improved WASH services in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Kolkata, India, benefitting one million children, by 2022. 

Thank you for your support and making this dream a reality!  

Oct 24, 2017

Data Quality for Healthy Programs

Students during Splash staff visit
Students during Splash staff visit

Splash staff from Nepal, Ethiopia, and Seattle, traveled to Kolkata, India to join their Indian colleagues for Splash’s first ever “Program Quality (PQ) Summit.” The team came together for a fun and informative week of connecting, collaborating, and learning all in the name of how to better support our programs. The purpose of the Summit was to connect colleagues from across the globe, align around the importance of data quality and standardized methods for collecting and using data to improve Splash’s programs, and to create program quality champions within each country office. 

This event marks the turning of an important page in Splash’s progress towards aligning global programmatic standards and data quality in order to effectively track organizational progress and communicate our impact. 

During their stay in Kolkata, participants visited six different schools ranging from large schools boasting 500+ students, residential schools who support the disenfranchised and marginalized, and small schools with hallways so narrow they could barely walk down. For some, it was the first time seeing our projects in Kolkata’s schools. Witnessing the differences between schools in Ethiopia, Nepal, and Seattle was a great learning experience, and comparing all of the similarities was heartwarming for all. No matter where you are, kids will be kids!

The Splash India team members were amazing hosts who demonstrated true Indian hospitality. Our global team members learned about the traditions of West Bengal life and witnessed many sights, smells, and sounds that make the region so beautiful. The Splash team also celebrated Vishwakarma Puja, the Hindu god of mechanics, by participating in a relgious ceremony and blessing the Splash cars.
With thousands of miles separating our country offices and with team members working around what feels like multiple clocks, sometimes the distance can feel vast. Conducting summits like these are a critical component to making sure Splash propels itself forward together. 

Oct 9, 2017

Taking Splash designs to the next level

Fiberglass stations
Fiberglass stations

For over a decade, Splash has been incorporating innovative design into our drinking and handwashing stations. From testing multiple versions of stations (everything from brick and mortar, concrete and tile, glass stone, commercially available products, custom stainless-steel models, and our current fiberglass molds), to designing stations for institutions accommodating a wide range of children (from schools of 5,000, to feeding centers of 1,500, to pediatric hospitals of 100), we have rich experience with what works and what doesn’t. 

Design is a critical component to ensure our handwashing and drinking water stations are durable, vandal proof, child-friendly in color and size, and usable by all children, including those with special needs. We need our stations to be easy to maintain and operate, manufactured locally, and cost-effective for third party replication. 

As Splash looks to expand our sanitation projects in Ethiopia, we will take our best practices learned in Asia and manufacture and install fiberglass stations in Addis Ababa for the first time. Previously, we only installed concrete and tile stations in schools.

Fiberglass stations are easier to install, easier to clean, easier to repair, and easier to move after installation than our existing tile and concrete stations in Ethiopia. The design process has also allowed us to make our stations more child friendly (both in terms of aesthetics and functionality). 

Splash’s team in Addis Ababa have been hard at work, researching fiberglass manufacturers, gathering bids, re-negotiating prices, and as of August 2017, supervising initial station manufacturing. The new fiberglass stations for Ethiopia will be similar to the design we use for Nepal and India, with small improvements.

One of the design modifications will allow for the placement of four water taps, to increase student access to water (the designs for India and Nepal were based on two taps per station). The ability to serve more students per station is needed given the very large school sizes in Addis Ababa, with some schools having upwards of 2,000 students.

Ultimately, our goal is for our stations to be as durable, lightweight, and stackable for easy transport and storage as possible. We also hope to design the stations so they can be conjoined side-by-side to produce one long multi-tap water station, or placed back-to-back to allow for group handwashing activities, as recommended by UNICEF.

Most importantly, Splash can rev up our implementation in Addis Ababa, allowing us to reach our goal of providing every public school with clean water and clean hands, more efficiently, while not sacrificing on quality. We hope that this work will serve as a model for the greater WASH sector of what’s possible when you resolve to innovate and never settle. 

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