We are excited to announce that Wednesday, October 17 will be another Bonus Day - this means that every donation we receive that day will be matched by 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. This is a great opportunity to keep supporting our project and will make your donation have an even larger impact than usual.
Meanwhile, our project in 40 schools in Bolivia keeps pushing ahead. Our project team had to overcome many difficulties - for example, to get to one of the project schools, people have to walk for 2 days... in our interconnected world, it is hard to imagine living so remotely - and mobile phone coverage of course has not reached this hidden corner of Bolivia yet.
At this moment, the project team is preparing an extension of the project for an additional year. This was actually requested by the local authorities and teachers as they feel that even though progress has been great at schools, there now is a need to involve the communities more closely in order to make sure that the children drink treated water at all times, not only at school. The SODIS Foundation is taking on this challenge and is currently negotiating the terms for the project extension. We will keep you informed about this exciting development and the results we achieve on the way.
In the name of the whole project team, I want to thank you for your previous support and encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity of the Bonus Day on October 17.
This is a short up-date from the field from the project to provide families in Bolivia with micro-credits for water and sanitation improvements.
Both in numbers and in processes, the project is now getting to speed - after a long phase of institutional negotiations and trials of different models, we can now focus on the promotion of the micro-credits. Since May, $6,000 in credits have been disbursed to nine families, and further $18,000 are in the process of technical and financial evaluation (by the way: the donations we receive through GlobalGiving are not used for the credits but for the promotional and educational activities of the SODIS Foundation). And here is another important number: 0% of credit defaults...
However, the project is not only about numbers, it is also - and most importantly - about people. For example Edgar Anagua and Felicia Crespo, a young couple who lives in the peri-urban zone of Cochabamba. For many years, they lived without a bathroom or toilet, which is quite a common situation in this area where the water distributions network (or the sewer, for that matter) does not exist yet. Edgar and Felicia were aware of the importance of basic sanitary installations and previously had inquired with local banks, but their requirements for micro-credit were all to stringent. Thus, when they heard of our project they immediately contacted us, and within a few days the credit was approved. For $1,500, they were able to buy a big water tank and construct the bathroom including a toilet and a shower (see pictures).
Today, they have their own toilet and they can even take a shower - which is not only a luxury in this area but really increases quality of live. Among other things, they noted that their children are much healthier, which also brings about savings and productivity gains for the parents. As Edgar Anagua points out: "This micro-credits are a great opportunity to improve our lives. This experience also taught me to be more responsible, to work hard and to be serious about my dreams".
For us, this is just one of many examples where we witness how the project is making a big difference in lives of families. And like Edgar and Felicia, there are thousands of people who need an opportunity to improve their living conditions - not by free give-aways but by their own work. Because micro-credit and sanitation are not only about survival, but also about something we sometimes forget: dignity.
Best regards from the whole project team,
We quickly wanted to inform you about exciting news related to our project for 40 schools in Bolivia, which you supported in the past:
Overall, we are very encouraged to see how fast the promoted new technologies and solutions to save lives have spread. However, our evaluation also showed that it is necessary to bring these innovations from the schools to the families and homes. Thus, we elaborated a plan for an additional project phase, which will start in November 2012 and will reach out to these families.
Please feel free to pass on the word about our projects and activities to friends and family members. We are looking forward to receiving feedback on the project and on this report - is this information useful for you?