Dear friends of the SODIS Foundation,
We are happy to announce that the project “Safe drinking water for 10,000 school kids in Bolivia” experienced some exciting changes and a significant extension – it will now benefit more than 100,000 school kids in several regions of Bolivia, thanks to an alliance with a new partner organization. Read about progress made so far and about the new dimension of the project in our project update (see below).
Project Update July 2008
Project activities started in November 2007. The goal of the first project phase was to test and evaluate the education materials, which the SODIS Foundation previously had produced and promoted. In order to test these materials, partner organizations working in schools were identified. The partner organizations involved in this project phase were two local NGOs (PDA Soracachi, PDA Wiñaypaj, local offices of the international NGO World Vision) and three Municipalities in the Bolivian highlands (Uncía, Pocoata and Colquechaca). All these institutions successfully have been implementing projects for the promotion of SODIS in previous years with the support of the SODIS Foundation.
They key piece of the education materials is a guide for teachers which facilitates teaching and application of the SODIS method in schools (you can download the manual at http://www.aguasegura.org/es/biblioteca/metodologicos/Escuelas%20para%20la%20Salud.pdf). With this methodology, schools can be changed from high-risk environments into a “escuela para la vida” (“school for life”) - a school where healthy habits are taught as well as practiced.
During this first project phase, the methodology was implemented in 20 schools. In February 2008, in each school, at least 5 teachers were trained on implementation methodology. In the following weeks, technicians of the SODIS Foundation visited the schools in order to support the teachers. Between April and May, the activities and results were evaluated, with the following main insights:
- The methodology and materials were well accepted by teachers.
- In some projects, changes within the staff of teaching personnel led to discontinuities, which affected the activities negatively.
- The material was not as well received by teachers of secondary classes as by the primary school teachers. Therefore, the target audience of the education material (teachers of primary school classes) needs to be better defined.
- Some teachers showed lack of motivation for implementing the methodology as it implies an additional work load and is not directly linked to their regular activities.
Based on the experiences of this first project phase, the SODIS Foundation decided to change the strategy of the initiative. Instead of implementing several small projects, it was decided to look for a partner institution for carrying out a large-scale initiative, which will last at least a full school-year cycle. Working with all the schools of a region also allows to involve the Ministry of Education more formally and to include the project in regular training and supervision processes of the Ministry. This guarantees a continuous improvement of the methodology as well as the involvement of large numbers of teachers, and working in many schools will create an impact at regional level, creating a positive attitude towards the SODIS method.
In June 2008, the SODIS Foundation managed to identify an ideal partner for the large-scale initiative at the schools: Save the Children Bolivia. The international NGO has many years of experience of working in Bolivia and working with schools (see also http://www.savethechildren.org/countries/latin-america-caribbean/bolivia.html). The new project phase will benefit at least 100,000 school kids. Currently, the SODIS Foundation and Save the Children are raising additional funds for this new project phase, while details of the project implementation are being defined. In our next project report, we will write more about these exciting new developments and about further progress. In the meantime, we keep receiving donations, which will benefit this new project phase. We would like to send all our donors a big THANK YOU – thanks to our support, we can make a difference in the lives of thousands of children. An remember: With as little as 20 US$, we can train a teacher; and with 100 US$, we can bring safe drinking water to a whole class of kids.