Aug 28, 2009

Fundraising success

SODIS promotion at school
SODIS promotion at school

Dear supporters of the Safe Drinking Water Project in Bolivia,

We are overwhelmed by the surge in support and donations we received over the past two months. As a highlight, we achieved the goal of raising 2,000 £ through donations of the Global Giving UK website, as a result of our participation in the “Alive and Learning Challenge”. Thanks to this great achievement, our project was included in the winner’s page (which can be found here: http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/top5-a-and-l/), as one of only five projects (out of over 60 participants) which achieved this goal.

We therefore want to thank everybody who helped us reach this goal: the project team, the fundraising team, and especially you, the donors. Thanksk to you, every day more schools are enrolled in the project, and every day more children obtain access to the healthiest of all drinks: safe water.

In this sense, a happy “cheers” to you from the SODIS Foundation. We will soon update you on project progress on the ground.

Best regards, Matthias Saladin

NB: As another highlight, we just received donation number 100 and quickly are approaching the 10,000-dollar-limit of total project donations. Thank you!

Handwashing at school
Handwashing at school

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Jul 28, 2009

Project update July and a new challenge

Dear Supporters of the Safe Drinking Water Project in Bolivia,

We wanted to quickly update you on important developments within the project „Safe Drinking Water for 80,000 Children in Bolivia“, and also let you know about a special fundraising challenge.

During a recent visit to the project we confirmed that the activities are advancing well. As we have previously informed, it was possible to significantly improve the number of beneficiaries of the project, thanks to negotiations with our partner institution Save the Children (www.savethechildren.org). The project will now reach more than 80,000 children in about 230 schools, rather than the initially planned 10,000 children. This massive increase is possible thanks to the great interest of teachers and school directors, who are aware of the importance of safe drinking water and hygiene at their schools.

Up to now, more than 860 teachers have been trained on how to obtain safe drinking water by using the simple SODIS method. Similarly, 767 pupils received training on SODIS and hygiene; they now will be responsible for training their peers and supervise the proper application of the SODIS method at school.

Over the past few months, the focus of the promotion efforts was on hand washing, which complements the safe drinking water component. The simple habit of hand washing with soap can not only prevent many cases of diarrhoea but also any type of flu. By the end of May, the H1N1 virus had arrived in Bolivia, and by the beginning of July, more than 400 cases have been reported, so the hand washing campaign was launched just in time to prepare schools and families for this new threat. After some initial difficulties with handling common hand washing basins, the special “mobile hand washing units” were designed and promoted – a big success with teachers and pupils alike. These units use less water and are safer to use than common water basins. They can be made from PET bottles – for example the ones that are too scratched to be used for SODIS.

On July 13, staff of the SODIS Foundation invited local media to visit some of the project schools in Cochabamba. In the neighbourhood called “Uspha Uspha”, they discovered a small restaurant, which offered all its home-made fruit juices based on SODIS water. Veronica Alanes, the owner of the restaurant, mentioned that her innovative drinks were well received by children, but also by adults. SODIS water now comes with taste of lemon, passion fruit or “tumbo”, the popular fruit of a local cactus. Of course, the restaurant also is equipped with a mobile hand washing unit for the clients. In this way, they will enjoy safe drinks and good hygiene – at no additional cost.

Furthermore, we also would like to inform you that our project has been invited by the Global Giving Foundation in the United Kingdom (www.globalgiving.co.uk) to participate in the “Alive and Learning” fundraising challenge. A number of projects from around the world dealing with children and education have been selected to participate in this challenge. Between July 15 and August 14, they will be promoted through the website of the Global Giving UK Foundation, and the most successful projects will be eligible for prizes and additional promotions.

We therefore kindly invite you to support our project once more – either by a donation through www.globalgiving.co.uk/1905 , or by forwarding this message to friends and colleagues who may be interested. Remember that any amount is welcome, no matter how small; it only costs £ 12 to train a teacher to produce and promote safe drinking water.

We thank all our donors for their continuing support, which serves as a great motivation to the whole team.

Kind regards, Matthias Saladin

PS: June was our most successful fundraising month this year – so let’s make July even better!

May 23, 2009

Update May 2009

Mobilel hand washing unit
Mobilel hand washing unit

Dear Supporters,

It has been a while since you last heard from the project team in Bolivia. In December 2008, we were invited to join a special fund-raising campaign, which received much attention and feedback. In spite of the fact that we did not reach our fundraising target (5,000 USD in one month), there have been many contributions, and we were the most successful project (out of 42) from Latin America. Even after the campaign, funds kept coming in steadily, in spite of an ever worsening economic outlook worldwide. We would like to thank all our supporters for their help in hard times – it is very motivating for us to see so many people contributing to the project.

In Bolivia, the project has made considerable progress over the past few months. In November 2008, staff of the SODIS Foundation trained dozens of facilitators of “Save the Children” on the specific methodology. They in turned started with the training workshops for teachers. So far, more than 700 teachers have been trained in 2008. After holiday season (December and January traditionally are “summer vacation” in Bolivia), the project team went back to work as soon as classes started in February 2009. Local authorities and the parents of the school kids were informed about the project, in order to facilitate the spreading of healthy habits from school to homes.

At the classrooms and schools, the transition is already visible. Not only are there many bottles placed on the roofs or ready for consumption in the classrooms, but also a large number of the innovative “mobile hand washing units” can be seen (see pictures). These units are made of used PET bottles and enable kids to wash their hand at any time, using only very little water.

The project is now in full swing. Within the next few months, SODIS and hand washing will be promoted at all 231 schools of the project as well as in their surroundings. In some schools, poetry and drawing competitions will be held and health fairs will be organized. The SODIS Foundation will keep visiting the project in the field and keep you informed about the latest developments.

Once more, we would like thank all our project supporters. In the words of a child from the project region: “Thanks to SODIS we now have good drinking water, and my headache has gone away…”

P.S. Please let us know what you think of this update by providing feedback in the comments section.

Training workshop for teachers
Training workshop for teachers
Safe drinking water at classrooms
Safe drinking water at classrooms

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