SODIS Foundation

To develop and promote solutions for improving drinking water quality and health. For achieving this, we cooperate with the private, public and development sector in order to benefit people in Latin America.
May 14, 2014

Successes and achievements

School kids posing in their "healthy corner"
School kids posing in their "healthy corner"

Dear supporter,

In this report, we want to briefly inform you about the latest advances and achievements of the project "Safe Drinking Water for 40 Schools in Bolivia":

Donation of 50 water filters to day care centers

In the beginning of 2014, we supported a local organization which is running more than 40 day care centers with a donation of 50 water filters, which was made possible thanks to a micro-project we launched on Global Giving during December 2013. The goal was to extend our work from the schools to other members of the communities, in this case the most vulnerable group in terms of infectious diseases: children between 6 months and 5 years. By working with a trusted partner, we were able to reach dozens of at-risk children with an efficient intervention which is proven to lower diarrhea rates, one of the leading causes of death of young children in Bolivia.

Experts of the SODIS Foundation trained the employees of our partner organization so that they can use the filters adequately. Thanks to this micro-project children and families are now drinking safe water, thus improving health and well-being. In the coming months, we will keep working with these day care centers so that they use the filters instead of consuming unsafe drinking water.

Safe Water Schools Manual: 

Over the past months, we adapted a manual which has been developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), with the title “for “Safe Water Schools”. The adaptation of the manual to the Bolivian context was conducted by the technical team of the SODIS Foundation and underwent a series of revisions and corrections based on the experiences with local teachers. In addition, we managed to obtain the support of the Ministry of Education at District level in Tiquipaya, who validated the material and now support its use in local schools. The manual provides guidance on how to improve water, sanitation and hygiene aspects at schools in low-income settings.

Water disinfection and hand washing:

From previous projects, we know that when promoting new habits, it is very important to remind people to practice these habits regularly. In the current project, we are using specially designed materials for this purpose:

  • Two Calendars for inform and remind people about different ways of disinfecting drinking water.
  • One poster to promote hand washing, which was approved by the Ministry of Environment and Water (MMAyA).

Project extension

As you can see, the project is making good progress and we are happy to have found positive response by our local partners - most importantly the teachers and pupils, but also by the school administrators, the local representatives of the Ministry of Education, of the Municipality, and the population in general. We therefore decided to extend this project for one more year in order to keep improving water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at local schools.

Bonus Day ahead: increase your impact!

We also wanted to inform you that this July 16, the 2nd Bonus Day of 2014 will take place. Any donation of up to $1000 will be matched by an additional 30%. Shortly before this date, we will provide further details about this special opportunity to make your donations go further.

Conclusion

The project is making good progress, and the response by local people and stakeholders is very positive. We decided to extend this project in order to keep improving positive health impact, further reducing diarrhea rates and school absenteeism.

If you found this report useful, please share it with other people who may be interested in this project. For questions and suggestions, please write to us directly: info@fundacionsodis.org.

Best regards from the whole project team,

Matthias Saladin

Poster promoting hand washing at critical times
Poster promoting hand washing at critical times
Calendar promoting 4 water disinfection methods
Calendar promoting 4 water disinfection methods
Participants of a workshop to promote hand washing
Participants of a workshop to promote hand washing

Links:

Mar 10, 2014

Final Report

Girl consuming safe drinking water from a filter
Girl consuming safe drinking water from a filter

Dear supporters,

The field activities of our project have come to an end. Just to give you a few numbers:

1114 school kids and 60 teachers were trained on simple methods to improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at schools and at home

- 72 water filters were installed at schools

- 150 families were provided with an innovative water treatment device and provided feedback for its further development

Moreover, the numerous activities carried out by our staff led to substantial changes in the way people think, feel and act in relation to water, sanitation and hygiene:

- At the end of the project, 89% of the children had safe drinking water available at school class at the moment of the evaluation – this number was at 1% when the project started.

- 58% of school kids correctly washed their hands with soap (up from 23% at the project start).

- 59% of the schools had adequate and clean sanitary installations available at the end of the project, up from 4% at project start.

These numbers clearly show that the project has created a massive improvement in water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at the local schools. It also is clear that the results can be further improved, and that’s why we will continue to support these schools with technical advice and supply of materials (e.g., candles for the ceramic filters).

Now that the activities in the field have stopped is the moment when we start with the second phase of the project, which is at least as important as the first phase: We are documenting our experiences in order to share them with other people and organizations. In this case, our most important conversation partner is the Ministry of Education. Before and throughout the project we informed people at local and at district level about the project, and we now are in conversations on how to integrate some of the modules we implemented into the curricula of the Ministry and how we can improve in general the water, sanitation and hygiene conditions at schools, as these have a significant impact on absenteesm and on learning results.

We will keep working on the improvement on water-related issues at schools in Bolivia. If you want to continue supporting our work at schools, please check out our other projects on GlobalGiving.

For us, this project has been a very positive experience. We have implemented an innovative methodology and helped improving basic services at schools. We think this is a model which deserves further attention and will be working with our local partners to support additional schools in Bolivia and in the region.

At this point, we also would like to thank all our supporters and sponsors – without you, the project would not have come as far as it did.

Thankfully,

Matthias Saladin

Young girl practicing hand washing at a work shop
Young girl practicing hand washing at a work shop
Woman in Tijraska treating her drinking water
Woman in Tijraska treating her drinking water

Links:

Feb 26, 2014

Final Report

This SODIS indicator goes from red to yellow in 6h
This SODIS indicator goes from red to yellow in 6h

Dear supporters,

This is the final report on our project to develop an indicator for Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS). The goal of this project was to develp and test a low-cost device which can tell users of the SODIS method when the PET bottles which are used for this process have been exposed to sufficient amounts of sunlight. During the course of the project, we tried several approaches to solve this problem:

- Materials-based approach: Some materials change colour according to the amount of sunlight they receive. This fact can be use to produce a SODIS indicator, and in fact we identified a producer of an adequate product and carried out field tests with it. It works well in the field, but the drawbacks are the fact that the indicators can only be used once and that the price per unit is fairly high - 0.40$ may sound like a small amount, but each user family will need at least 10 to start with, and that's already 4$ - and then they will need more... However, the product works and the SODIS Foundation will continue to use it where it sees a need and a benefit in doing so - for example in situations where there is not enough time to train people thoroughly, like it is the case in some emergency siutations we are attending at the moment in Bolivia.

- Electronic approach. We have supported and collaborated with several groups (both research and private sector) around the world who are working on the development of an electronic device which measures the amount of sunshine received and tells a user when the water in the bottles is ready for drinking. Two of these groups went ahead to set up formal organizations (www.helioz.org and www.potavida.org, who we mentioned earlier) and are currently undergoing field tests of advanced versions of their prototypes. The advantage of these devices, as compared to a single-use device, is that they can be used for a long time (several years), which makes for an ideal training and teaching device. The drawback is the prize - but this will come down as the numbers of units produced increase. We will keep in contact with these organizations and actually may field-tests some of their products later this year. 

Thus, we think that we have reached a stage where we can close this project. Over the past years, we have developed and tested several prototypes, supported research around the world and helped to establish two companies. We hope that this initiative will continue evolving and wish all the people and organizations involved all the best - for that in the near future, a SODIS indicator will be available for everyone who needs one - potentially, that would be at least 870 million people who currently do not have access to safe drinking water!

If you have questions or comments about our project, please do not hesitate to contact us (info@fundacionsodis.org).

At this point, we also want to thank all of the people who supported this project. Without these inputs, we could not have done all of this, and we also want to extend the thanks of all the people who directly benefited from this project.

Best regareds from the whole project team,

Matthias Saladin

 
   

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