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.
Apr 18, 2013

Day care centers with safe drinking water

Safe drinking water is now readily available
Safe drinking water is now readily available

Dear supporters,

The last few weeks have been very busy for us: assembling filters, training staff of 15 day care centers on how to use them, and then making sure they are being used properly. The response from our partners at the day care centers was very positive and we continue to receive requests for additional filters and trainings.

Previous to our intervention, in some day care centers kitchen staff had been boiling large amounts of water every day, consuming a lot of time and energy, while at the same time being a complicated process with some risks involved (burning). Now, it is a matter of pouring the raw water into the filter and enjoying the safe drinking water which comes out at the bottom.

As you can see from the pictures, these filters - and the accompanying training and education activities - had a major impact at the day care centers. 50 filters have been distributed, improving the drinking water of more than 1,000 children. On average, this micro-project will avoid about 2,000 cases of diarrhea per year, and if we take into consideration the improved hygiene conditions achieved, the numbers are even more impressive.

At the SODIS Foundation, we are very satisfied about this project. With a very focused approach, we can reach out to the population group which is most at risk to contract diarrhea and other waterborne diseases (children under five), and we can do this in a very cost-effective way (the whole intervention costs less than 5 dollars per child). And the best about it: we are creating a healthy habit with children and their caretakers, which also impacts the community at large and leads to healthier lives, less expenses on medical treatments, and improved quality of live. What else can we hope for?

Best regards from the whole project team,

Matthias Saladin

All smiles for the new water filters
All smiles for the new water filters
The water filters were the center of attention
The water filters were the center of attention
Mar 13, 2013

Field activities started - requests for more

Workshop with local community representatives
Workshop with local community representatives

Dear supporters,

This is just a quick update from the field to let you know about recent developments in our project. During December and January, we were busy producing the educational materials to be used at the schools and communities, defining our intervention plan and meeting with local authorities in order to coordinate activities. On Friday, February 22, the coordination workshop with the local population took place (see picture), which also was the official launch of the project. We explained the goals of the project and what kind of interventions we are planning to implement in order to strengthen local capacities to respond to emergency situations. Participants - representatives from the project communities - were very interested to find out more about these novel methods and technologies.

We witnessed how fast news spread, even in places where coverage with cellular phones is intermittent at best. Apart from the communities where our project will take place, representatives from five more communities came to the workshop and required to be part of the project. As our resources are limited and we want to implement a well-controlled pilot trial, we offered these communities a full-day training session and support to establish and train local Emergency Brigades (groups of volunteers who are in charge of developing emergency plans and coordinate activities in the case of an emergency). Three such trainings already took place (in Tijrasca, Mollini and Llallaguani) and were met with great interest on behalf of the local population. We are now discussing with local authorities how to respond to additional demand for trainings and information sessions.

Apart from progress in the field, we also would like to inform you about a special donation opportunity: On March 13th, all donations will be matched by additional 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. That means that if you donate $100 that day, $130 will actually go to the project (any amount up to $1,000 will be matched). Matching will begin at 9:00 am EDT (this time in your city) and matching will last until funds run out or 11:59 pm EDT. If you consider making a donation to our project (or any other on www.globalgiving.org), please make use of this special opportunity. For no extra effort, you will get 30% more impact out of your donation.

Please let us know if this project report met your expectations. We are happy to provide additional information or answer specific questions – it is up to you to get involved. If you think this report was useful, please pass it on to your personal contacts – thank you.

Best regards from the whole project team,

Matthias Saladin

Links:

Feb 5, 2013

Progress on the solar dose indicator

Setting up the radiometers for the experiments
Setting up the radiometers for the experiments

Dear supporters,

2012 has been a busy year with some significant progress on the SODIS indicator. You probably are aware that the objective of this project is to develop an indicator which can tell a user when water in PET bottles has been exposed to enough sunshine and thus is ready for consumption (for more information on this fascinating process, please visit www.fundacionsodis.org). The main challenge is to do this at a very low cost, because this device needs to go to millions of people around the world, most of whom live on less than a dollar per day.

So far, we have managed to develop several prototypes, all of which do the job fairly well. However, as long as we are working with prototypes, a lot of manual work is involved, which makes the units expensive. Thus, we need to produce on a different scale (mass production), but also to make sure that we got the design right. "Getting it right" in our case means three things:

1) The indicators need to work properly, indicating the users when they have to wait and when the water is ready for consumption.

2) The devices have to withstand very rough conditions (heat, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.).

3) They need to communicate in a very simple way with the end user when the water is ready for consumption.

In order to achieve this, we are now preparing a field test with some fairly advanced prototypes. At the moment, they are still too expensive, but before we start mass production, we need to make sure the design we are working with is the right one.

The devices we are working with are made of a radiation sensor, an electronic circuit and some kind of a display (typically LEDs). In parallel, we also work with an alternative approach: Paper stickers which change color depending on the amount of radiation received. In cooperation with the University of Cochabamba (Bolivia), we just completed a series of tests with one of these products, which shows promising results: The paper changes within 8 hours from red to yellow (see picture above). However, the product is not re-useable and the color change is slightly too slow for our purpose. Therefore, we are now looking for alternative products and for mechanisms to make the indicator re-useable.

We will keep you updated about progress on our side. If you found this report useful, feel free to share it with your friends and family and pass on the word.

With best regards from the whole project team,

Matthias Saladin

Color indicator changing from red (left) to yellow
Color indicator changing from red (left) to yellow

Links:

 
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