For the second half of November, our field staff has been busy with the evaluation of the project in Anzaldo. They interviewed dozens of children and adults, they organized group discussions, but also carried out in-depth conversations with authorities at schools and at the municipality in order to collect data on the outcomes and results of this project. In the next few weeks, we will work on the final report, which we then also will share with institutional partners and other organizations working in the sectors of education, water/sanitation, and health.
As you may remember, this project is part of a larger disaster risk-reduction program of the municipality. Therefore, several organizations working in the field of emergency aid and risk reduction are very much interested to learn more about the project, the results and the lessons learned. We will present the final report at the working group for disaster relief in Bolivia in 2014, and you will be able to download it from our website as well.
Most of our field activities have concluded by now. However, we will maintain contact with schools and the municipality in order to make sure the healthy habits learned throughout 2013 will continue in the new year, creating lasting benefits for children and their families. If we continue to receive donations for this project in the next few weeks, we will use the funds to spread the lessons learned to additional organizations – and we are considering the option of shooting a video – so please stay tuned.
In the meantime, we wish you a happy Christmas season, End-Of-the-Year, or whatever reasons there are to celebrate.
The whole project team at the SODIS Foundation
The quest for the development of a low-cost indicator for solar radiation continues. In this report, we would like to comment on some exciting developments we observed in the last few weeks:
- One organization we mentioned several times already, Helioz GmbH of Austria, are in the process of producing a first series of their electronic SODIS indicator. The SODIS Foundation is one of the organizations who will be able to try the indicator under real-life conditions.
- A group of investigators and designers from Italy are working on a novel approach for the SODIS indicator. The idea is to have a material which changes color after being exposed to sunlight, and which can be used several times. This would significantly lower costs of producing such indicators and transporting them to remote areas.
As you can see, several groups and institutions around the world are working on the same objective, independently from our work but often in a collaborative manner. We will stay in contact with these groups and discuss ways on how to implement the different approaches in the field. A key question we need to address is how the indicators are used: either by the users directly (which means we need a lot of indicators, but probably will create more trust and a richer experience for users) or by trainers of end users, who will use there devices as a teaching tool for the surrounding families (which means we need fewer devices, but people will not be able to obtain first-hand experience).
We will keep you informed about these and other developments in the coming weeks.
Best regards from the whole team,
PS: In order to avoid misunderstandings, we would like to make it clear that the activities of the groups mentioned in this report were not financially supported by the SODIS Foundation. The donations received for this project through Global Giving so far have been used for field testing in Bolivia and for coordination activities of the SODIS Foundation.
As we reported in our previous messages from the field, the project to provide 1200 kids in Anzaldo (Bolivia) with safe drinking water is in full swing. After the initial information and discussion sessions with the local communities, we started with the training workshops - first for teachers and later for the school kids. At each school, there is now a group of kids who are in charge of making sure there is safe drinking water at all class rooms and all kids have a clean cup for drinking water during the breaks.
Complementary to improving the quality of drinking water, we also are working hard to improve hygiene conditions at schools. Specifically, we install simple hand washing stations and make sure these are used at critical moments: after using the toilet and before eating. Based on scientific evidence, the combination of improving water quality and hand washing is one of the most effective interventions in order to reduce diarrhea, cholera and other diseases.
The project is advancing well, and the reactions of the local people are overwhelmingly positive. For example, during a recent visit to a project school we talked to Roger Teran, one of the teachers of a project school in Anzaldo. He said that "it was time for some organization to come up with better solutions, because water is very important for our children. The water filter is so easy to use and a big advantage for the children.”
The water filter he mentioned (see picture) is just one of the solutions we provide in order to make schools healthier places for learning. They consist of a ceramic element (called "candle"), two plastic buckets and a tap, and they effectively remove bacteria and parasites which are commonly found in water sources at Anzaldo. Thanks to this simple technology, water now is safe for drinking, and children highly appreciate it.
Thanks to your support, we were able to make a difference. Please continue to support this project.
Best regards from the whole project team,