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

Dec 11, 2013

Field evaluation

Interviews with beneficiary families
Interviews with beneficiary families

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.

Best regards,

The whole project team at the SODIS Foundation

These bags are used for treating and storing water
These bags are used for treating and storing water


Nov 4, 2013

Latest developments

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,

Matthias Saladin

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.

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