Diarrhea is among the top three killers of children under five in Bolivia. It is caused by poor water quality and hygiene conditions. Young children are especially affected by the disease because their immune systems are not fully developed and because their bodies dehydrate quickly. Many day care centers (like other educational institutions) lack access to safe drinking water. Whereas water generally is available, it often is not treated, thus increasing the risk for contracting diarrhea.
We will train educators of fifteen day care centers on key topics of water, hygiene and sanitation, focusing on simple solutions which can be implemented within a short time. We will install water filters in each class room so that children and educators can consume safe drinking water at all times. We also will train parents in order to facilitate behavior change at the household level. The project will directly improve health status of 750 children between one and six years of age.
Lowering diarrhea rates directly leads to improved survival rates and enhanced mental and physical development of children. Fewer cases of diarrhea also mean reduced medical expenses. Healthier settings at day care centers lead to increased attendance and create healthy habits which will last for a whole life, creating economic and health benefits which several times outweigh the costs of implementing a water and sanitation project.