A girl filling a PET bottle to do SODIS
Last week, children in most schools in Bolivia went back to classes after winter break. Yes, this is winter time in the Southern part of the planet, and this winter has been rather cold. In fact, in the Bolivian Departments of Oruro and Potosí, start of classes had to be delayed by a week because of the cold – and due to the fact that most schools do not have heating. While in other parts of the world people worry about the quality of the teaching staff and indicators like the student-teacher ratio, in Bolivia the core challenges are related to rather basic issues like these ones:
- Is there heating?
- Is there water?
- Are there toilets (or at least latrines)?
- Are there tables and chairs?
- Is there a teacher?
Only if these basic things are in place, teaching and learning can take place. This is why our project focuses on improving water and sanitation services at schools. In the first phase, we involved some 230 schools in the Departments of La Paz, Oruro and Cochabamba. In 2011, we included additional 20 schools in the Department of Cochabamba, where we also are working with women’s groups in the same communities. Improving water and sanitation at schools not only reduces diarrhea and other diseases but also absenteeism, which is a very common problem in countries like Bolivia.
As we communicated previously, June 16 was a special fundraising opportunity. Our on-line campaign was very successful, generating donations for more than 2,000 US$ in a single day, which was complemented by additional 30% by the Global Giving Foundation. We would like to thank all of our donors who supported our project on that specific date. As promised, all the people making a contribution that day entered a lottery for a special prize: a large print of a picture from our project, taken by professional photographer Matteo Bertolini (see picture). Congratulations to the lucky winner on behalf of the project team.
Currently, we are preparing a next phase of the project for 40 schools in the Municipality of Tiquipaya and currently are negotiating with the Ministry of Education and some potential donors to strengthen the project further. The goal of the next project phase will be to pilot additional innovative interventions for improving water quality and sanitary conditions at schools, whereas we keep developing our educational methodology.
We are looking forward to start the next project phase soon and will keep you informed about further developments on our side. We also would like to express our gratitude for your continued support to the project – donations of any amount are welcome to keep the project going.
Best regards from the whole project team,
P.S. Please mark October 19th on your agenda – this will be this year’s last chance to have your donation complemented. Each donation you make that day (up to the amount of 1,000 US$) will be increased by 30%, making your contribution have even more impact and helping more children to obtain safe drinking water.