Project #1905

Safe Drinking Water for 80,000 Children in Bolivia

by SODIS Foundation

Dear supporters of the SODIS Foundation,

We would like to inform you about two new initiatives of the SODIS Foundation which just have gone on-line:

- "Microcredit for water and sanitation": This is a project to provide microcredit and technical advice to families in Cochabamba (Bolivia) in order to improve their water and sanitation services. This joint initiative of the SODIS Foundation and two experienced financial institutions will empower 100 suburban families to improve the existing (often poor quality) water and sanitation services. With small investments, savings can be created and productivity increased, which enables the families to pay back the loan within a short time.

- "Develop an indicator for Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)": This project is based on a previously implemented open innovation challenge for developing the concept for a SODIS indicator (see The SODIS Foundation now is teaming up with the winning team of this challenge, a group of PhD students from the University of Washington, in order to develop a prototype and test it in the field. The goal is to facilitate the process of teaching and promoting the method of Solar Water Disinfection, a low-cost method for obtaining safe drinking water. Once ready for mass production, the device will help to accelerate the diffusion of SODIS on a global scale.

These two new projects have been prepared over the past months and they now are ready to start. We invite you to support these new initiatives of the SODIS Foundation and to pass on the word to friends and colleagues - feel free to use your social networks or to pass on the news in other ways.

Best regards,

For the SODIS Foundation,


Dear friends of the SODIS Foundation,

Probably most of you are looking forward for a cold and snowy holiday season. In the meantime, summer vacations started in Bolivian schools, and children will start the new classes only at the end of January. At the SODIS Foundation, we are busy documenting the project with more than 200 schools, which you supported in the past. Our goal is to share this successful and innovative experience with other organizations and schools. We will keep you update on this activity over the next few months.

If you are still looking for a meaningful present, you may want to consider making a dedicated donation to our project in the name of someone. Giving such a Tribute Card is fast and easy, just proceed like with a normal donation ( and check the box "Make this Donation in Honor of Someone?" at checkout. You will be prompted to indicate how you would like the card sent (e-mail or postal mail), the card design, and all recipient details. You also can enter a personal message to the recipient.

We hope you enjoy a relaxing holiday season.

Best regards from the whole project team in Bolivia,


Girl at a school in Oruro
Girl at a school in Oruro

Dear friends of the SODIS Foundation,

The year 2010 is coming close to its end, and so is our project to bring safe drinking water to more than 80,000 children in Bolivia, which you generously supported in the past. This is probably a good moment for you to relax for a moment and think of all the smiles that can be seen when children drink a glass of safe water. That’s more than 80,000 smiles, and more than 80,000 lives protected. We send you the picture of just of one of the kids reached by our project – you will have to imagine the rest of the smiles. In this way, we would like to thank you for your continuing support.

However, it’s not all smiles these days. Water is in the headlines again, but in a negative context. Almost one year after an earthquake devastated large parts of the capital of Haiti, the effects of lacking adequate water and sanitation services caused an outbreak of cholera. This tragic event spiked fears of a regional epidemic and called the Ministries of Health of several countries on the plan. In Bolivia, in a first step the SODIS Foundation is providing and translating the scientific evidence available to date that the SODIS method is a very effective protection against the disease (88% risk reduction documented). Additional steps are being discussed at the moment with Ministries of Health in other countries as well, indicating an increased awareness of the importance of the quality of our drinking water.

The field activities of the project in Bolivia are now closed. Throughout the year, the SODIS Foundation and its project partner Save the Children worked hard to bring safe water and improved hygiene to schools. Just to mention a few facts:

  • We trained more than 84,000 school kids on water disinfection and improved hygiene.
  • We trained more than 50,000 parents of these children in order to make sure the healthy habits learned at school also are practiced at home.
  • We provided more than 220 schools with information, practical advice and infrastructure in order to improve water quality and hygiene conditions.
  • We trained more than 2600 teachers and more than 1,000 parent’s committees on healthy habits.

The final report is available in Spanish and soon will be ready for download in English on our website ( We are now in the very important phase where we inform others about this project and make the experience available to a wider audience. For this task, we continue to receive donations throughout the rest of the year – please consider the project in your personal plans to contribute to those most in need.

Finally, the whole team of the SODIS Foundation wishes you all the best for the holiday season. If you are still looking for a meaningful present, why not make a dedicated donation to the project in the name of someone? In order to give such a Tribute Card, just proceed like with a normal donation ( and check the box "Make this Donation in Honor of Someone?" at checkout. You will be prompted to indicate how you would like the card sent (e-mail or postal mail), the card design, and all recipient details. You also can enter a personal message to the recipient.

We thank you for your continuing support and wish you a happy holidays season.

For the SODIS Foundation,


Miriam (12, Oruro) washing her hands
Miriam (12, Oruro) washing her hands

Dear supporters,

October 15 was global hand washing day. The ones of you who have heard or read about this global initiative are aware of how big an impact can be achieved by something as simple as washing your hands (see Of course, hand washing is also part of our project in Bolivia, which you supported in the past and many of you keep generously supporting. A recent visit to some of the schools showed that hand washing not only is a well-established habit at these institutions but actually a lot of fun. For example, Miriam (12, picture below) from a small village in the department of Oruro showed us how old plastic bottles can be used for washing your hands if you do not have a tap with running water – it all is a matter of know-how and creativity.

The field activities of our project are now coming to an end. In September, the SODIS Foundation participated in official closing ceremonies at several schools, all of which demonstrated the great success the project achieved in a short time. Safe drinking water is now available at these institutions, and both teachers and pupils can tell that this makes a big difference. Moreover, the project also inspired parents to re-consider the way they consume water – they now know that water always needs to be disinfected before drinking, either by boiling, by adding chlorine products, by using ceramic filters or by applying the innovative SODIS method (

In spite of the fact that activities in the field are coming to an end, the project has not finished yet. In fact, a really important part just about started: telling other people and organizations about this positive experience and showing them how they can do the same. The project already sparked a lot of interest, and among other things the SODIS Foundation was invited by UNICEF to present this experience at an international workshop in Nicaragua. We want to continue to spread the message and thus kindly ask all our supporters to consider a donation to the project – any amount is welcome. Even with a small donation of 20 dollars we can hand out an information package to a partner organization and thus help more schools and children to get access to safe drinking water and to implement healthy habits.

Donations received between October 12 and 20 are completed by at least 30% by matching grants from the Global Giving Foundation, so please consider donating as soon as possible as matching grants are limited.

We also would like to encourage you to send us your feedback or questions you may have regarding the project. We are always on the search for improving the way we work and communicate – and also feel free to check out the new design of our website (

Looking forward to hearing back from you,

Best regards from the whole project team,


Maria (9) is showing her bottle with safe water
Maria (9) is showing her bottle with safe water

August update: Freezing South, Project News and Open Innovation

Dear supporters,

You probably have been complaining about high temperatures lately. Whereas in the Northern hemisphere people sweat and suffer from heat, in the South the opposite is the case: frost and hail in Peru, snow and low temperatures in large parts of Brazil, and torrential rains in China, Pakistan, India, and Guatemala. Meanwhile, in Bolivia, schools had to postpone the start of classes after winter holidays because of freezing temperatures - most buildings do not have heating or adequate insulation to keep them warm. This situation has a lot to do with our project, which you supported in the past - and many of you keep supporting. Schools should be places where children can grow and learn, not only about mathematics and language, but also about healthy lifestyles. That is why the project is focusing on teaching and practicing water disinfection and hygiene. With these simple interventions a significant improvement can be generated in the lives of thousands of children, and these will last as long as they practise the healthy habits. Without the need for massive spending in infrastructure, such projects can reach large numbers of schools at very low costs per child. It is our hope that we contribute to form a new generation who knows about the dangers of drinking untreated water and the benefits of washing hands. We also want to thank again all of you who have contributed to the project with ideas, with moral support or with donations. As the project will be finishing in September, we will use the donations we receive from now on for documenting this successful experience. Specialists at the SODIS Foundation are elaborating a document with the main results and some of the lessons learned during the project, and if funds allow, we also will make a short documentary. In this way, we can share our experiences with other organisations, other schools, and even teachers from other countries. On a different issue, we wanted to inform you about some exciting news from the SODIS Foundation. Thanks to our presence on the Global Giving marketplace, we have been invited by the Rockefeller Foundation to launch an open innovation challenge for developing a SODIS indicator. Such a device would enable users to see when water has been in the sun for enough time and therefore is safe to drink. This is very important because the microorganisms causing diarrhea or cholera are so small you can not see them without microscopes – therefore, water before and after disinfection looks the same to the human eye. The challenge for the SODIS indicator was implemented on the open innovation platform of InnoCentive, a world leader in open innovation. We received more than 70 high quality proposals and are currently in the process of evaluating them with the support of experts. We look forward to field test the winning solution soon, which will facilitate future promotion of this simple method for treating drinking water and saving lives. Maybe one day you will take such an indicator with you when you travel to a place where the drinking water is not trustworthy, or when you go hiking in the mountains. We look forward to keep you informed about these developments and about our project. Please help us spreading the word about the project and how simple it is to save a life.

Best regards from the whole project team

The hand washing unit in action
The hand washing unit in action



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Organization Information

SODIS Foundation

Location: Cochabamba - Bolivia
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Matthias Saladin
Executive Co-Director
Cochabamba, Cochabamba Bolivia

Funded Project!

Thanks to 198 donors like you, a total of $33,970 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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