Dear Supporters of the Safe Drinking Water Project in Bolivia,
We wanted to quickly update you on important developments within the project „Safe Drinking Water for 80,000 Children in Bolivia“, and also let you know about a special fundraising challenge.
During a recent visit to the project we confirmed that the activities are advancing well. As we have previously informed, it was possible to significantly improve the number of beneficiaries of the project, thanks to negotiations with our partner institution Save the Children (www.savethechildren.org). The project will now reach more than 80,000 children in about 230 schools, rather than the initially planned 10,000 children. This massive increase is possible thanks to the great interest of teachers and school directors, who are aware of the importance of safe drinking water and hygiene at their schools.
Up to now, more than 860 teachers have been trained on how to obtain safe drinking water by using the simple SODIS method. Similarly, 767 pupils received training on SODIS and hygiene; they now will be responsible for training their peers and supervise the proper application of the SODIS method at school.
Over the past few months, the focus of the promotion efforts was on hand washing, which complements the safe drinking water component. The simple habit of hand washing with soap can not only prevent many cases of diarrhoea but also any type of flu. By the end of May, the H1N1 virus had arrived in Bolivia, and by the beginning of July, more than 400 cases have been reported, so the hand washing campaign was launched just in time to prepare schools and families for this new threat. After some initial difficulties with handling common hand washing basins, the special “mobile hand washing units” were designed and promoted – a big success with teachers and pupils alike. These units use less water and are safer to use than common water basins. They can be made from PET bottles – for example the ones that are too scratched to be used for SODIS.
On July 13, staff of the SODIS Foundation invited local media to visit some of the project schools in Cochabamba. In the neighbourhood called “Uspha Uspha”, they discovered a small restaurant, which offered all its home-made fruit juices based on SODIS water. Veronica Alanes, the owner of the restaurant, mentioned that her innovative drinks were well received by children, but also by adults. SODIS water now comes with taste of lemon, passion fruit or “tumbo”, the popular fruit of a local cactus. Of course, the restaurant also is equipped with a mobile hand washing unit for the clients. In this way, they will enjoy safe drinks and good hygiene – at no additional cost.
Furthermore, we also would like to inform you that our project has been invited by the Global Giving Foundation in the United Kingdom (www.globalgiving.co.uk) to participate in the “Alive and Learning” fundraising challenge. A number of projects from around the world dealing with children and education have been selected to participate in this challenge. Between July 15 and August 14, they will be promoted through the website of the Global Giving UK Foundation, and the most successful projects will be eligible for prizes and additional promotions.
We therefore kindly invite you to support our project once more – either by a donation through www.globalgiving.co.uk/1905 , or by forwarding this message to friends and colleagues who may be interested. Remember that any amount is welcome, no matter how small; it only costs £ 12 to train a teacher to produce and promote safe drinking water.
We thank all our donors for their continuing support, which serves as a great motivation to the whole team.
PS: June was our most successful fundraising month this year – so let’s make July even better!