Maria (9) is showing her bottle with safe water
August update: Freezing South, Project News and Open Innovation
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