A. Titel: Using Sunlight to Treat Polluted Drinking Water

B. Original Title: SODIS WatSan

C. Country: Vietnam

D. Introduction: It took decades before Vietnam recovered from the two Indochina wars (France, USA) and from its subsequent conflict with China. At the end of the 20th Century, the Communist government opened the country up to market-based development and to a transition to democracy. Since then Vietnam has experienced enormous economic growth, enough so that it is today considered a “middle-income country”. However, not all population groups have profited from the economic growth. Officially, 75% of the rural population has access to drinking water, although only 35% of the drinking water sources meet the national drinking water standard. It is often very polluted. Diarrheal diseases are very widespread, and can result in mortality among young children.

Approach: Since 2010 Helvetas has introduced the SODIS water disinfection method in two districts in the Mekong Delta. SODIS is a simple, scientifically recognized and inexpensive method with which households can disinfect their drinking water themselves. Transparent PET bottles are filled with dirty water and placed in direct sunlight for, at least, six hours. The UV rays kill the pathogenic organisms in the water. This method is practically free and has improved the health and living quality of people in the two regions. Helvetas has trained local health workers, as well as teachers and members of women’s groups, in how to best promote the SODIS-Method and basic hygiene, such as hand washing, among the local population. This project has also built latrines for the poorest households with the local authorities. Since 2013 the project has been working on insuring that its efforts are sustainable and has made the SODIS-Method known throughout the country through radio programs. In addition, the Helvetas has worked with the relevant Ministries and local authorities to bring the project to the national level.

E. Project Goal: To improve the general health of the local population in the project region by teaching them the principles of clean drinking water and public sanitation.

F. Anticipated Results: To make all population groups, who presently do not have access to clean drinking water, knowledgeable of the SODIS-Method and of basic hygiene. To have the national government integrate the SODIS-Method into a national program funded by the state. To have the local authorities adopt guidelines concerning the handling and storing of clean drinking water at the household level.

G. Risks and Challenges: The SODIS-Method requires clean PET bottles and a dependable organization that can insure their supply. Although the SODIS-Method has not been accepted by everyone (“The Technology of the Poor”), it is recognized by more and more people as offering a long-lasting solution to the problem of polluted drinking water.

H. Project Partners: Helvetas works closely with local authorities, the relevant government Ministries, health centre employees, teachers, local NGOs and recognized religious authorities.

I. Duration of the Project: 01.01.2013 – 31.12.2015

© SODIS 2019
Last update: 19.12.2014