Latin America

Latin America


A. Title: Clean Drinking Water and Healthy People in the Highlands of Bolivia

B. Original Title: SODIS

C. Country: Bolivia

D. Introduction: Bolivia’s history is characterized by social unrest. Notably, the tensions related to the extraction of natural resources has repeatedly provoked political crises. Bolivia is the poorest land in South America. Poverty, food insecurity and the effects of climate change pose great challenges to the government. Bolivia is also the land with the lowest development of basic infrastructure concerning electricity, drinking water and sewerage. This has fatal consequences for the health of the people, especially in the region of San Pedro de Buena Vista, one of the poorest areas in the country, Children regularly suffer from diarrheal diseases and child mortality is higher than the national average.

Approach: Just as it has in other countries, Helvetas introduced the SODIS water disinfection method in Bolivia in 2011. 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. All of the large NGOs in the health and water sector in Bolivia now recognize the SODIS-Method as a valuable addition to their traditional interventions and have incorporated it into their programs. The Ministry of Health also supports the teaching of the SODIS-Method. Furthermore, the participation of local women’s groups in this project has strengthened and protected their work. The women’s groups assist in the promotion of how to disinfect water and the importance of basic hygiene, such as handwashing. Helvetas works closely with schools and teachers in the region. It has been found that children are excellent promoters of hygiene and that they bring this knowledge to their families. Latrines have been built for the poorest households together with the local authorities.

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 incorporate the teaching of the importance of health, hygiene and clean drinking water in the curriculum of all schools in the region. Teaching basic hyiene and the relationship between drinking water, hygiene and health to local women’s groups and teachers who would promote this knowledge to the local population. To increase access to latrines among more households

E. Risks and Challenges: -

F. Project Partner: Our local partner, Fundacion Sodis, works with the local women‘s groups, the local government of San Pedro de Buena Vista, and with the Education and Health Ministries in the region.

I. Duration of the project: 01.01.2012 – 31.12.2015

© SODIS 2019
Last update: 19.12.2014