In August 2016, we embarked on a pilot scheme at two schools to introduce solar disinfection of water – SODIS – plus effective hand washing through the use of Tippy Taps. Our objective was to reduce the incidence within schools of water borne diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, stomach worms, diarrhea etc. all of which are a major reason for absenteeism with a negative impact on education outcomes.
We were sufficiently encouraged by this pilot scheme to develop a project to deliver SODIS and hand washing in 30 schools, both primary and secondary, in Biharamulo District totalling around 25,000 students. In addition, and with the cooperation of the Biharamulo District Government, we have also provided training to Community Health Workers within Biharamulo District. Bicycles have also been provided for every health worker. This will improve the ability of health workers to deliver improved health care advice within communities. This twelve month project was largely funded by a grant from Guernsey Overseas Aid and Development and was completed in June 2018.
Whilst it is still very early days for this project, there are some encouraging signs. Specifically there has been a significant reduction in water borne diseases which has led to increased attendance at schools. In some schools reductions in absences of as high as 90% have been reported. We are hopeful that this increased attendance will lead to improvements in examination results in due course. Other indirect benefits include less money being spent on medications thus providing opportunities for more productive activities.
We are very grateful for the funding support from Guernsey Overseas Aid and in particular to Mike De Haaff for his vision and drive in planning and delivering this project so effectively.
More information on SODIS can be found here: http://www.sodis.ch/methode/index_EN
More information on Tippy Taps can be found here: http://www.tippytap.org/