One of the programs we are able to operate here at Kibaale Community Centre is SODIS. We have been blessed to receive a generous donation from Compassion Canada in order to fund this program, and we are excited about the benefits it will reap in our centre community and the surrounding areas.
SODIS is a water disinfection method that uses solar; the rays from the sun. Dirty water (from a lake, river, puddle, unclean borehole or well) is poured into a specific plastic water bottle, placed on a table made of corrugated metal, and left to soak up the sun’s rays until it is purified. The water needs to stay on the table for about five hours in intense sunlight.
Yobu, a former student of ours and now an employee here (he was sponsored all the way through university and has a B.Sc.), does SODIS training in our schools as well as in the community. At the community level, he first trains several leaders on the process and benefits of the program and then has them mobilize the community, distribute the equipment, and report any problems that may arise. He also tests the water being purified (before and after) every two weeks to ensure that best practices are being employed.
There are several advantages of this program. The initial cost for supplies is minimal, and as our centre can provide it, the equipment is free for those in our area. As most people were boiling water (over a fire) before SODIS to try and purify it, they had to purchase firewood, charcoal, paraffin etc., which can be expensive. And, of course, the health benefits of drinking and cooking with clean water as opposed to using dirty water, as many people still do, can literally save a person’s life.
The community that I visited with Yobu last week is SO thankful for the provision of the equipment to purify their water, and is already experiencing a decrease in water-borne diseases in their families. I didn’t see one table that didn’t have at least several bottles of water on it. We are looking forward to expanding the program into more villages in the New Year and seeing our community’s health improve as a result!