At the beginning of the year, our adoption rates for Dispensers for Safe Water in Uganda were low. We needed to figure out what was happening and how to turn this trend around quickly. Here is what happened and what we did - in the great turnaround of 2015.
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"We will get to 49% adoption" said Joel determinedly. We were standing in a makeshift meeting room tacked onto the end of the Evidence Action field office in Busia, Western Kenya. Joel is the local Area Coordinator for Dispensers for Safe Water, one of Evidence Action’s flagship projects. My first impressions as the new Deputy Director of Global Safe Water on how Evidence Action is approaching sustainability and results differently.
Up to 80% of households within a community use Dispensers for Safe Water in the first three months of installation, and 40% on average for the months following. But we have seen that this customer uptake--what we call ‘adoption'--has gone down in some geographical areas. So we took a close look at what works in getting our customers to use Dispensers and chlorinate their water.
Check out this new video about Dispensers for Safe Water in Uganda, produced by our carbon partner, South Pole Carbon. It gives a great overview of Evidence Action's approach to Dispensers for Safe Water. Chlorine dispensers are an innovative, low-cost method proven to significantly reduce water-borne diseases such as diarrhea. Chlorine disinfects drinking water while protecting it from re-contamination. Evidence Action has continued to see high adoption rates among our customers as we scale this program in Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi. Currently, over 2.6 million people across Eastern and Southern Africa have access to safe water via more than 12,000 chlorine dispensers.
Evidence Action is proud to announce that we are now officially registered under South Pole Carbon’s International Water Purification Programme to generate carbon credits for Dispensers for Safe Water in Uganda. The project in Uganda will be jointly registered with the Gold Standard Foundation, meaning that it meets the highest standards of sustainable development for the communities in which we work. Dispensers for Safe Water, one of Evidence Action’s flagship programs operating in Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi, reduces the need to burn fossil fuels as a means of boiling drinking water. Instead, people are able to purify their water with the simple and effective addition of a small amount of chlorine directly at the water source.
This blog post summarizes our take on the evidence supporting chlorine dispensers. We discuss the evidence from the epidemiology and economics literature for the health impacts of chlorine and other approaches to water quality improvements, as well as the important role of compliance or adoption in realizing health benefits.
Alix Zwane remarks at US Tech H2.0, a US World Water Day event, and reflected on the history of the dispensers program. Here are her remarks.