Our Dispensers for Safe Water program operates at scale across Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi, providing safe water access to 4 million people today. In this post, we share a video highlighting how we've continued to iterate and adapt our dispensers to better meet user needs and maintain the low cost-per-person that makes this program a recognized standout in cost-effectiveness.
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Dispensers for Safe Water
In 2016, the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) approached Evidence Action with an interest in piloting our safe water model in Ethiopia, where over 48 million people still lack access to safe water despite the monumental strides that have been made to tackle the issue there. For us, the partnership, with CARE International as MWA’s lead implementing partner, offered a chance to gauge whether another organization can implement the Dispensers for Safe Water model given our support in supplying the hardware, sharing implementation best practices, and supporting program monitoring.
In our Dispensers for Safe Water program, which provides access to safe drinking water by installing chlorine dispensers near community water sources in Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi, we verify their use by measuring the adoption rate of chlorine among the households that our dispensers serve. Through the survey conducted in late 2017, we found that our population reached declined from 4.7 million, which is based on surveys conducted for each new dispenser installation during program scale-up from 2012-2016, to 4.0 million people program-wide today.
This year, our Dispensers for Safe Water program once more provided access to safe water for nearly 5 million individuals across Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi. We estimate that this simple and low-cost innovation has prevented over 2.5 million cases of diarrhea in children and saved over 2,000 young lives to date.
Today the world celebrates International Day of Charity, declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012. The UN’s agenda on sustainable development calls for the eradication of global poverty and the Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework by which institutions, organizations, and individuals can give charitably for the betterment of our world. To honor your giving, we want to show why we value your contribution today and every other day.
We only implement programs that have been rigorously evaluated, that have proven and measurable impact, and that are cost-effective. We periodically review and assess the evidence base for our programs to ensure that we are aware of potential changes which may impact our assessment of the underlying strength of evidence for a program and to adapt our programs. The following is our current assessment of the evidence base for Dispensers for Safe Water.
We are exploring the potential of leveraging the Dispensers for Safe Water network of local water promoters to deliver nutritional messages to families. We believe that the existing network of trained and dedicated individuals can provide a cost-effective way to increase household knowledge about nutrition, and potentially reduce undernutrition and malnutrition among children. This is the story of a randomized controlled trial to evaluate this.
Check out our new dashboard with real-time key performance indicators for Dispensers for Safe Water, our flagship program in East Africa. See how we are doing - any time!
Worldwide, lack of access to safe water is a problem that disproportionately affects the very poor. Dispensers for Safe Water takes a targeted, evidence-based approach to increasing access to safe water for the rural poor. Check out our new video to see what a “day in the life” is like for a Dispenser and how this innovative technology is providing 4.5 million people with access to safe water.
As the world watched the COP21 negotiations in Paris, we were paying close attention to the discussions on the future of carbon markets. While not a perfect system, the generation of carbon credits is one of the hallmarks of Dispensers for Safe Water, allowing the program to become self-sustaining and your donation to go further.
A new review of safe water, hygiene and sanitation research seems just as interested in the question of adoption as we are. What factors affect sustained adoption of safe water, hygiene and sanitation technologies? is a systematic review of the literature completed an in-depth synthesis of 44 published studies explicitly reporting on sustained adoption. What did the authors find, and how does this evidence square with what our approach to a sustainable water service - Dispensers for Safe Water?
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.
"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.
We use data every day. It’s critically important to our work. As an evidence-based organization, we rely on high-quality, timely and systematic measurement of inputs, outputs, and outcomes to make decisions about our work, and evaluate our progress. We measure to make decisions; we choose our methods depending on the question we want to answer.
So what data that we collect and use, and why?
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.