ECCA’s Safe Drinking Water Campaign – Photographic Essay (PDF) – By Mick Minard
Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA), WATASOL (Antenna Technologies) and The Lalit Kalyan Kendra Lower Secondary School: Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
ECCA has partnered with the Lalit Kalyan Kendra Lower Secondary School of Lalitpur in Kathmandu Valley to train the teachers and students on the WATASOL production and sales process, basic hygiene, the wide-spread impacts of water-borne diseases and the need to collectively conserve a vital supply of clean water.
ECCA was established in 1987 in Nepal to improve living conditions by building community awareness. Its programs promote the responsible use of local resources and renewable energy technologies. Its primary objective is to provide youths and children with innovative environmental programs aimed at educating them about the need for sound resource management and community-based conservation practices.
ANTENNA TECHNOLOGIES, founded in 1989, is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is primarily a network of scientists, researchers and engineers working in tandem with a communications & coordination team who partner with NGOs and international organizations.
In July 2008, they launched a joint project to implement WATASOL – an active chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) used for drinking water chlorination or as a disinfectant – in schools in various rural and isolated areas. The primary objectives of the collaboration and the basis of ECCA’s Safe Drinking Water Campaign are to: 1) Promote access to safe drinking water in schools and prevent water-borne disease, 2) Improve school attendance rates and enrollment, and 3) Undertake hygiene education through schoolchildren.
Relying on ECCA’s ability to mobilize and educate communities throughout Nepal, the most vulnerable, typically the rural poor, are able to locally produce safe drinking water. WATASOL – an active chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) – is used for drinking water chlorination or as a disinfectant for use in households, hospitals or community clinics. The average number of recorded deaths due to diarrhea in Nepal are 10,500 per year. Source
Pictured here is the leadership of the ECCA-supported, 110-member strong Nature Club, who initiate small community-based advocacy and education programs through ECCA’s highly-effective program model. These students are trained in the production of the chlorine concentrate (WATASOL) using Antenna Technologies’ Mini-WATA® device. Once produced, 50ml and 200ml refillable bottles will be sold to the student body.
A Mini-WATA® device at work at the Lalit Kalyan Kendra Lower Secondary School. A WATA® device requires water, salt and electricity. When immersed, and connected to a reliable source of electricity, a process of electrolysis takes place, converting the saline solution (sodium chloride) – with 25 grams of salt per litre – into active chlorine (sodium hypochlorite). Source: Antenna Technologies
The President of the Nature Club (Lalit Kalyan Kendra Lower Secondary School) inserts a Mini-WATA® into 1 litre of untreated, clear, salted water. Taking up to 8 hours to transform into an active chlorine, it will have the ability to disinfect 4,000 litres of impure water. The Club produces 10-12 litres of WATASOL a month.
Nepal is ranked among the countries with the poorest health profile in the world. Lack of safe drinking water supply and sanitation facilities have resulted in worsening public health conditions, deteriorating quality of life and increased economic costs. The high incidence of water-related diseases has contributed significantly to low productivity in Nepal.
Worldwide, approximately 442 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illnesses. Millions of women and children spend several hours each day collecting water from distant, often polluted water sources. Source: http://www.water.org
Producing potable water requires an efficient, safe and economical quality control. As part of ECCA’s Nature Club’s training in the production and dissemination of WATASOL and to effectively run all local chlorine-selling businesses, teachers and Club members learn about the World Health Organization’s (WHO) strict standards regarding the concentration of residual chlorine in drinking water.
WATASOL is sold to students through ECCA’s Nature Club at the Lalit Kalyan Kendra Lower Secondary School . A school-supported, student-led social business that cultivates entrepreneurship, environmental conservation awareness and leadership within the school, the community and the home.
Through the efforts of ECCA and its local partners, the production, use and sale of WATASOL is empowering communities in Nepal to control the spread of water- borne diseases and to responsibly manage local resources. Through its partnerships with schools, this results in a significant reduction in missed school days due to preventable illnesses.
Antenna Technologies: WATASOL au Népal Campagne ECCA pour l’eau potable – photographies de Mick Minard, Novembre 2010