Around 663 million people around the world still do not have access to clean drinking water. The consumption of contaminated water is regarded as the main cause of common diarrhea-related illnesses which can be dangerous or even fatal, especially for children under five. Every year, around 500,000 children – more than 1,400 every day – die as a result of such illnesses. The lack of clean drinking water is a problem in many regions of Kenya, too. Through its "Safe Water Enterprises" program, Siemens Stiftung is therefore working on a long-term approach for providing clean drinking water through water kiosks in remote areas.
However, access to clean water is only one important factor when it comes to improving health. In many cases, the population is not sufficiently aware of the links between consuming clean drinking water, maintaining high standards of hygiene and their own health. Water and hygiene-related illnesses could be reduced considerably if the causes, links, and possible preventative measures were better explained to people. We have therefore developed the practical "Safe water, better health!" Hygiene Promotion which is successfully used in the communities around the "Safe Water Enterprises".
Experiment set – the heart of the training
The heart of the training is an experiment set which uses simple experiments to answer a range of questions like “What influence does contaminated water have on our health?”, “How does water become polluted?”, “How can drinking water be produced from dirty water?” By experimenting and witnessing the effects, the people taking part can better understand the principles and links. This successful teaching and learning method is based on our "Experimento" education program.
Influential figures as target group
In order to ensure that knowledge is shared quickly and good hygiene can become an established part of local life, the training is aimed at the influential figures found in every community acting as multipliers. These include, in particular, community health workers who generally have good access to households and look after expectant mothers, mothers with young children or the sick. Teachers and schoolchildren are often good "change agents" too. We offer them relevant information regarding water, hygiene, and health which can be used flexibly as part of the curriculum. Other target groups are the local authorities as well as local traders who transport water or sell it to members of the community.