During an official cheque-giving ceremony on World Water Day, Merijn Everaarts announced the sum that Dopper is donating to the water projects of Simavi this year. This sum, calculated over the 2015 turnover, is a very large one, with most of the digits before the decimal point: €165,379.92. Harma Smit almost had a fit when she saw the cheque: “What?! That’s an increase of 50% compared to 2014! That’s amazing! What a wonderful result for the residents of Ghorka and Baglung, the areas in which we are operating together.”
Clean drinking water, toilets and better hygiene
Ever since the first Dopper bottles were sold in 2010, we have been working with Simavi and its local partner NEWAH on the ‘clean drinking water, toilets and better hygiene’ programme in Nepal. First in the southern district of Ruphendi, now in the Gorkha and Baglung districts. There is a dire need for such initiatives, because over half of the population of Nepal has no access to clean drinking water, a toilet, or proper hygiene. Each year, 10,000 children under the age of 5 die as a result of diarrhoea and other diseases linked to foul water. In 85% of cases, the lack of clean drinking water and sanitation in Nepal is to blame. Combatting these diseases is a crucial part of the overall fight against poverty. Harma: “Health is a prerequisite for combatting poverty. After all, children can’t go to school and adults can’t go to work and contribute to society if they are not healthy.”
By collaborating with local committees, health professionals, schools and governments, Dopper and Simavi want to make structural changes to the situation in Nepal. This approach has been bearing fruit! Thanks to the installation of 473 water access points and 2674 latrines, 11,889 people have been given better access to clean drinking water, and 19,992 people have been given better access to sanitation. At 9 schools, a total of 2,875 students and teachers have gained access to clean drinking water, toilets and hygiene training. Changes in people’s behaviour have also been achieved. For example, 92% of respondents say they now wash their hands before cooking, as opposed to 11% at the start of the programme. Moreover, 59% of people used to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, as opposed to 100% nowadays.
The sum of €165,379.82 is added to the €268,977 that was donated by the Dopper Foundation between 2010 and 2014. This sum will also be invested in clean water and sanitation projects in Nepal. We are currently looking for new focus areas to start a 3-year programme. “Because,” Harma explains, “to truly make a difference and affect changes in people’s behaviour, we need to work with a minimum period of 3 years.” There is still plenty of work to be done in the world, because around 750 million people worldwide still do not have access to clean drinking water and 760,000 children die every year of diseases linked to foul water.
On behalf of Simavi, NEWAH, the residents of Gorkha and Baglung, and all of us: thank you for – by purchasing a Dopper bottle – making the projects in Nepal possible!