The Earth Council Geneva has been in partnership with International Medical Corps (IMC) of Los Angeles since April 2009. Our 9 e-learning courses developed by ECG, which yielded thousands of students in over 80 countries, was then “substituted” by Al Gore, Google etc. and we decided to concentrate our efforts on projects with more tangible results. The decision to focus on “fresh water for children in underdeveloped countries” was embraced both by our Board at a Geneva meeting, as well as by our partner IMC. ECG would help to develop projects and provide financing, while IMC would implement projects in the countries we mutually selected.
After assisting IMC in their efforts to eliminate the Ebola Virus, to bring water to Syrian Refugee Camps and to help Philippine-victims during the first years of our partnership, we worked out a project in 2012 to bring fresh water to schools in Ethiopia, where water is scarce and often contaminated. Since then this endeavor, in a collaborative approach, has been implemented in well-defined steps and resulted in very satisfactory results. We have also been fortunate to enlist the help of both Dow/Dupont as well as IBM Corporation.
The work is in progress, the results are amazing. Here is how it works:
For defined areas in the countryside of Ethiopia - together with the Ethiopian government, cement slabs to set up toilets are produced. (First toilets in those areas!) The sanitary issues are addressed with training, training training and education of the hygiene issues.
Drilling holes for water in schools. Children walk 10 to 20 hours to schools - carrying 20-30 kg containers with water. Clean water at the school allows much more time for education. Again, training and education is key. Indeed, most schools now have “wash clubs”,
with older kids educating the young ones (and their parents) as to when and how to wash their hands and how to use water.
Schools on nutrition for children, once breastfeeding ends. Classes for women shows them how to better use their vegetables, with fresh water, and how to incorporate nuts and fruits to increase balanced nutrition. (And not only small kids love that ’new' food!)
It is all built to ensure sustainability - through training the trainers, explanation and education.
The cycle of the programs relating to the project are extremely well thought-out and executed: a) Toilets to curb unsanitary conditions, b) access to, and understanding of clean water, and consequently c) healthy food preparation in a clean environment.
Local people are trained to teach principles throughout communities to ensure SUSTAINABILITY.
One of the modest hospitals in this area 10 years ago had over 500 in and out patients during this time of the year. At this time they afd down to 25 patients! The death rate through hygiene is falling dramatically.
The Earth Council Geneva is making a difference - albeit small - in the context of humanity. But many many villages are following these programs and enjoy a huge change in their lives.
We are proud to be a partner of the International Medical Corps.