Solar water purification for clean drinking water

The objective of the project was to train the population in three regions of Togo to apply a water purification method called SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection), in order to combat infant mortality by reducing cases of diarrhoea following the consumption of contaminated water. Simple and inexpensive, this method of disinfecting water consists of filling previously washed PET bottles with water and exposing them to the sun for at least six hours.

16,000 families, 1,600 groups and 6,000 pregnant women were trained by qualified instructors, whilst 120 nurses and midwives trained one hundred people each. A total of more than 150,000 people thus received training in the SODIS method. An impact study revealed that families generally integrated the method well, reducing the risk of diarrhoea among children under five by 54%. The lessons given by nurses and birth attendants’ show that young women and young mothers welcomed the method. The project achieved its goals of significantly improving the quality of life of families, and reducing infant mortality in the regions.

SODIS (short for Solar Water Disinfection) is an initiative of Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology. Its mission is to provide people in developing countries with access to clean drinking water.

People trained


Health / Education


June 2010 - December 2012


Kara, Plateaux and Maritime regions / Togo

With whom

Research Institute of Water Science and Technology (Eawag)



7.8 million (2017)

Per Capita Income
USD 610/year (2017)

Poverty rate *
55% (2015)

Literacy rate
64% (2016)

Human Development Index
165th out of 189 countries (2018)

Togo has made considerable progress in addressing its development challenges, though significant institutional and economic challenges remain. Poverty has been reduced, from 62% in 2006 to 55% in 2015, but remains high. The acute malnutrition rate countrywide is 5% and 30% of young children are stunted. There has been progress in universal primary education and the control of HIV/AIDS. Maternal mortality remains high, in particular due to the lack of prenatal visits, a result of low incomes and poor access to health services. Access to clean drinking water is improving, though it remains insufficient. Only 34% of the population uses clean water, due to the lack of infrastructure and unequal distribution of drinking water, despite the country's abundant water resources.

Sources: World Food Program, UNICEF, World Bank, 2016 Human Development Report, Human Development Indices and Indicators (2018 Statistical Update)

*The percentage of the population living below the national poverty line.