An idea for helping people to keep vaccination appointments

I would like to share a little of our experience in the context of our expanded programme on immunization. During the sessions I give my mobile phone number to the mothers, and I suggest that they put my number on their mobile phones under: 'Vaccination' and not under my own name. Each time a woman misses an appointment I send a text message, and that comes up as 'Vaccination' on her mobile phone. Today this system is reducing oversights and encourages people to keep to appointments.

Tongmam Tongmam
President of the Association for Family
Well Being (Association pour le Bien-Etre Familial)
5458 Douala Akwa


Business skills and local culture

Business cooperative training with a women’s group, Indonesia. Photo: Ayo Indonesia Foundation
Business cooperative training with a women’s group, Indonesia. Photo: Ayo Indonesia Foundation

We have been subscribing to Footsteps for three years. Reading the article 'The importance of training and accompaniment' in Footsteps 80, I think it is interesting to know that doing or starting up a business can also mean to change something related to local/traditional perceptions. We also have the same situation here. In many cases small businesses collapse because, among other reasons, people are not disciplined with the principles of business. Here people would prioritise 'urusan adat' [traditional ceremonial practices] (which is of course important), and abandon their business which has actually started to grow well.

In our experiences, women's groups are always performing better. Here is a photograph of a session of UBSP training (Usaha Bersama Simpan Pinjam - business cooperative training) with a women's group.

Tarsis Hurmali
Ayo Indonesia Foundation
Flores Organization for Rural Development
Jl. Ahmad Yani 16
Kotak Pos 149
Ruteng, 86500 Flores, NTT, Indonesia


Rainwater harvesting

I enjoyed the article in Footsteps 82 with new ideas for rainwater harvesting at home but I have a rooftop made from asbestos. Can I harvest rain water and will it be clean enough for drinking without any treatment? And if not what do I need to do? Another challenge I have with rainwater is the slimy feel after storing it for a period of time. Is there some treatment for this?

Favour Edeke
PO Box 7254
Plateau State


Editor's note Asbestos cement roof sheets are suitable for rainwater harvesting, as there is no evidence that asbestos particles are harmful if they are drunk. However, the sheets should be kept wet during cutting so no dust is created. A dust mask and goggles should be worn too. This is because asbestos is harmful when it is breathed in.

The slime is probably a result of algae growing in the water. Ways to reduce the algae:

  • Divert the first rainwater that comes from the roof away from the tank so that the water entering the tank is as clean as possible - leaves, bird droppings etc. are nutrients on which the algae can feed.
  • Add bleach to the water in the tank from time to time. The amount needed depends on the size of the tank and the strength of the bleach (you should be able to smell and taste it just a little bit after an hour or so).
  • Keep the light out of the tank. This is difficult if the tank is plastic, but painting the tank can help. The more light is in the tank, the quicker the algae will grow. A lid should be fitted and the inlet should be screened to stop mosquitoes breeding.
  • Clean the tank regularly. Empty it and scrub the inside with a mild bleach solution (keep the tank well ventilated, with a ladder in, for a quick exit if needed). The best times to clean the tank are just before the new rains start.
  • Filter the water before drinking (see Footsteps 67 for advice on how to make a bio-sand filter).