Solar Water Disinfection: a guide for the application of SODIS

EAWAG/ SANDEC recently published a manual on the use of SODIS (Solar Water Disinfection). This was mentioned in Issue 51 of Footsteps. The SODIS manual is written for field staff who are encouraging the use of this system. It contains useful technical information on SODIS, its advantages and limitations, detailed information on its use and important factors to consider. It is based on over ten years experience of promoting SODIS.

The manual is freely available as a PDF file on their website:

Regula Meierhofer, SANDEC/ EAWAG, PO Box 611, C CH-8600, Duebendorf, Switzerland. E-mail:

Malaria Education CD-ROM

A new version of an educational CD-ROM is available from the Royal Perth Hospital in English, French and Spanish. Copies of this are available free of charge to medical and educational institutions.

The hospital website contains up to date information on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of malaria. However, the CD-ROM should be particularly useful to centres that do not have reliable Internet access.

For the CD-ROM, write to: Graham Icke, Malaria On-Line Project, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia E-mail:

Mwongozo kwa waelimishaji wa elimu ya afya by Dr M Serventi and T Zebroff

A well illustrated booklet on health education, available only in KiSwahili. It contains information on various topics, including hygiene, treatment of ulcers and diarrhoea, nutrition, breastfeeding and preventing malaria. It costs $1 and is available from:

LVIA Coordinator, PO Box 1498, Dodoma, Tanzania

Technical advice 

Not many people are fortunate enough to have expert advice readily available. However, here are a number of organisations which are able to provide useful and practical advice. Please note these are not funding agencies, so please do not waste their time asking for money.


SEPASAL (Survey of Economic Plants for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands) is a database on the uses of more than 6,220 wild plants of tropical drylands, focusing on Africa. SEPASAL has been developed and maintained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with a regional base recently established at the National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi. SEPASAL collects and shares information to help support the sustainable use of tropical drylands. They record scientific and common names, distribution, ecology, uses, chemical analyses, seed sources (where possible) and references. A recent project (African Wild Harvest) is collecting information on the nutrient contents of African wild food plants.

You can contact SEPASAL by e-mail, letter or through their website. When writing, please give as much detail as possible about your work and the types of information you require (for example the type of plants you are interested in, the country, the climate and the environ-mental conditions). Please note that they do not cover major commercial crops or plants that are widely cultivated.

SEPASAL, Centre for Economic Botany, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE, UK. E-mail: Website:

The Honey Bee Network

This network aims to exchange knowledge and ideas in ways that benefit both those who share and those who learn from them. They connect innovators with each other and encourage feedback, communication and networking in local languages. They produce a newsletter full of practical information and in India have local associations using languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Gujurati and Kannada.

Honey Bee Network SRISTI, PO Box 15050, Ambavadi PO, Ahmedabad 380015, Gujarat, India. E-mail: Website: 


ECHO deals with technical requests, generally concerning advice on appropriate crops and trees which could be introduced. They ask that enquiries sent by e-mail contain the full postal address and the name of the organisation with which people are working. Full information about the local climate is very helpful if available. They recommend that you tell them the four most commonly grown crops for the area and the time of year when they are grown and harvested.

ECHO, 17391 Durrance Road, North Ft Myers, FL 33917, USA. E-mail:

Christian Veterinary Mission

This organisation provides a service for small farmers who lack access to a veterinary service, enabling them to consult veterinary specialists about animal health. Aform is available which asks for all the information needed to make a diagnosis. You can also send information by letter or e-mail. As much information as possible should be provided. For example:

  • location and description of farm (landscape, area)
  • climate by season
  • number of sick and healthy animals by age, sex and type
  • whether the sick animals are kept separate and what method is used
  • distance to nearest farm with same species as sick animals
  • animal sanitation and nutrition, worm and insect control practices
  • symptoms (signs of sickness, body temperature, any treatment given). All symptoms should be described, no matter how minor they may seem.

Christian Veterinary Mission, c/o World Concern, Box 33000, Seattle, Washington 98133, USA. E-mail:

Agromisa Foundation

Agromisa was established in 1934, and is linked to Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands. Its aim is to exchange information on small-scale sustainable agriculture and related topics. Its target group is the under-privileged population in rural areas. Agromisa’s main objective is to strengthen self-reliance and to improve livelihoods by sharing experience and knowledge. They believe that the gap between scientific knowledge and farmers’ knowledge should be bridged.

Agromisa’s Resource Information Centre has three sections:

  • The Publication Section is responsible for writing, translating and publishing the Agrodok Series. These practical booklets will also be available on CD-ROM from 2003. The aim is to publish this series more locally so that it is better adapted to local conditions and, if necessary, in local languages.
  • The Advisory Section runs the library and the Question-and-Answer Service. This service works through using people with experience in a network of organisations. It is provided free of charge.
  • The Training Section organises a two-week training workshop on ‘Participation in Development’ in the Netherlands and one-week workshops in other countries.

AGROMISA, PO Box 41, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands. Fax: +31 317 419 178 E-mail: Website: 

Agromisa in action: Salt problems in Orissa, India

Agromisa received an inquiry, through a Dutch NGO, from the disaster area in Orissa. As a result of the severe floods in 1999, the salt content of the soil has become a problem in many parts of Orissa. A project in the area is seeking to help affected farmers by providing planting material (rice) and fertiliser (urea). Agromisa was asked for possible solutions to the salt problems.

Crops vary in their tolerance to salt. Rice and maize are sensitive crops, but sorghum and wheat are much less sensitive to high salt contents. Salt levels in the soil change throughout the year. In the wet season the salt content falls as a consequence of excessive rainfall. In the dry season the salt content increases as groundwater with a high salt content moves up through the soil.

Agromisa advised against planting rice for the first year or two. They also recommended that soils should be well drained. Soils with high salt levels are often acid (low pH value), which means poor uptake of many fertilisers. However, urea is a good choice of fertiliser in these conditions as it does not add more salt to the soil, unlike other fertilisers. After the soil has recovered, it is advisable to use organic fertilisers such as manure and compost, which will help improve soil structure, organic matter content and living organisms in the soil.