The story of H4O

Converting optimism into development

The inspiration for H4O, Help for Optimism was born when Edoardo Bono first travelled to Madagascar on a family holiday back in 2011. He was awed by the country’s stunning scenery, biodiversity and smiling faces of the Malagasy people, so Edoardo was drawn to return again and again to Madagascar.

The story of H4O began one day, when he woke up and asked for a bathroom. The local inhabitants that he was staying with pointed him in the direction towards the forest that they used for Open-Defecation. Then, after asking for some water, Edoardo was led by his host to an open dirty pond 30 minutes far to fetch the cloudy water. Shortly after, Edoardo went to brush his teeth and realised that there was no local made toothpaste available anywhere in Madagascar.

After these eye opening events Edoardo perceived that Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) are human rights to which anyone and everyone must be entitled.
This led Edoardo to commit himself to the WASH sector and to set what would become the founding principles and mission of H4O: to identify and overcome local challenges together with the community, adopting a bottom-up and participatory approach to sustainable development.

So it was that in July 2014, ‘H4O, Help for Optimism’ was founded.

2014

  • 10 sanitation facilities have been built in the island of Nosy Komba
  • Dissertation at Politecnico di Torino: “WASH Programme in Antintorona, Madagascar”
  • 5 men have been trained and employed in the building team

2015

  • New fiberglass moulds for a serial production of squat toilets, sinks, bricks and pit panels have been created
  • The TsaraTsiky Toothpaste Laboratory was born in Nosy Komba
  • Dissertation at Università di Torino – Faculty of Pharmacy: “Medicated Toothpaste and Disinfectant Soap production and training in Nosy Komba”
  • 3 women have been trained for the toothpaste and soap production
  • 3 women and 3 men have been employed

2016

  • 3000 units of toothpaste have been produced and disinfectant soaps have been distributed to schools and HCF
  • Dissertation at University of Leeds, MSc WASH Engineering: “WASH Knowledge Attitude and Practices (KAP) survey in Nosy Komba”, “WASH in HealthCare Facilities Assessment, Hopital BE, Nosy Be”
  • Hygiene Promotion campaigns have been implemented for pupils at school and their mothers in Nosy Komba
  • 2 women have been trained for the toothpaste and soap production
  • 3 men and 4 women have been employed

2017

  • 13 sanitation facilities have been built in the island of Nosy Komba
  • Gender separated toilets for schools and Healthcare facility have been built in Nosy Mitsio
  • 5000 units of toothpaste have been produced and disinfectant soaps have been distributed to schools and HCF
  • Hygiene Promotion campaigns have been implemented for pupils at school and their mothers in Nosy Mitsio
  • Dissertation at University of Leeds, MSc WASH Engineering: “WASH and people with disabilities in Nosy Komba, Nosy Mitsio and Antananarivo”
  • Gender separated toilets for schools and Healthcare facility have been built in Nosy Mitsio
  • Semi Automatic defibrillator has been installed at the “Hopital Be”, the main Public Hospital of Hell Ville in Nosy Be. The medical staff has been trained on its use
  • Photovoltaic kit for the healthcare facility and for teachers’ houses have been installed in Ratapenjiky, Nosy Mitsio
  • Hygiene Promotion campaigns have been implemented for pupils at school and their mothers in Nosy Komba
  • 2 men have been trained
  • 4 women and 3 men have been employed

2018

  • 15 sanitation facilities have been built in the island of Nosy Komba
  • A Water Catchment and its entire Supply have been built in Bevaoko, Nosy Mitsio
  • Tsara Tsiky Toothpaste Enterprise has been powered with renewable solar energy
  • 10000 units of toothpaste have been produced and disinfectant soaps have been distributed to schools and HCF
  • Photovoltaic kit for the healthcare facility and for teachers’ houses have been installed in Bevaoko, Nosy Mitsio
  • The whole Healthcare facility of Bevaoko, Nosy Mitsio has been upgraded (washable floor, inpatients and staff beds, furniture and tools)
  • A Volleyball pitch have been built for girls at school to meet together and play sport in Nosy Komba
  • 2 women and 4 men have been trained
  • 6 women and 7 men have been employed

2019

  • 35 sanitation facilities have been built in the island of Nosy Komba
  • Gender separated toilets for schools and Healthcare facility have been built in Nosy Komba
  • 10000 units of toothpaste have been produced and sold Toothpaste and soaps have been distributed to schools and HCFs
  • Hygiene Promotion campaigns have been implemented for pupils at school and their mothers in Nosy Komba
  • A Water Catchment and its entire Supply have been built in Ampanitsoha, Nosy Mitsio
  • The first school 1st 2nd 3rd years has been built in Ampanitsoha, Nosy Mitsio
  • 4 women and 6 men have been trained
  • 9 women and 9 men have been employed

2020

  • Hygiene Promotion campaigns for COVID prevention have been implemented for pupils at school and their mothers in Nosy Komba
  • 15 sanitation facilities have been built in the island of Nosy Komba
  • ENVAO project of the Alta Scuola Politecnica (ASP) has started within a bigger project implemented in partnership with Kukula, an Italian based NGO
  • Dissertation at Politecnico di Torino: “Water supply system for irrigation in a rural village (Madagascar)”
  • The Nutrition Project has started with the aim of improving local dietary diversity and cooking practices
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