By PDG Chit Lijauco, District 3820; Member of the Presidential Conference on WASH organizing committee
It’s interesting to watch how the same problem can manifest itself in different ways. Take water, for instance. As I visited different club projects when I was a district governor of District 3820, Philippines, I observed that water was a concern all over my vast district composed of urban and rural areas, mountains and islands. In urban areas, the problem was not so much water supply as its potability, cleanliness and sanitation. Within rural communities, water supply becomes more and more critical. In both situations, the health of the local community is compromised.
We have many examples of clubs addressing water, sanitation, and hygiene issues throughout our district. The town of Candelaria is mountainous, with many small communities scattered in the highlands. With an increase in population and the natural supply of water like rivers and mountain springs beginning to disappear, water supply became a serious problem.
In 2006, the Rotary Club of Candelaria organized a project to supply one mountain community with water using a tank and piping system. After completing the project through the help of a Matching Grant*, the club applied for more grants. The club has already supplied 10 communities with their respective water supply systems. (*Matching Grants have since been phased out; learn more about Foundation grants at www.rotary.org/grants). To add sustainability components, the Rotary Club of Candelaria has sponsored a Rotary Community Corps (RCC) in each community to administer the project. The RCC collects a minimal water supply fee from every household not only to maintain the system but to fund other community projects as well, like scholarships for deserving students.
With initial financial support from Rotary and through the constant guidance and monitoring from the Rotary Club of Candelaria, 10 communities each with a school or a day care centre, now have a continuous supply of clean water, can fund their children’s education, and have the necessary financial support to address other problems in the community or start new endeavours.
Unfortunately many towns are not as lucky as Candelaria. In many communities, water is unsanitary or unavailable. As such, water-borne diseases constantly threaten the lives of people, particularly children.
To learn how to tackle these problems from fellow Rotarians and local and international Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) experts, join us at the 2016 Rotary Presidential Conference on WASH and WASH in Schools in Manila, Philippines, on 18-19 March.
The conference will bring together Rotary members and representatives from the public and private sector to explore Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene needs both locally and internationally. The event will include a project fair highlighting Rotary projects in the WASH sector and will feature engaging speakers, informative plenary sessions, and hands-on workshops. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with fellow leaders and take away new ideas and strategies to put into action. Register today.