By Chandra Palmer, Rotary International Area of Focus Coordinator
Throughout the developing world, access to clean water and sanitation is far from common. Rotarians work with cooperating organizations to create lasting, positive change through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives.
Since 2009, Rotary International has been partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on an International H2O Collaboration in targeted countries to help both organizations take advantage of their unique strengths to improve social and economic conditions in developing countries. For Rotary, this partnership is an opportunity to tap into our global network to support projects that provide access to clean water and improved sanitation. For USAID, it’s a chance to advance the Water and Development Strategy Plan by giving Rotary members and their partners the technical support needed to design and carry out WASH initiatives.
By promoting local solutions to address community needs, the collaboration is creating a process that can be replicated in communities worldwide. In 2015 the collaboration initiated activities in two project countries: Uganda and Ghana. Between 2015 and 2018, the collaboration has committed $4 million to each country to support WASH initiatives.
Here are a few examples of the collaboration in action:
- In March 2016, it was announced Ugandan Rotarians will begin planning activities with USAID Mission-Uganda. It is anticipated a strategic planning session for Uganda will be held in the summer of 2016.
- In April 2015, Ghanaian Rotarians, Global Communities (USAID’s implementing partner) and USAID Mission-Ghana began discussions with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (the government agency in charge of rural water and sanitation in Ghana). 13 districts in Ghana have been selected and approximately 130 communities have been earmarked for WASH service interventions. Project implementation is anticipated to start in May 2016.
- Between 2009 and 2013, the Rotary Club of Accra East in Ghana, with support from clubs in the U.S., worked with the collaboration to provide WASH services to more than 100 rural communities. WASH projects included constructing ventilated pit latrines and pour-flush or flush toilets, and providing hygiene education.
- Rotary clubs in the Dominican Republic worked with Save the Children, ENTRENA, and Mujeres en Desarrollo Dominicana to install more than 6,700 household water treatment and safe storage systems, along with other WASH activities. ENTRENA also developed an education program to train community facilitators how to install, operate, and maintain filters and to promote hygiene. In turn, the facilitators shared their knowledge in their communities to ensure ongoing support of WASH initiatives.
- In the Philippines, nearly 11 million people lack access to improved sanitation, and an additional 60 million people rely on sanitation systems that are poorly maintained and unsafe. Rotary clubs throughout the Philippines and other nongovernmental agencies supported hygiene training, rural water supply, wastewater treatment and management activities at five sites in Luzon and Mindanao.
Even if your club or district isn’t in a project country, you can still support a project as an international sponsor. International sponsors work with a host club or district in areas where the collaboration is supporting projects. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.