Leap into action on World Water Day

By the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG)  

At this moment, 900 million people in the world do not have access to a source of safe water within 1 km of their home and 2.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. Women in developing countries walk an average of 6 km daily to get water, and carry as much as 20 kg back to their homes.

Without safe water and sanitation, life and livelihood are under threat. Today, World Water Day, is about recommitting to addressing the water crisis that leaves so many people behind. Marginalized groups – women, children, refugees, indigenous people, disabled people and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination as they try to access and manage the safe water they need.

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. Rotary projects can help improve the quality of life for many communities in need. Below are some steps to get started on your water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) project:

  • Start with the community to understand their needs. Prepare a community assessment and develop your project based on those needs.
  • Bring together a community-level Water Users’ or Management Committee that promotes water and hygiene.
  • Engage local stakeholders and experts to identify WASH gaps in the region. Facilitate discussions on the need and appropriate solutions. Involve international partners and NGOs for a broader impact.
  • Develop an implementation strategy. Estimate 10-year costs and calculate cost to sustain the services you’ll be providing.
  • Monitor and evaluate your project using your findings to improve the project as it grows. Record lessons learned for your reference as well as share them with other members who are taking on similar initiatives.

Not sure what types of projects you can implement? Here are some project ideas:

  • Implement rainwater harvesting
  • Build toilets and sanitation systems
  • Dig wells, build dams or recharge an aquifer to help give communities access to a water source
  • Build local capacity and change behaviors through trainings and workshops
  • Set up factories to build slow-sand filters that help purify water
  • Creating opportunities for entrepreneurs in the WASH supply chain

Remember to supplement your project with hygiene management training that will build healthy practices, like proper hand-washing.

How can WASRAG support your project? We can help you:

  • Plan the right project for your club
  • Conduct a community needs assessment
  • Find Rotary partners, NGOs and corporate support
  • Choose the appropriate technology for your project
  • Leverage funds from The Rotary Foundation and other sources
  • Access expertise for all phases of the project
  • Promote your project around the world
  • Facilitate collaboration between clubs and districts

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In celebration of World Water Day 2019, we encourage Rotary members to implement a project that improves the quality of water and/or level of awareness in their community. Educate your community on the importance of protecting its water sources! Whenever possible, please consult with your local water or conservation authority to ensure that your efforts are compatible with conditions in your area. 

We will be promoting select projects in our newsletter, website, and on social media. And, we are offering two $500 USD prizes for the most impactful and innovative projects. Email a brief description of your project to: info@wasrag.org. Include what you are doing, the target audience, the impact of the project, and photos from the project. Take action and join our World Water Day Challenge!  Deadline for submission: 1 May, 2019.

Are you attending the 2019 Rotary International Convention? Come early and join us for WASRAG’s Annual World Water Summit!  WWS-11- will focus on achieving lasting impact. Learn more and register today.

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