By Rotary Service and Engagement Staff
Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are basic necessities for a healthy environment and a productive life.
When people have access to clean water and sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families.
Rotary’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs combine resources, partnerships, and form infrastructure that will help yield long-term change.
Here are specific projects that made long-lasting impacts:
- In Guatemala, Rotary clubs improved school conditions in the town of Escuintla. This project provided toilets, washing stations, water tanks, and training that supported 10 schools with 1,793 pupils. Read more about this project.
- Rotary clubs worked in the village of Kigogo, Tanzania, to establish a water supply and delivery system for over 1,500 people. The community was provided the tools and training to maintain the system and provide hygiene education. Read more about this project.
- Partners and Rotary clubs built 222 toilets, six rainwater collectors, seven communal handwashing stations, and 20 biosand filters. The project was based in the Philippines and provided 1,000 people with access to toilet facilities and almost 600 people with clean water supplies. Read more about this project.
USAID and Rotary have also partnered on WASH projects since 2009. The focus of this partnership is to improve sanitation and hygiene in schools and health facilities, increase community access to safe drinking water, and advocating for government financing of WASH projects. In a recent review of this 10-year partnership, many lessons were learned about coordinating projects:
- Lessons 1 & 2: Don’t Forget the Broader Community and Financial Planning is Crucial
- Lessons 3 & 4: Get Government Support Early and Invest in Changing Hygiene Habits
- Lessons 5 & 6: Make Sure Government Stays Involved and Choose the Technology that Suits the Local Context
- Lessons 7 & 8: Be Prepared to Work Incrementally and Keep Communities Accountable
The lessons learned from the USAID and Rotary partnership led to a realization that sustainability was crucial in order for WASH projects to succeed and provide long-lasting impact in communities. To address these issues, The Rotary magazine published “The Sustainability Challenge”. This article goes in-depth on what worked for water, hygiene, and sanitation projects, what didn’t – and why.
March is Water and Sanitation month, help us support this main Rotary cause. You can get involved in the following ways:
- Join the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Rotary Action Group
- Learn how to plan successful water and sanitation projects
- Access detailed project planning guidance for a club or district WASH project
- See how Rotary and Rotaract clubs are bringing clean water to the world in Rotary Showcase
- Read stories about WASH projects on the Rotary Voices blog and the Service in Action blog
- Read about the WASH in Schools Target Challenge