Conclusion of Kopsht #3 Kindergarten Toilet & Water Project – Albania
This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteers Graham and Teresa Anderson.
To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.
In the city of Fier, in Albania, the local municipality is responsible for the maintenance of public buildings, specifically schools. The state of Fier’s finances, like those of all municipalities in Albania, is such that they barely have revenues for basic community necessities (garbage collection, street lighting, etc.) and so maintenance on schools has long been deferred.
The condition of the toilets in Fier schools is very poor and unhygienic but there is no money to fix the problem. One school, a kindergarten called Kopshti #3 has a group of concerned parents and a school
director who wanted to fix this. They convinced a community-spirited plumber, Fredi Topi, to donate his labor for free while we used the PCPP process to secure funding from Water Charity to provide the materials.
All of this came together over a 3-day weekend in May, 2015 when 9 toilets, 8 wash basins and 4 hot water systems were installed at the school.
The main goal was to install four hot water systems, connect these with the cold water systems and provide hot and cold water to 8 existing hand basins in the toilets. Additionally, all of the toilet stalls needed running water and a cistern to flush the toilet. All of this was accomplished through the project.
As the work progressed, the school director identified that some of the hand basins would benefit from a shower attachment to the mixer taps (for the “hosing down” of young children after “accidents”) and this adjustment was made. The director further called upon the good nature of the plumber to fix water damage to the bottom of the toilet doors and some broken tiles on the floor as part of his community contribution.
Capacity and Skills Built
After the plumbing work was completed, we trained all of the children at the school about washing hands and hygiene. We now have a school full of children who know how to use a bathroom correctly and this school is a role model for all schools in Fier to follow.
It is hoped that the local municipality will work together with Peace Corps to replicate this project in other schools. They have skilled professionals on staff, they just need to be assigned to the remaining schools in Fier for their toilets to be fixed.
Kopshti #3 is fixed and the parents are committed to providing their contribution of toilet supplies. This will continue into the future. Additionally, the role model that Kopshti #3 provides for the city of Fier gives us every chance of making a difference to all the schools in Fier. A long-term partnership with Water Charity will also open this opportunity up to every community in Albania.
Unexpected events and recommendations
We expected that Fredi Topi had all the expertise he needed to do his work.
It turned out that some electrical work needed to be done in parallel for the installation of the hot water heaters. We were able to engage the municipality professionals to provide skilled electricians and minimal electrical supplies to complement the plumbing work and add to the community contribution of the project.
Clearly, you cannot assume you have all the skills and materials lined up and need to have a fallback plan if, for example, you need an electrician when you didn’t plan for it. Similarly, when you have a committed and involved school director who is on-site during the work, expect them to make running modifications to the plan as they learn what is possible from the professionals.
Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association would like to thank the Andersons once again for executing such a fine project. This is an example of a “Let Girls Learn” project before the LGL program came online.