Kongressi School Bathroom Project – Albania

This project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.
This is a project under the LET GIRLS LEARN Program, a collaboration of First Lady Michelle Obama and the Peace Corps to expand access to education for adolescent girls around the world!

Lushnje, Albania

Community Description
Lushnje is a city located in central Albania with a population of around 120,000 residents. Well known throughout the country for its amazing produce, Lushnje is a leading agricultural hub for Albania.  Lushnje is currently in the process of reconstructing many parts of the city to help transform it into a more urban area.

Many of the buildings have the architectural style from the Communism period that Albania experienced for 45 years. Now, these buildings are having “facelifts” and are painted bright colors to give a personality to the city. Lushnje is home to many small businesses including family-owned markets, cafes, tailors, cobblers, etc., as well as many big businesses.

Even though Lushnje is a city, there is still the “small town” feeling to it.  Peace Corps Volunteer, Hilary Richardson reported that each day on her walk to work, she would see the same friendly people who always would say hello. It seems no matter where you go in the city, you will always see someone you know, whether it is a neighbor or colleague.

Hilary stated that “What I also love about Lushnje is how alive the city becomes during the hours of 7 pm-10 pm”. This is the time that the residents of Lushnje participate in what is called the gjiro, which is where everyone comes together in the city center and walks up and down the pedestrian boulevard. Hillary said, “It is so much fun to go out and see everyone walking around and chatting. After living here for the past 5 months, Lushnje has become my new home.”

Within the community of Lushnje, there are 17 schools.  There are 5 kindergartens, 8 primaries (nine-year) schools, and 4 high schools. Each school has varying populations ranging from as little as 50 students to over 900 students.

Problem Addressed
The Kongressi School is a nine-year school located in the Kongressi neighborhood in Lushnje. There is a total of 16 bathroom stalls for the students at Kongressi School, many of which are in terrible condition. The infrastructure is very outdated and damaged. The toilets are extremely unsanitary and do not have doors for students’ privacy.  The bathrooms also lack proper handwashing facilities, leading to many students not washing their hands after using the bathrooms.  Because of all of this, many students “hold it” during the school day and lose focus in the classroom and jeopardize their health.

Project Description
This project is to reconstruct 16 toilets and bathroom stalls in the Kongressi School.  Along with the new toilets and stalls, new sinks will be installed in the bathrooms to provide students with proper handwashing facilities.

The work team provided by Bashkia Lushnje, along with the PCV and her counterpart (an engineer) will purchase the materials needed to complete the project. The goal is to do the construction project over a few weeks with completion being done by January 1, 2016.

The individuals completing the work will be from the staff of Bashkia Lushnje, including the local plumber, engineer, and construction workers.

Water Charity funds will be used to purchase materials for the reconstruction project.

Bashkia Lushnje will provide the doors and the use of power tools.

Project Impact
This project will impact approximately 561 people directly, 536 students and 25 staff, as well as visitors and future students.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Hilary Richardson

Monitoring and Maintenance
In order to monitor and maintain the project, a maintenance schedule was created.  PCV Hilary Richardson will check on the facilities once a month throughout her service to make sure that they are being properly used as well as maintained by the school staff.  Hilary also plans to ask the school director to provide her with the grades of students, mainly the female students to see if the grades have improved at all over the course of the introduction of the new toilets.

Computer programs like Excel, Word, and Autocad have been utilized to help assist in the planning process of the project.

Hillary commented:

“When visiting the school during my numerous visits, there were students outside playing football (soccer) and they stopped to come and talk to me. When I began speaking Albanian with them, they were surprised and loved that I could speak with them. We then joked around and took some photos. They all told me how excited they were to have new toilets and thanked me for my work. There have been many ups and downs throughout this planning process, but the simple exchange with the students that I am directly helping made the struggles I have experienced the past few months, worth it. I cannot wait until the project is complete and to see the smiles on their faces.”

Dollar Amount of Project

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed

Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will allow you a posted dedication if that is something you would like.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.