Conclusion of Pinellopi Pirro School Bathroom and Water Project – Albania

This Let Girls Learn project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Graham Anderson.

To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

Graham reports:

After our successful project at Kopshti #3 in Fier, Pinellopi Pirro was the first school to involve the local mayor and its Bashkia (Town Hall) in its renovation of the school bathrooms. The school was being thoroughly renovated after decades of neglect and unavailability of public funds for these institutions. The focus on renovations in Albania is very much on appearance and what is visible, so the hygiene and sanitation of the bathrooms is often a low priority, or even ignored completely.

Thanks to the Let Girls Learn grant from Water Charity, this placed the bathrooms firmly in the schedule of the total school renovation. Because of the damage to the subfloors and the drains in the bathroom, this became a major piece of reconstruction and, although the target was completed before the school year started, this extra work threatened the success of the bathroom project.

The Bashkia workmen put in the extra effort, however, and were able to repair the infrastructure to allow the installation of 12 new Turkish toilets and 8 new hand basins with running water to all of them. Significantly, attention was paid to the security of the bathrooms and, instead of repairing 8 original wooden doors, a set of recycled aluminum doors were installed alongside the 6 new ones to ensure all the toilet cubicles now have secure, locking doors. This aspect of the project goes right to the heart of Let Girls Learn. Without this security, adolescent girls often avoid using the bathroom or, more likely when they are menstruating, avoid school completely, impacting their education and their future.

To complete the project, the workmen repaired the water deposit in the roof of the building to ensure 24-hour water availability, despite the water company schedule, and flushing toilets 24/7. All that was needed then was to educate the cleaners in how to maintain the bathrooms (proper techniques as opposed to flooding the place with water constantly, destroying the facilities), educate the teachers and children in the proper use of their renovated bathrooms and involve the parents in the commitment of maintaining the bathroom supplies. All of this education was delivered, indeed is ongoing, by the Public Health Department school nurse.

Not only does Pinellopi Pirro now take pride of place in the city’s Pedonale (the city street where everyone comes out for a stroll in the evening) by looking good from the outside, but now it’s bathrooms are clean and working and a safe place for the 900 students to use and not an inhibitor to their education. The influence on siblings and other community members is huge and this legacy should last for generations of Fier children, thanks to funding from Water Charity.

We are grateful to Graham for completing this excellent project.