School Mjede 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 girls around the world!

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

Mjede, Shkoder Region, Albania

Community Description
Mjede is a small village in the newly formed municipality “Bashkia Vau Dejes” in the Shkoder Region of Northern Albania. It has a population of roughly 2,200.  The community is very poor, with the main road running right through town.  Each side of the street is lined with small shops, coffee places, and individual simple businesses.  Many villagers have small farms and grow their own fruits and vegetables for family consumption as well as for sale.  While they are poor, there is a welcoming spirit and a willingness to help others when asked. There is also a lot of pride in being Albanian and living in the North.

School Mjede serves 410 students; half of those are girls and a staff of 35, which includes 33 teachers. The school itself is visually in bad shape with plaster crumbling, broken windows and doors, and the roof is leaking. Both inside and outside the school, it is obvious there are opportunities to improve the daily life of the students and people who work there.  If you ask anyone about the school, they will agree with you that the school needs help to become a more inviting environment in which students can learn and grow.

Problem Addressed
The School Mjede is one of 6 schools within the municipality and has 12 non-functioning bathrooms, some with no water, some with toilets that don’t flush, which are in severe disrepair.  The walls are crumbling, windows into the girls’ bathrooms are broken, and there are no locks on the doors.  The environment is unsafe, and there is little or no water, and many girls “hold it” until school is over. This can lead to health issues of bladder infections and other problems.  Also, if girls or boys leave school to go home or go somewhere else to use a bathroom, they often won’t return to finish their school day.

Safety, hygiene, and an improved learning environment are all being affected by the “catastrophe” conditions (as described by the newly-elected Mayor) in the school.  The Mayor has made the schools and school bathrooms his first and top priority since his election at the end of June.

During the initial walkthrough of the bathrooms with the Mayor’s staff, several students, teachers, and school director, the Mayor talked about the vision for having new bathrooms as part of his plan to improve the school.  He also emphasized the importance of taking care of the new facilities as the beginning of “changing the mindset of the students.”
Project Description
This project is to rebuild the bathroom by replacing 12 toilets, installing door locks, fixing the broken windows in the girl’s section, repairing walls, painting, and providing other improvements. The project is a cooperative effort of the Bashkia (Local Municipality), the school, the Peace Corps, and the Water Charity.

Along with the physical work being done, several older students from the high school (“gjimnaz”) will help with the new hygiene practices.  This will include communicating proper handwashing, why it’s important and what it means to “respect the bathroom facilities.”

All physical labor will be provided through the Bashkia staff and some outside construction support.  This will include the work of the plumber, general contractor, architect and support staff.

Water Charity funds will pay for the plumbing supplies and the toilets (a combination of Western and Turkish toilets).  Door locks will be installed on all stalls, giving privacy and safety to girls and all students.

Because there is so much work to be done, the community contributes greatly exceeds the required 25%. The Bashkia will provide all the labor and will secure additional funds to cover the expenses/materials required beyond the budget.

Project Impact
This project will benefit 450 people.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Sarah Senior

Monitoring and Maintenance
The cleanliness, supplies, and safety will be the responsibility of the school and will require monitoring. The janitors and Director will support and inspect the restrooms.

The overall project intent is to create positive education and focused implementation of new bathrooms, which together will create a healthier and safer environment for learning for girls and all students.  Bashkia Vau Dejes/local municipality is key in planning and execution and will fund over half the project.

This project is part of the LET GIRLS LEARN program sponsored by FLOTUS Michelle Obama.  It is intended to have a positive effect in keeping girls in school after they reach adolescence.  Lack of clean facilities is a leading cause of women dropping out of school. Water Charity is proud to have sponsored the very first LGL project and continues to be a leading contributor to the program, as evidenced by projects like this one.

As an LGL project, this falls under our 100 Water Projects Program – Albania, as well as our larger Let Girls Learn Initiative – Worldwide.

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 of the project, CLICK HERE.


Conclusion of School Mjede Bathroom Project – Albania

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Sarah Senior. To read about the start of the project, CLICK HERE.

The project was designed to rebuild the bathroom at the school.

Sarah reports:

The Mjede Water Project was initiated due to the need to improve safety and hygiene levels in the school bathrooms. The bathrooms were in terrible disrepair, were missing locks, and were not functioning properly.

With support from Water Charity, Peace Corps, the local municipality, and help from a humanitarian group from the US military, we were able to reconstruct the bathrooms in Mjede. The main focus of the project was to allow young female students to have safe access to bathrooms, thus increasing their attendance in school. This was in line with the mission of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative.

After a slow start to the project, some unforeseen construction difficulties, and surprise (but absolutely welcome) assistance from the US military, the bathrooms in Mjede were completed. New sinks were installed, locks were put on the doors, and new toilets replaced the unsightly old ones.

The students and community of Mjede were extremely thankful for the new school bathrooms. The Mjede School Project was a great collaboration between many different organizations with one common goal- to better the lives of students in the area.

We extend our thanks to Sarah for completing this important project.