Conclusion of Amporoforo Clinic Shower Facility – Madagascar

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

The project was designed to build a shower facility to serve the clinic.

Margarita reports:

The primary goal of building a clinic shower in Amporoforo, Madagascar was to provide local mothers a hygienic place with running water to shower after giving birth. Secondly, ill and/or wounded community members seeking medical treatment with the doctor would also have a space to clean themselves.

My project coincided with a UNICEF water project organized by the Ministry of Water in Farafangana in which, “Water points will be constructed to pump water to a tank through solar energy or gravidity fed systems. From this tank, water will be piped into the main village, school, health center and the surrounding villages. The water points are managed by a local private operator to assure sustainability. Water will be available through water kiosks systems, where beneficiaries pay a very low fee but have continued access to safe water.” As stated on the UNICEF website:

Following the Ministry of Water project plan, the Amporoforo shower was completed December 2016. I did not observe the number of people benefiting from the shower because the water system inauguration took place April 2017, right before my return to the United States. One main activity I organized with the Mid-wife and community service workers working in the clinic was to introduce the concept of using a showerhead. Women who attended their prenatal consultation were able to hold and press a showerhead. The community service worker and I explained how the shower worked. We reached an estimated 30 mothers each week from November to December 2017.

Additionally, together with the Health representatives from the Ministry of Water, we completed hand washing art activities at 3 elementary schools in our commune. The first was a handwashing with soap and clean water mural, second a coloring sheet activity of the key times to wash hands, finally a hand painting activity with preschool children to practice washing their hands. The activities reached a total of approximately 120 students. I assisted organizing a training for the Community Service Workers with the Ministry of Water representative and Amporoforo Doctor about why people need to clean their water, handwashing with soap and clean water, building latrines, and the importance of using latrines.

Project Activities
Funding was received for the project July 2016. I arranged for the Mason Mr. Bernardin and engineer Mr. Grob to meet. Mr. Bernardin worked on previous water projects and told me he has knowledge in construction. I confirmed he would be the mason for the project. Mr. Grob, who is building an orphanage, helped me design the shower. At this point we discussed tasks and responsibilities, then we signed a contract.

Work on the project began immediately. Mr. Bernardin recruited community members to help him setting the elevation blocks and the foundation of the shower down. After that, it took 3 weeks for the house to be built. The roof was the last to be put up.

During the construction, community members visiting the hospital would inquire what was being built. I explained the purpose of the shower and told people that it was also available to people seeking medical attention, to clean their wounds before seeing the doctor.

There was extra funding after the shower house was completed. The doctor, Mr. Grob and I decided we could add 3 handwashing stations. I purchased 3 faucets and extra piping to installed washing stations in the following locations: 1 inside the clinic; 1 outside the clinic; and 1 next to the latrines.

Due to time constraints, the clinic shower was inaugurated December 2016. There were an estimated 150 people at the shower celebration. Community members mentioned their excitement that the shower is for everyone, especially pregnant mothers, and is not just for a certain group of people. This marked the first time many community members saw running water coming out of a showerhead.

My personal achievement was seeing the faucet outside the clinic area. I believe if people have easier access to water they are more likely to wash their hands. The shower and faucets were completed in November, 2016 but could not be used because the water system was not completed at that time. The solar panel and solar pump were installed mid-November for the water system. From December to January water system tests were completed and corrections were made as needed.

Sustainability and Future Plans
To encourage Community Service Workers to continue promoting hand washing with soap and water, they were given t-shirts promoting hand washing at key times. These T-shirts were also distributed to the Amporoforo soccer team and other community members who helped dig ditches for the water pipes.

Mr. Bernardin and Mr. Grob are both residents of Amporoforo. They will be in charge of maintenance of the water pipes and troubleshoot any problems. Two sets of shower heads and hoses, and 3 extra faucets were purchased to have in storage if needed in the future.

Lesson Learned
Finalizing this project was a proud moment in my service. I was able to assist building the shower. I learned to lead and motivate people to complete a task in a timely manner. I did not have a computer to keep my budget.

I communicated with my community members how to use the showerhead. The concept was difficult to explain and difficult to understand. Once they saw a demonstration of the water running from the showerhead at the shower inauguration, community members were excited to use it. I am confident that Doctor and Midwife will educate mothers to use the shower. I also hope that easier access to running water people will increase the times they hand wash.

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