Conclusion of 31 Korrik 9 Vjecare School Bathroom and Water Project – Albania

Conclusion of 31 Korrik 9 Vjecare School Bathroom and Water Project – Albania

Conclusion of 31 Korrik 9 Vjecare School Bathroom and Water Project – Albania

This project has been completed under the direction of Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Barbara Richardson, as part of our 100 Water Projects Program – Albania, as well as our larger Let Girls Learn Initiative – Worldwide.

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

Barbara reports:

In September 2015 we, Bashkia Mat and I received funding from Water Charity through the PCPP grant program. The goal was to provide functioning bathrooms for the children, teachers, and visitors of the school.

The project consisted of 6 bathrooms, each with 3 toilets. The goal was to provide water to each toilet and sinks in the bathrooms and included toilet water tanks, three faucets for each sink, doors for the bathrooms and the toilet stalls, windows, water tank, water meter, and materials to make all the connections.

The project was completed in early March 2015.

Following the completion of the bathrooms, I held a session with the 4th-grade class to discuss how they can keep the bathrooms clean and functioning and the proper way to wash their hands after each toilet use.

The children are loving their new bathrooms!

Thank you, Water Charity and Peace Corps for funding this much-needed project.

We, in turn, express our gratitude toward Barbara for completing this important project.

We are still accepting donations for this project.

         

Kongressi School Bathroom Project – Albania

Kongressi School Bathroom Project – Albania

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!

Location
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.

Comments
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
$1,800

Donations Collected to Date
$0

Dollar Amount Needed
$1,800

ADOPT THIS PROJECT BY CONTRIBUTING THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE PROJECT.
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.

Conclusion of Kongressi School Bathroom Project – Albania

Conclusion of Kongressi School Bathroom Project – Albania

Conclusion of Kongressi School Bathroom Project – Albania

This project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Hilary Richardson. It was a part of the official Let Girls Learn program, a collaboration between the Office of the First Lady and the Peace Corps, to expand access to education for adolescent girls around the world. Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association were the first supporters of this program, and continue to be among the largest. It was also a part of our 100 Water Projects Program – Albania.

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

A summary of Hilary’s report is as follows:

The overall scope of the project was to reconstruct a bathroom in a local primary school, as well as promote healthy practices of handwashing to students at the school. Along with these efforts, the project was also used to promote young girls to stay in school when they experience their monthly cycles. The project was also used as an avenue to build trust between the school and local municipal government.

The project was a renovation and reconstruction project. The workers replaced the existing poor infrastructure including: toilets, sinks, flushing mechanisms, and flooring, as well as installed a new water pump for the bathroom. The completion of the project took about 3 months from the receiving of the funds to the handwashing seminar.

Many parents of students at the school were extremely happy that something was being done about the bathrooms. I received many thank yous and well wishes in Albanian, and even had some parents thank me in English. Also, images of the project were shared on various media outlets, including a local radio station with a quote that translates to the following: “Very beautiful work and investments have been made and are being made in Lushnje, but what we see in the picture, is a very good investment, for not just looks but for parents, and improved health and conditions for the place where we educate their children and watch them grow.”

We are grateful to Hilary for completing this excellent project.

   

Naim Frashëri 9-vjeçare Bathroom Project – Albania

Naim Frashëri 9-vjeçare Bathroom Project – Albania

Naim Frashëri 9-vjeçare 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!

Location
Naim Frashëri Elementary School, Elbasan, Albania

Community Description
Centrally located, Elbasan is Albania’s third-largest city with roughly a quarter of the population living in the capital city, Tirana.  Elbasan is home to 17 kopsht or kindergartens, 16 9-vjeçare or elementary/middle schools, and 12 gjmnaz or high schools.  Elbasan is a diverse community, home to Albanians, Greeks, Turks, Americans, and Italians.  Elbasan is essentially equally divided by gender, and ethnically the population is predominately Albanian (85%), with a little less than 1% identifying as Roma, Vlach, and Egyptian.

The Naim Frashëri, the oldest 9-vjeçare (elementary school) and the first school in Elbasan, established in 1908 is the site for this project.  It is home to a diverse 808 students from all walks of Albanian life. The school is comprised of boys and girls, with roughly half the students coming from poor and disadvantaged families.  Three students are from Roma and 15 from Egyptian families, historically populations that are economically disadvantaged and underserved.   In addition, fifty percent of the students live far from the school in villages that make leaving school to use the bathroom an impossibility.

Problem Addressed
Statistically, as is common in Albania and around the world, there are more males enrolled in this school than females, but only by a small margin.  This is exacerbated by the poor sanitary conditions at the school.  Both bathrooms are in disrepair, with few having a fully functional door (i.e., either the top or bottom half is missing), and none have a lock.  Not having doors, much less locking doors, is a real deterrent to both boys and girls alike to use the facilities, but more so for the girls who use this as a reason to leave.  None of the Turkish-style toilets work, the main sewage drain is constantly backing up, half the faucets do not work, the lighting is very poor, if functioning, and there is no glass in the girls’ bathroom window, so that during the winter the bathroom is the same temperature as the outside, in addition to rain coming in.  Half the sinks drain onto the floor, leaving the bathroom floors constantly wet and moldy.  Due to the sewage line problem, the first floor often smells of sewage.

The Peace Corps volunteer has met with all classes in the school, during morning and afternoon sessions, first through ninth grades, to introduce the students to the idea of the project.  She is working on building community, school, parent and student support.  A flyer was created for the students to take home.  Signs were posted in the school and information is being posted on the school’s Facebook page to educate the school about this project.

Project Description

This project is to rebuild two bathrooms at the school.

The plan is to replace all twelve bathroom stall doors with steel doors (a solidly constructed material which will withstand much use), install locking mechanisms on the inside of each new door, and replace all twelve of the current cistern toilet mechanisms with a simpler design (basically a large pipe with a flushing mechanism that allows water to go directly to the Turkish toilet to flush waste versus having a cistern which collects water and then releases water to flush).  This version will last longer and require less water to use.  The one missing sink and all six facets, most of which are broken or difficult to turn on and off will be replaced.  A light fixture will be installed in both bathrooms (the new fixtures will be energy efficient and the light output will be significantly brighter than the bulb that is currently functioning as the sole light source in each bathroom).  Glass will be installed in the girls’ bathroom window leading to the outside, and the second water deposit that is currently not connected will be connected, thereby providing double the water to the bathrooms.

The plan was created together with the President of the Parent Organization for the school. There is a community volunteer who is consulting on the project, an expert in the field of plumbing, electrical and metalwork. He is giving his time to help determine what must be done and how to do the work.  He is also helping with the implementation.

90% of the labor has been secured as in-kind donations for all of the needs for this project.  The only labor that must be paid for is the labor needed to make and install the steel doors.  There are several labor sources.  The consultant will complete most of the plumbing labor plus install the new light fixtures; another volunteer will install the glass in the girl’s bathroom.  The ninth-grade class volunteered to paint both boys’ and girls’ bathrooms.

In addition, the Bashkia (Mayoral office) is partnering to clear out the sewage line.  They will “roto-rooter” both main lines going through the boy’s and girls’ bathrooms, all the way to the mainline.  This is an expensive endeavor, one that they are fully contributing to the project.  There are no materials needed for this, only the labor (all donated). At the end of the renovation, there will be a school-wide activity to introduce the school population to the improved bathrooms, in addition to offering hand washing and healthy lifestyle lessons and activities.

Family involvement and financial support were requested to help with the project.  The families were asked to donate time, and small amounts of money, in addition to supplies for the bathrooms (hand soap, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, trash cans, and brooms).  The little children in classes first through third have been the most encouraging and excited for the project. When asked what the children thought of the current state of the bathrooms, overwhelmingly they responded that the bathrooms were “bad, dirty, broken, and not safe.”  On the day that we stated that we would return for their donations, each class collected the items the students brought from home.  Each class made a donation, from hand soaps to bottles of cleaning supplies to money.  The children were really proud to be an active part of the project.  Impressively, the school brought in about $100 in bathroom supplies and $80 in monetary support.  This is a lot coming from families who have very little.  Many cleaning supplies have been collected, in addition to hand soap for the bathrooms.  The school has promised that they will keep these supplies safe and keep the bathrooms clean and stocked.

It will take two weeks for the doors to be made and installed.  The doors are being made and installed by a local steel construction company.  During this time, the other necessary equipment and additional supplies will be purchased, all from local small businesses in Elbasan.  When the doors are ready to be installed, the glass; toilet flushing mechanisms, sinks, faucets, and lighting will be installed, and the students will paint.  The project will be finished with the installation of the doors.

Water Charity funding will specifically pay for materials: steel doors, toilet flushing mechanisms, locks for the doors, light fixtures, and paint, as well as the labor, to install the doors.  The funds collected from the community will purchase the one sink needed, glass for the girls’ bathroom, faucets and drainpipes for the sinks.  Labor has been secured for clean-up, and the Bashkia will clean out the sewage line.

Project Impact
There are 850 students, teachers, and school personnel who will be directly impacted.  This project will also impact visitors and future students.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Laurel Duncan

Monitoring and Maintenance
Laurel Duncan and the Parent Organization President will be overseeing the implementation of the project from beginning to end.  They have met with all the students prior to submitting this proposal to find out what they thought and what they needed.  Once the project is complete, the PCV will survey the students again to find out what they think about the completed project.  The school has promised to oversee the renovated bathrooms and keep them clean and maintained.  The Parent Organization is also committed to helping oversee the upkeep of the bathrooms.

Comments
This project particularly benefits the girls in the school.  Because half the students come from villages outside Elbasan, girls are likely not to come to school on days that they have their period or other issues that might require many trips to the bathroom.  The current state of the bathroom keeps girls from using the bathroom at school.  There is no privacy, due to the broken doors, in addition to any way to feel safe in the bathroom, due to the lack of locking doors.  In addition, this project will offer activities after the project is complete to talk about bathroom hygiene and healthy bathroom habits to keep the students healthy.

This project is part of the LET GIRLS LEARN program sponsored by FLOTUS Michelle Obama.  It is intended to have a positive effect on 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 the 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.

With the installation of doors, locks, and properly flushing toilets, the students, specifically the girls, will have a sense of security needed to know that they can go to school any day and have the facilities needed to complete their school day without worrying about needing to return home.

The PCV reports that Elbasan has been a wonderful site for her third year of service in Albania.  “I have found much support and receptiveness to working and helping my new community.  There are many projects to be done, but this is one in which I felt the most pull to fulfill a secondary project.  This project was brought to me and I was asked to help Albanian colleagues versus trying to find someone to create this project.  The school has been extremely receptive and encouraging, and I could not have asked for a better group of people with whom to collaborate.  Between my colleague and myself, we have managed to bring together many people to help with this project who would not have worked together, yet we have been able to garner much enthusiasm for the school. Elbasan established the first school for teachers for all of Albania in 1903.  The city has a rich history of scholastic excellence.  Yet, the schools are allowed to fall into disrepair: buildings, schoolyards, classrooms, and bathrooms alike are calling for intervention.  But bathroom facilities are one issue that stands out as an important issue in regards to keeping students in school and concentrated on their schoolwork yet gets little attention and much less funding to fix than other areas.”

Dollar Amount of Project
$2,044.44

Donations Collected to Date
$0

Dollar Amount Needed
$2,044.44

ADOPT THIS PROJECT BY CONTRIBUTING THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE PROJECT.
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.

 

Conclusion of Naim Frashëri 9-vjeçare Bathroom Project – Albania

Conclusion of Naim Frashëri 9-vjeçare Bathroom Project – Albania

Conclusion of Naim Frashëri 9-vjeçare Bathroom Project – Albania

This Let Girls Learn project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Laurel Duncan. To read about the beginning of the project, CLICK HERE.

Laurel reports:

The goal of this project was to repair all the bathrooms in one Elbasan elementary school so that the bathrooms were safe, private and clean for the students, in particular so that the girls felt safe and had equal access as the boys. We proposed two objectives: 1) To make the bathrooms better by repairing and replacing sinks and faucets, replacing the flushing mechanisms, and replacing the doors; and 2) To clean out the sewage lines so that the toilets did not back up, nor the school smelled of sewage.

And, over the course of 7 full working days, we accomplished just that. There were some roadblocks along the way, and our timeline did not happen the way that we initially planned it. While we hoped to complete the work in January or February, the work was begun the last weekend of April. We also learned, as we were about to start, that the sewer problem that we had been told was the reason for the smell throughout the first floor, was not the whole problem. In fact, the problem stemmed mainly from the Turkish toilets in the boy’s bathroom not being plumbed correctly. Waste did not go anywhere. It just sat in the u-shaped pipe just below the porcelain toilet.

As luck would have it, the flushing mechanism that we had planned to purchase and which we believed would be less likely to break, was no longer available by the time the grant was approved and we received the funds to begin purchasing supplies. So, we decided to fix the pipe problem by removing the boy’s six Turkish toilets, and installing new pipes and Turkish toilets after laying intermediary lines to the main sewer line. In addition, we cleaned out the main sewer line, which was blocked from the building to the main road. All of these changes cost less than the originally priced flushing mechanisms and allowed us to complete the work under budget, but far over the man hours that we initially anticipated.

We also placed two light fixtures (versus one) per bathroom as we decided that more light was better for the stalls and children’s comfort and safety. The lights had decreased in price, so the overall price for 4 units versus 2 was not substantial. We had saved in other areas (due to decreased prices and unexpected donations), so we felt it was okay. Both bathrooms were painted, walls and ceilings. And, the students contributed by painting different murals on the outside of the boy’s and girl’s bathrooms. Initially getting them interested was a challenge, but once the painting began, a lot of students (and, a few teachers) wanted to help.

We replaced all the faucets and fixed all leaky pipe issues within our scope (there are still a few more major issues that we have reported to the school director. She needs to get the Bashkia and water company to take care of these two problems). All the drainpipes were replaced, and all the bathroom stall doors were replaced. We used steel doors instead of the typically used aluminum. Steel is not only stronger, therefore will last longer, but the cost per door was significantly cheaper. As it turned out, the owner of the steel company is the father of two children who attend the school, so he donated one of the 14 doors as a community contribution in addition to two other small steel-related items we needed.

We had some challenges with the Bashkia workers, who did not really want to do the hard labor required for the job. This, in turn, required myself and our community contractor to do more work than anticipated, but the job was done and we feel that the job was done well.

The Department of Public Health’s contribution were hygiene and puberty lessons with every class from kindergarten to 9th grade. For the older students the nurses focused on puberty issues, and for the younger, hand washing and personal hygiene.

Our last activity was a panair (health fair), and because the school in total has 800 students we conducted mini health fairs throughout the day seeing two classes at a time. The health fair consisted of watching the UNICEF Global Hand Washing video, then breaking into small groups (10-15 students) for a hand-washing lesson using glitter to illustrate germs and best-practices for getting germ-free hands (towel only, water only, or soap). The students really enjoyed the activity and by the end, the students proudly showed their “PA MIKROBE!” hands (without germs!). The last thing was teaching them the Peace Corp Niger Hand Washing song, which we had translated into Shqip. Everyone came together to sing the song, and then make a promise to keep the bathrooms clean, to protect them and take care with them. The health fair was really a highlight of the whole project. The school has taken part since the beginning when my counterpart and I visited every class asking them what they thought of the bathrooms and what could be done. They all invested in the project by donating soaps, toilet paper, cleaning products and small amounts of money. They had seen myself and the contractor coming time and again to meet with the director and various other workers, as well as working on the bathrooms, to the finish when they painted the murals. It was a beautiful end to a very long process.

Comments from the Community:

  • Jemi te kenaqur nga rregullimi i tualeteve te shkolles, femijet tane e kane shprehur kete gje me kenaqesi. (We are happy with the renovated school bathrooms: the children of the schools have expressed this.)
  • Eshte bere nje ambjent i kendshem, ka uje te rrjedhshem dhe te vazhdueshem. (This is a nice environment, with constant, running water.)
  • Ka xhama dhe nuk eshte ftohte ne dimer. (There is glass [in the girl’s bathroom, so now] it won’t be cold in the winter.)

We are grateful to Laurel for completing this excellent project.

   

Tchore Borehole Project – Togo

Tchore Borehole Project – Togo

Tchore Borehole Project – Togo

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Location
Tchore Center, Canton of Tchore, Kara Region, Togo

Community Description
This community received its political autonomy in 2012. The village is the seat of the regional chief, and all disputes or social affairs take place in his courtyard. There is a small clinic that provides first-aid, medicine and midwife services. This clinic services the seven surrounding villages that make up the political limits.

The market in the center of town goes from morning to night every Tuesday, with plenty of local beer and fried doughnuts. Next to the market is the elementary school, with a kindergarten. The pace of life is very slow, but not boring.

Problem Addressed
The most fundamental problem of the community is the scarcity of water. The rains stop in mid-November and do not begin again until May. During this seven- month interval, the river dries up and so do the three wells. The only water to be found comes from holes in the ground, which is hardly enough to sustain life.

The mid-wife at the hospital uses dirty groundwater to wash newborn babies and to clean the vaginal tracts of new mothers. The use of dirty water leads to elevated rates of dermatologic and infectious diseases.

Women and girls are exhausted by the competition for resources because they have to wake up early and go far to fetch water. Many women spend their whole day trying to accumulate enough water for their families.

A main source of income for women is the preparation of local sorghum beer, but women use dirty water and the community often suffers from intestinal worms and parasites.

Project Description
This project is to build a borehole with a hand pump in proximity to the community hospital and elementary school.

The well will be dug to about 40-60 meters and be enclosed by a cement wall. After the technical work, the community will plant trees around the pump in the hopes of retaining water and beautifying the environment around the well.

An open community meeting will be held to choose a water committee to oversee the management of the well. This committee will decide the method of payment for water, and how to collect this money. There will be members designated as daily maintenance agents and several women will be trained by the pump technicians on preventative maintenance and small repairs.

Water Charity funds will go to renting heavy machinery, drilling the well, purchasing the materials (such as pipes, pump hardware, cement), and paying for skilled labor.

The community will add approximately $2,000 to the project’s total funds, along with sand, gravel, manual labor and lodging of the skilled laborers.

The company contracted to perform the work is E-Forage Togo, a local business based in Kara.

Project Impact
500 people will benefit from the project.

Let Girls Learn
This project will allow girls to stay in school because it brings water closer to them, reducing the amount of time it takes for them to retrieve water for the daily needs of their families.

In addition, clean water will reduce illness, allowing them to devote more energy to their studies and attend school more regularly.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Riley Pavelich

Monitoring and Maintenance
The community has formed a committee for monitoring and maintaining the pump. Members of this committee have been designated for cleaning and upkeep, collecting fees, and repairing breakdowns quickly.

People wishing to use the pump will have to pay a nominal fee, and the money raised will go into a specific bank account. The company installing the well will train a group of women to make small repairs and to service the pump regularly to prevent eventual problems.

Comments
Riley notes:
“This project is possible through the participation of Water Charity and two generations of Peace Corps Volunteers. As the current volunteer, I see the desperate need for a protected source of water. The previous volunteer, once home in the US, fund-raised more than $2,000 and sent it to the president of the Village Development Committee (who is a good friend of his).”

This project is being paid for through the generosity of an anonymous donor. If you would like to support additional great projects such as this one, please contribute to our Western Africa Water and Sanitation Program by clicking on the Donate button below.

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

   

Conclusion of Tchore Borehole Project – Togo

Conclusion of Tchore Borehole Project – Togo

Conclusion of Tchore Borehole Project – Togo

This project was designed to build a borehole with a hand pump in proximity to the community hospital and elementary school. The project has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Riley Pavelich.

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

Riley reports as follows:

Our project is finished and our pump has been functional for several weeks now.

The work progressed systematically from the beginning, when the technicians came and identified two potential borehole sites near the hospital. Then, the borehole digging machine came in and found clean water at a depth of 50 meters. The borehole’s capacity is 7,000 liters of water per hour.

Before this project, my village had only one pump, which functioned poorly with a capacity of 400 liters of water per hour. This project has increased my village’s access to clean water by more than 1,000%. The primary school, hospital and market are all centrally located near the new pump and have used the water beneficially.

After drilling the borehole, a team of masons came in to construct a hygienic platform around the pump with a drainage system.

Our water pump committee cleans the pump area daily and trains villagers on how to properly handle to pump to insure its maximum longevity. So far, the water committee has more than 25 families who donate monthly to use the pump, not to mention the patients at the hospital.

Since the pump has been functional, 6 babies have been birthed in our center. We can use as much water as we need now to clean up before and after a birth. Everyone is ecstatic about how our pump has affected the community.

Many women have thanked me for how this pump project has changed their lives. They tell me that it has given them so much more time in the day. Time, in my opinion, is a precious resource and I hope having more time and energy will permit my friends to expand their leisure and income-generating activities.

Thank you so much for making this project happen for the village of Tchore, and moreover thank you for facilitating this life-changing experience for myself.

We, in turn, wish to express our gratitude to Riley for completing this excellent project.

   

Meanchey Middle School Water Project – Cambodia

Meanchey Middle School Water Project – Cambodia

Meanchey Middle School Water Project – Cambodia

This project is made possible through the partnership of Water Charity and the National Peace Corps Association.

Location
Meanchey Middle School, Roneam Village, Meanchey Commune, Sandan District, Kampong Thom Province, Cambodia

Community Description
Meanchey is a farming commune located in rural Kampong Thom, Cambodia. The Meanchey Middle School is the only middle school in a commune of over 3,400 people. Fifteen teachers educate 284 students aged 11 to 18 years old. A large majority of people in Meanchey are farmers and usually have one or two additional jobs such as teaching or selling produce at the market in order to support their families. Many families don’t have access to clean water and use the local river for showering and washing their clothes. Although people in this community face many challenges, you will rarely see them without a smile on their faces. They know how to find happiness in simple things, and tend to work together to solve common problems.

Problem Addressed
A challenge the school faces is the lack of access to clean water. For years the school has depended on rainwater and a broken well as their primary sources of water for basic needs. Rainwater is not a dependable source in Cambodia, especially during the dry season. The old well stopped working after a big flood in the area in 2004 and now only produces dirty water.

The school has no history of securing an adequate, uncontaminated water supply. Sanitation is also lacking in the school. Since there are few waste bins and no recycling bins, students throw trash on the ground and do a poor job of cleaning it up once a week. The school director and teachers have communicated their concerns regarding the health of their students due to the lack of safe drinking water and the uncleanliness of the school. The consequences are diarrhea, skin disease, respiratory illnesses, intestinal and other waterborne diseases.  These diseases decrease the number of times children is in school. The school has expressed interest in a well, a handwashing station, water filters, and waste/ recycling bins.  They also have a request to provide education on proper handwashing, drinking safe water and the importance of maintaining a clean environment.

Project Description
Local construction workers will construct a well at the Meanchey Middle School.

A hole will be dug 45 meters deep using safe techniques.  A 3 x 4-meter area outside of the well will be cemented. A motor will be used to pump water out of the well and into the latrines and handwashing stations.

A handwashing station will be built next to the latrines on the right side of the school near the 8th and 9th-grade classrooms and another will be repaired next to the latrines on the left side of the school by the 7th-grade classrooms. Locally purchased waste and recycling bins will be placed throughout the school.

School teachers and the Peace Corps volunteer will conduct a two-hour session to promote proper handwashing techniques, the advantages of drinking safe water and the importance of maintaining a clean environment for each of the seven classrooms in the school, educating all 284 students over the course of three days. Students will volunteer to be peer educators and pass on the information they have learned to elementary school students, demonstrating they have understood the material and are reinforcing it by teaching it to others.

The school will provide bars of soap to the handwashing stations at all times. Each of the seven classrooms will be supplied with low-maintenance, portable and effective ceramic water purifiers to provide safe drinking water for students.

Project Impact
This project will impact 299 people; 284 students and 15 teachers will benefit from this project.  Future students and visitors will benefit as well.

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Valerie Rojas

Monitoring and Maintenance 
Students in the school’s youth group will monitor the new facilities and notify the director when repairs are needed or if they are out of soap for handwashing. The school director has committed to repairing or making necessary adjustments within a month of receiving notice. The PCV will monitor behavior changes in the school such as students washing their hands appropriately and disposing of trash in bins and recycling.  The PCV will also provide additional education or reminders as needed.

Comments
The community organization involved with this project is the Meanchey Middle School Teachers. The project is part of Water Charity’s ongoing Let Girls Learn Initiative – Worldwide.
Let Girls Learn: Lack of clean facilities is a leading cause of girls dropping out of school. Girls often miss school throughout the duration of their period every month because the bathrooms have no water or waste bins to allow for sanitary pad disposal or hand washing. Many of them never go back. The lack of clean water also adds to unsanitary conditions in the bathrooms which is harder on the girls since the boys are able to use the bathroom outdoors.

This project will ensure girls’ access to clean bathrooms and therefore lower the number of dropouts among girls.  Sustainable improvements in hygiene behavior patterns require more than education activities and, at the same time, facilities are not sufficient on their own to improve health. A holistic approach that combines the promotion of behavior change and the provision of facilities will lead to a sustainable outcome for the school.

Building the capacity of the middle school staff will be an integral part of the sustainability of managing and sustaining hygiene, water and sanitation programs for long-term success. The Peace Corps volunteer will work with the school to enable the school environment as well as promote community-based management to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of all water, sanitation and hygiene efforts.

The director and teachers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage their own facilities and have advocated for the basic right to safe water. The attainability of their own water source instead of dependency on unreliable sources will lead to empowerment and participatory approaches i.e. community-led hand washing demonstrations for a healthier learning environment.

The water source and the environmental component will promote key hygiene behaviors such as handwashing with soap, using clean toilets, treating and drinking safe water and protecting the environment which once learned will remain a part of their lifestyles.

Dollar Amount of Project
$1,800

Donations Collected to Date
$0

Dollar Amount Needed
$1,800

ADOPT THIS PROJECT BY CONTRIBUTING THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE PROJECT.
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.

Conclusion of Meanchey Middle School Water Project – Cambodia

Conclusion of Meanchey Middle School Water Project – Cambodia

Conclusion of Meanchey Middle School Water Project – Cambodia

The project to build a well at the school has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Valerie Rojas. We are pleased to have had a part in this extremely successful Let Girls Learn project.

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

Valerie reports:

Scope of the project and specific work done:
Meanchey middle school now has a well, two hand washing stations, seven water filters and waste bins placed throughout the school. This new equipment, along with education on proper hand washing techniques and how to maintain a clean environment, has worked to achieve a safe, clean environment for teachers and students, preventing the spread of disease and promoting healthier lifestyles.

Work progress:
The work progressed slowly at first, due to the contractor’s busy schedule and inability to work daily. Amazingly, the teachers and students worked tirelessly to finish the project on time, donating their time and work and showing incredible dedication to the project.

Here is an anecdote/reaction from a student:

I have become close to a few 8th grade girls who live nearby and attend my daily English class. They are bright, determined, and always hungry to learn. One Wednesday morning, I saw one of them helping her mom sell vegetables at the market and asked her why she wasn’t in school, she gave me a coy smile and whispered it was her time of the month and the bathrooms in the school weren’t very clean and didn’t have any water so she didn’t feel comfortable going to school. At the time, we were still waiting for funds to come in for this project, so I explained that soon there would be a well to provide water to the bathrooms and hand washing stations so she wouldn’t have to miss school any longer. She smiled brightly and thanked me profusely. A few months later I was working on the finishing touches for the hand washing stations with my counterpart and she came up to us and hugged us saying “It’s beautiful! Thank you, teachers!” Thanks to this project and the hard work of the community and teachers who planned and implemented it, little girls like her won’t have to miss school for days at a time and fall behind on their studies. The middle school now has a clean environment that is trash-free and hygienic.Thank you so much for your support in this project.

We are grateful to Valerie for completing this important project.

If you like this project, and wish to see more Let Girls Learn projects in Cambodia, please DONATE.

    

    

Conclusion of Frumuşica High School Well Project – Moldova

Conclusion of Frumuşica High School Well Project – Moldova

Conclusion of Frumuşica High School Well Project – Moldova

The project to build a well to provide for the water needs of the Frumuşica High School has been completed under the direction of Peace Corps Volunteer Aana Barabas.

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

Aana reports:

My Story
At the local high school, there were a number of cases of communicable diseases (hepatitis A and diarrhea) among the students and staff due to lack of clean, running water. However, the major issue was that the school had the infrastructure and resources to promote healthy habits and behaviors but they lacked the main component which was clean, consistent, running water.

The school had sinks, indoor restrooms and a cafeteria, but the unreliable water source made it extremely difficult to wash hands during critical times, and caused the closure of the indoor restrooms. This resulted in the students and staff using the outhouse facilities. Female students who were on their menstrual cycle were not comfortable using the outhouse facilities, causing most of them to go home.

The school, parents and community came together and recognized that the unreliable water was the main factor to many of the school’s problems and the health issues of the students. A project team was created to tackle this problem. They wanted to promote the importance of clean, filtered, consistent running water and its role in the prevention of many communicable diseases.

Two health campaigns were conducted by the health teachers and the health club, promoting clean water and educating menstrual/reproductive health among the students and staff.

The project resulted in the construction of the water well and running a water line to the school, providing a reliable, clean water source to the cafeteria, sinks and indoor restrooms.

Students and staff now have the opportunity to use the school facilities, including the bathrooms for sanitation and the sinks for handwashing. They also can safely and effectively use the cafeteria for cooking and eating.

Goals Achieved, Changes in Initial Objectives, and Community Feeling
The project goal was to reduce the number of future cases of Hepatitis A by 30% through clean, filtered running water. The results will not be seen until a year when the school can do a complete comparison among the students and staff. However, 145 students and 25 staff members attended and participated in a water seminar, learning about the importance of water, how to clean and filter water and the communicable diseases associated with dirty water. 83% of students were able to explain how to clean water and 68% were able to identify 3 preventable measures for reducing hepatitis A and other communicable diseases.Among the school staff, 87% were able to explain how to properly clean and filter water and 74% were able to identify 3 preventable measures for reducing hepatitis A. Also 70% of female students (4th-12th grade) and staff attended a seminar about menstrual and reproductive health.

The community is very grateful and ecstatic about having water for the school. Constructing a water well is considered a “saint” act and they believe that the water will help with present and future of the students’ health.

Capacity and Skills Built  
This project has strengthened numerous skills among the school and the community. Health and prevention are being promoted among the students and staff. The project team has shown tremendous progress with organizing and implementing this and previous small projects. This is the second small project that they worked on with the Peace Corps, and each time, they are becoming more confident with running needs assessments, organizing health campaigns, writing the grant proposals and creating the project budget.The project team has been working on networking with other villages, discussing health issues and promoting how health should be prioritized, especially essential aspects such as providing clean, running water in the school.

The female students are being more comfortable with being at school during their menstrual cycle and understand that privacy is important. The students are consistently being encouraged and motivated to wash their hands and drink clean water. The health teachers are working with the homeroom teachers to create those health habits and the idea that prevention is the first step to living a health life.

Sustainability  
The sustainability of this project is through education and awareness of the importance of clean water, how to have clean water and how to prevent communicable diseases that is associated with water. In the health education program, water, hygiene and communicable diseases are in the curriculum and taught throughout the school year. Homeroom teachers are responsible for encouraging students to be hygienic such as washing their hands before meals and after using the restroom, and also promoting drinking clean water. The school’s facilities, such as the sinks and indoor restrooms, will be available for all especially the female students during their menstrual cycle who need privacy and a hygienic setting.The school’s groundskeepers and maintenance team will be responsible for monitoring and maintaining the water pump and pipes. They were involved with the construction and installation of the well, so they now have the knowledge to properly replace or fix anything if a problem does arise. The school and parent association are in charge of the replacement of the water filter as needed, usually every 3 to 5 years.

We are grateful to Aana for completing this important project.

We are still seeking donations.