Rotary clubs always pumped for World Water Day
EVANSTON, Ill., USA (March 21, 2011) — Although the United Nations designates March 22 as World Water Day, Rotary members around the globe are focused on the issue 24/7, volunteering their time and resources to provide safe water and sanitation to communities wherever there is need.
The theme for World Water Day 2011 is the impact of rapid urban growth and the challenges of urban water management.
A centerpiece of Rotary’s emphasis on water and sanitation issues is the International H 2 O Collaboration , an alliance between Rotary International and USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development). Launched in 2009, it works to implement long-term, sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in the developing world. The first phase of the partnership has focused on three countries: Ghana, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic.
"With this collaboration, Rotary is taking the commitment to clean water and sanitation to the next level," says Rotary International Vice President Thomas M. Thorfinnson. "We're not just focused on simply providing safe drinking water and walking away. We are looking at our ability to partner to make a larger impact in a bigger part of the world through sustainable projects and clean sanitation practices."
In Ghana, Rotary club members are working in about 100 communities to change sanitation behaviors and provide training on maintaining the new equipment. Local committees are responsible for establishing fees for water use and using the money collected to operate and maintain the pumps.
Rotary members in the Philippines have been working with the country's Solid Waste Management Association to keep garbage out of a wastewater treatment plant that serves one of Manila's large public markets. They have made several site visits and assisted in training and surveying market vendors. As a result, the vendors have developed a plan to compost up to 60 percent of biodegradable waste and use it to fertilize newly planted trees.
In the Dominican Republic, members of 120 Canadian, Caribbean and U.S. Rotary clubs have brought 18,000 bio-sand filters to 300 communities, providing clean water to 100,000 people, while USAID funds are helping to improve and construct water supply and sanitation systems and provide hygiene education.
More examples of Rotary club-supported water and sanitation projects:
In Kenya, a Nairobi club has partnered with a Denver, Colo., club to bring sanitary toilet facilities to the residents of Kibera, the second largest slum on the African continent. The project, funded by a $300,000 grant from the Rotary Foundation, is now benefiting more than 500,000 slum residents daily.
In Fiji, the Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation has completed its 100th project in Fiji, spending a total of $1.3 million to benefit about 45,500 residents of poor, rural communities throughout the island nation.
In Haiti, a $64,566 contribution from Rotary’s Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund is supporting a local Rotary club project to construct 80 rainwater collection tanks with built-in filters, each with a 2,500-gallon capacity. The tanks will provide clean water for about 3,000 people.
In South America, Rotary members in Utah are working with members in Colombia and Ecuador to build bathrooms for schools, provide clean drinking water, and teach students better hygiene practices. They also educate the general public through billboard, radio, and television public service announcements.
In Central and Eastern Europe, Rotary members in Belarus; Poland and Ukraine are helping to build a modern septic treatment system and renovate toilets and showers in an orphanage in Krasne, Ukraine.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. It is comprised of 1.2 million members working in more than 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographic regions.
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