Water and sanitation
Water, the source of life, carries death and disease in much of the developing world. One in six people in the world have no access to safe drinking water. With help from Rotary-sponsored water and sanitation projects, Rotarians have helped thousands of communities globally.
Safe water for thousands in Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, one in five children die before age 5, many from waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever, according to UNICEF. The Rotary Club of Fishers, Indiana, USA, knew how they could help.
In 2009, the Fishers club began a yearlong project to install 14 wells, giving 10,000 people in Sierra Leone access to water (left). Partnering with the local Rotary Club of Freetown, the club secured a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. With additional support from Future Vision Pilot District 6560 (Indiana), 11 U.S. clubs, and another Sierra Leone club, a $300,000 project was undertaken with the goal of installing 71 more wells serving roughly 71,000 people in rural communities.
Three Rotary clubs in Sierra Leone and World Hope International, a nongovernmental organization, have committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the wells after installation. Local Rotarians are also helping to choose locations for the wells, monitoring their effectiveness, and forming community committees to maintain them.
“These wells are very effective and they are sealed, so there’s no contamination," says Christopher Forster, a Freetown club member. "In Sierra Leone, 40 percent of all out-patient visits are water related. So [by] giving clean water, you are really making a difference in people’s lives.”