Global grant provides clean water for Turkish schools, builds Rotary awareness
"Keep clean, refrain from microbes" is the title of this drawing by an eighth-grader as part of the art contest setup by Rotarians to promote good hygiene. Illustration courtesy of the Rotary Club of Adana-Cukurova, Turkey
Turkish Rotarians have provided 2,500 students in four schools in Adana, Turkey, with new toilets and clean water facilities through a water and sanitation project supported by a Rotary Foundation global grant.
The project, sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Adana-Cukurova, Turkey, and Frutal, Minas Gerais, Brazil, demonstrates how Rotary’s new grant model can enable Rotarians to reach more people in need and make a larger and more lasting impact by involving the community, having a measurable outcome, and building in sustainability.
The effort also shows how the grant model can be used to increase the public’s awareness of Rotary. The Turkish club sponsored concerts by a chorus of Rotarians and Rotaractors in Istanbul and Adana, and arranged newspaper and television coverage, which helped raise funds for the project and publicize Rotary’s role.
Assessing local needs
The Turkish Rotarians began conducting a needs assessment in January 2011 to come up with a project that improved health and hygiene at local schools. The club is in District 2430, part of the Future Vision pilot, which is testing the Rotary Foundation’s new grant model in advance of it being applied to all districts in July 2013.
After determining the shape of their project, the Rotarians sought an international sponsor, and discovered through RI’s LinkedIn group that District 4770, also in the pilot, was looking for a partner for a global grant project with a focus on health.
The two districts stayed in contact through the Future Vision LinkedIn group, and later submitted a global grant application, with the Frutal club serving as international partner. The project addressed two of Rotary’s areas of focus: water and sanitation and disease prevention and treatment.
Implementing the project
In July 2011, after the grant’s approval, members of the Turkish club renovated bathrooms in the four schools, providing new toilets, wash basins, floor and wall tiles, electrical wiring, and other improvements. Project funding included US$12,500 from the District Designated Funds of the two districts, $7,100 in cash donations, and a $16,050 global grant from the Foundation.
Four months later, club members, including two doctors, joined Rotarians from another club in training teams of teachers, administrators, and parents at each school how to instruct the students in good hygiene practice to prevent diseases like diarrhea, Guinea worm, and hepatitis. The teams were charged with monitoring the students’ progress.
To make sure the project continues to have an impact after its May 2012 conclusion, Rotarians posted colorfully illustrated signs on bathroom walls to remind the students about good practices, such as washing their hands, flushing toilets, and turning off the faucets to save water. Rotarians also organized an art and essay contest, with prizes, to keep the students focused on good hygiene and disease prevention. The contest is now part of an annual school event called Hygiene Day.
“We decided that sustainability can be achieved by putting hygiene into [the students’ daily lives] and not just by teacher trainers’ warnings,” said Adana-Cukurova club member Tugrul Yegenaga in the final report for the global grant. The report also notes that when the students eventually become parents, they will pass on what they’ve learned to their children.
To measure the project’s impact, the Rotarians who trained the parent/teacher/administrator teams visited the schools every month to observe how the teams were performing. They visited each school six times to assess student hygiene habits. Rotarians also determined that soap use had increased 300 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year.