Posted by Sharmila Bhatt on Mar 10, 2019

Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education are basic necessities for a healthy environment and a productive life. When people have access to clean water and sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, domestic violence at home caused by women over staying at far away water sources decrease, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families. 

If you ask a Tanzanian living in a rural area where they go to the toilet, they will turn their head towards a non-specific direction and say, “over there.” This means that they use any location that gives them some sort of privacy to do their needs. Women have to go longer distances and in early morning hours to avoid prying eyes and molestation. The risks of open defecation are many – including parasitic and bacterial infections. So, when Rotarians and clubs help in providing clean water and sanitation, we are assisting in meeting the most basic needs of our communities, while ensuring safety and very significant reduction is communicable diseases.

In Iganga, for the community of Kiroba district, Rotarians this year have provided the much-needed water using solar energy to pump water from a source and pipe it to 550 households with 3,300 people. The water is metered, and appointed agents provide water at a small fee and the monies collected help ensure sustainability.

Same, a town in Northern Tanzania is known for “Maji Ya Rotary” (Water from Rotary) by providing water one village at a time. The latest project is piping water from a natural spring to a catchment basin which is then piped down to a 150 cubic meter tank, then chlorinated and supplied to a community of 2,000 people which includes schools and hospitals.

Success in our past and current projects with water & sanitation led to USAID partnering with Rotary in Uganda on a long-term program to improve water supplies, sanitation, and hygiene at a cost of $4M.

March is also a month every year when Rotaractors and Rotarians around the world celebrate World Rotaract Week during the week of 13th March. What have you planned?

Someone once told me - We are not born only to die, but we are also born to serve. Not to book our place in heaven, nor to win a coveted award – but for the sheer joy of being useful – after all the only other choice is to be useless – Used Less. As Rotarians I believe we have made our choice.