EDITOR'S NOTE: Alpharetta-Milton Patch Editor Bob Pepalis is a member of the Windward Rotary Club.
Three Rotary Clubs have developed a $100,000 project to bring clean drinking water to 10 schools in Nigeria in early 2013, plus restrooms for the schools.
The Windward Rotary Club started the project after being introduced to Olu Olowu, District Governor Election for District 9110 in Nigeria. Rotarians John Bowers, Bill Compton and Bart Vantieghem formed the committee for the project. Once club members learned the project was beyond the scope of what this small club could handle, Club President John Bowers said Windward approached the Vinings and Roswell clubs.
"Brenda Borden and Gant Adams brought the message to Vinings, and within one week the club committed to the project and has never looked back. Same thing for Roswell, we spoke to Bob Hagan and Jacque Digieso, and they along with Gayle Battersby got Roswell on board," Bowers said.
If the project gets final approval, it will cover education and sanitary issues, as well as improve the health and well being for approximately 12,000 children and 500 educators. Funding comes from the individual clubs and a Global Grant from Rotary International.
The clubs plan to have "boots on the ground" in Nigeria by 2014.
The project will be in 10 schools in Lagos and Ogun states, the geographical area of Rotary District 9110 in Nigeria. These states are in the southwest region of the country. The schools to be served have an average population of between 1,000 and 1,300 students and about 45 teaching and administrative staff. Lagos and Ogun States have a combined population of 25 million people. Each of the schools and its community are connected to public electric power supply which at most times is erratic.
The Rotary Club identified the following as major needs of the communities:
- clean water for drinking and washing
- clean water for the school laboratories
- clean modern toilets
- freedom from long treks to fetch water
- good concentration of students in classes
- hygiene and safe water education
- elimination of diseases like diarrhea
- general improvement of health
Children and women currently meet their water needs by fetching from wells scattered in the communities. These wells are for general purposes and water there-from are unsafe and unhygienic. Besides there is no year-round flow of water from the wells. They use pit-latrines, which have weak foundations and can collapse, or toilets without water. There is no non-governmental organization or other support with respect to water and sanitation for the schools that have been targeted for project.
The project will sink water bore-holes, add a provision for water treatment, supply 2,000-gallon water tanks. Pumps, pipes, new toilet facilities also will be supplied, as will long-lasting mosquito nets treated with insecticide.
Each school's management committee will have to maintain the facility, with Rotarians training a water and sanitation subcommittee. A reasonable fee will be collected from members of the communities for fetching water to have money for the up-keep of the facility in the long term.
The project should curtail the occurrence and spread of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and cholera will be curtailed.