The Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Bukoba, Tanzania, successfully completed a water, sanitation and hygiene Rotary Global Grant project at Iluhya Secondary School in Bukoba. The rural boarding school, 30 kilometers outside of town, lacked sufficient water for the 600 students, faculty and staff. Students had to rise at 5 a.m. and hike 4 kilometers to a spring and carry water back to school in five-gallon buckets each day before attending classes.
The $74,420 grant supported construction of four, 60,000 liter rainwater harvesting tanks; the renovation of six existing tanks and construction of a toilet building with five flush toilets; handwashing sinks and a changing room for the girls.
Funding for the project also came from the Rotary Clubs of Sebastopol, Santa Rosa East, Rohnert Park-Cotati, Petaluma Valley, Petaluma, Calistoga and Eureka.
The existing pit latrines did not provide a sanitary location for girls during their menstrual period. This led to girls missing class or dropping out of school due to recurring infections. The grant provided a curriculum of menstrual hygiene management and formation of a school club to promote and train all students in water and sanitation hygiene. More girls are now staying in school to complete their education.
When Sebastopol Sunrise Rotarians, who sponsor the El Molino High School Interact Club, told the students about the project, they wanted to get involved. A Google group was formed so students at El Molino and Iluhya Schools could exchange emails and form international friendships.
The Interact Club created a “Walk for Water” fundraiser. Some carried water in five-gallon buckets around the track to feel what everyday life is like for Iluhya students. Then everyone, along with parents and friends, walked 4 kilometers through Forestville. With matching funds from The Rotary Foundation, the Interact Club contributed $1,193.50 toward the grant.
A team of five local Rotarians traveled to Tanzania in February to visit the school and see the construction in progress.
“The kids were so appreciative and excited for the improvements that will benefit their health,” said Rotarian Jerry Meshulam.
For more information about international and Sonoma County projects of Sebastopol Sunrise Rotary, please visit our website, www.sebsunriserotary.org.