WASH is a Water Sanitation and Hygiene project working with the Rotary Club Udaipur Heritage.  The initial idea came for an RCPI club member who works in conflict areas around the world, supplying clean water and the removal of contaminated water.  She suggested a project that would have life changing effects to those that need toilets.  Firstly we decided to work in the part of the world we are familiar with – Northeast India.  We thought of community based toilets but it has moved to become a programme of installing toilets to 10,000 students in 22 schools in the Udaipur Educational District.  To get to the stage of implementation has taken us four years, many, many airmiles to India and lots of emails and skype calls.  We have discussed at length how we would like to help improve facilities at the schools.  There are many benefits to having good toilets, as 150 million school children have no toilet at home or school.  That is a lot of mess out in the open, where it can easily spread disease.  Girls are much more likely to stay at school if there are facilities for changing sanitary pads.  Without these facilities, girls tend to stay at home or leave school once they fall behind.  Having some safe, clean place to sort yourself out is vital.  We will offer a menstrual hygiene programme to the pupils, boys and girls.  There is still a lot of misinformation going around and there have been health problems for menstruating girls as a consequence of this.

Rotary Club Prague International has applied with Rotary Club Udaipur Heritage for a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation.  The cost of this project is in the region of $120,000.  Happily we have received donations from other Rotary clubs around the world, especially from the USA, to help us reach this target.  Friends and members have raised lots of funds by taking on sponsored tasks.  A school teacher from England raised $1,500 by cycling from Vienna to Venice.  Support has come from all avenues and is greatly appreciated.

Next stage is waiting for the grant approval and then we can start the real work.  We hope to install toilets, hand-washing facilities and offer a menstrual health hygiene programme to 10,000 students in 22 schools.  Each school is unique and has very different needs, a school of 850 girls has different needs to a school of 300 boys.  It has taken a determined effort by our friends as RC Udaipur Heritage to visit all these schools and inspect them for their needs.  All are Government schools and poorly funded, the teachers are hardworking and very caring, it is our aim to offer better toilets to help moral at the school and keep disease and absenteeism to a minimum. Some of the schools offer boarding facilities to pupils from very poor families.  These pupils would be sent out to work, they cost money to feed and clothe. The local authorities identify these school age children and this system allows them to continue their education and give them a much better chance in life.  The alternative is to work as a day labourer, the working conditions are hard, the pay very low and the career structure non-existent.

It is with great enthusiasm and confidence that have reached this stage and can not wait to return to Udaipur and see for ourselves the results.

Helen Noll
February 2019

The project leader for WASH in Rajasthan is Gerry Tipple. If you would like more information about the project please EMAIL Gerry.