Today Larry Logue and I visited two schools in Addis Ababa where the Rotary Club of Lake Union, in partnership with Splash International, is providing clean drinking water and hand washing stations in high-need public schools. Many of the schools in Ethiopia are actually large campuses which include three buildings: Elementary, Middle, and High school. Because of this, the first school that we visited, Miazia 23, was much larger than anticipated making the impact of our project readily apparent. The principal of this school shared that many of the kids do not have access to clean water at home, and before our project, did not have it at school either. I was very excited to hear from him that he has seen attendance improve and the school is now considered a “model” school by the Education Bureau of Addis Ababa.

The second school we visited, called Meskerem, has seen similar improvements. The school had a 1:224 tap to student ratio initially and the number is now 1:24 because of our project. Seeing the children rush to the fountains during their school breaks was a sight to see and a teacher commented that the kids feel prouder of their school now that they have better facilities. Another part of our project is sponsoring hygiene clubs in the schools which then provide tips on effective handwashing and general hygiene, helping to reduce the spread of deadly water-born diseases like Cholera. The challenge for Meskerem is that the local government recently moved hundreds of the school’s students because of a shantytown relocation project. Many of these students were trained in our hygiene program, so Splash’s project manager agreed to provide another teacher and student hygiene club training this month.

More news to come soon!

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