Total Donated in 2018: $7,023.45

September - total $2,023.45

$1,023.45 - Moldova | Indoor Bathrooms for Students

In 2017-2018, the average student at our school missed seven days due to illnesses, most caused by poor hygiene. Our school outhouses currently are located 200 meters from the school building, and do not include stall doors. This means that the design and location of the toilets are not only problematic for menstruating students, but make handwashing difficult because handwashing stations are in a different building. Thus, many students do not wash their hands after using the toilet, causing poor hygiene. In the fall, students enrolled in Health Education received information about handwashing both after using the restroom and before eating. Both habits were equally enforced. Teachers now observe that these students wash their hands before eating, but still do not wash their hands after using the toilet. Since the sinks are already in the cafeteria, handwashing is much easier before eating than after coming all the way from the toilets. Therefore, we believe that by combining information with improved access to sanitary facilities, we will improve community hygiene. The school community created a plan to build an indoor bathroom to improve privacy and security for students, as well as to improve general hygiene. In the fall, we will construct an indoor restroom. Before school begins we will train teachers to change behaviors around handwashing and general hygiene. Teachers will implement these strategies in their classes to minimize the spread of germs. Health Education classes will continue lessons about hygiene, and students in Health Club will work with the school nurse to implement a campaign about personal hygiene. With improved access to information and sanitation facilities, we hope that this project will provide community members with the tools they need to reduce the occurrence of transmissible diseases, and increase overall school attendance.

During a teacher's meeting, staff discussed possible improvements to the school infrastructure. Both an indoor bathroom and improvements to the cafeteria were discussed, but 20 teachers verbally voted for the construction of an indoor bathroom.

In a parents meeting, 46 parents of students from 4th grade and 31 parents of 9th grade students also verbally voted for the construction of an indoor bathroom and voiced support for a campaign about personal hygiene.

After a discussion with the medical doctor to confirm that transmissible diseases (such as cold and flu) were indeed prominent among school-age children, she agreed that education about hand washing and personal hygiene is necessary in the school. She also was the first to recommend an additional focus on menstrual education. She is willing to visit the school and participate in a lesson or campaign to provide materials in the fall. We also will have some workers who have volunteered to help with construction over the summer.

Additionally, in April, the 22 health club members were asked what topics they wanted to focus on in the year to come and what health campaigns they would like to create. The most popular response by far was “personal hygiene”.

The health club will continue to do activities for world handwashing day and continue to conduct activities around the subject of handwashing and personal hygiene.

Good cleaning and upkeep of the bathroom will also be important for maintaining good hygiene. Homeroom teachers will discuss with their students how to use an indoor restroom, and the custodial staff will be invited to these discussions as well. The health club will make signs for the bathrooms reminding students to keep the bathroom clean and hygienic.

The teachers will have the knowledge and skills to correct future behaviors, and the students will also have the knowledge to be able to effectively teach and encourage their peers to continue hygienic behaviors.

Additionally, open discussions between the school nurse, health club, and female students will begin to break open the taboo around menstruation and allow for a more supportive atmosphere for menstruating students in the future.

$1,000.00 - Fiji | Wondering Woman Workshop - Volunteer from Arizona

Every village on the island is only accessible by fiberglass boats; there are no roads, only small hiking trails that are subject to tidal changes. Because of the limited inter-village access, we have decided to create a mobile women’s health workshop, visiting all nine villages with a local guide instead of relying on the women to gather in one village. Beqan women are who create lasting change in the village and households. All nine villages have their own active women’s group. By being mobile, we hope to directly impact 250 women from all around Beqa, and indirectly impact the hundreds more girls and women who live here. In many cases, these women are mothers and can directly impose changes onto their children and families. Because of the enthusiasm of the women’s groups and the specific expertise of the volunteers involved, this workshop will focus on women’s health issues. Kara will present a session on menstrual health and hands-on demonstration on the creation of reusable menstrual pads (A.K.A. RUMPS). Mackenzie will present on nutritional health and the benefits of various vegetables, providing instructions on how to plant a few varieties. Together, Kara and Mackenzie will be presenting a women’s exercise session, complete with culturally appropriate Zumba and other various muscle specific activities. We intend to distribute to the participants: supplies needed to create RUMPS, seeds for various vegetables, and DVD disks of exercises (a few for each village). We hope that this workshop will make it as easy as possible for the women to make healthy lifestyle changes and improve their quality of life for years to come. In exchange, the communities will be providing travel guides, food, fuel, housing, and help organize the event.

One of the driving forces behind this project is to implement the activities as a community. Each community has recognized the need for action to be taken again non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and plans to take part in the implementation of this project. Both exercise and nutrition are two major contributors towards working against NCDs, and the participation of community members will ideally serve as a “kick off” to an enhanced way of living. In addition, women have noticed that their current menstrual practices are unsustainable and expensive and have requested to find alternative methods. Participants will learn about creating re-usable menstrual pads and healthy menstruation, and the importance of regular exercise and nutrition in order to maintain both physical health and emotional health. The workshop will not only be focused on training participants, but also to build capacity for them to share the information they learn during their tour with other village community members.

Women’s groups are influencers in our village. Most of the villages here do not have active youth groups, and the women are the people who make lasting change in the village, and also in the households. Each of the nine villages has its own active women’s group. Each of the women’s groups, as well as the Turaga ni Koros of each village will be the community partners on this project. With the help of the Women’s group leader and Turaga ni Koro in each village, a homestay has been set up (for one night in each village). The village is providing many in-kind contributions, plus organizational activities, and labor. Each village is providing a hiking guide, a host family, food, fuel for generators, water, and a hall space for each day of the workshop.

In order to be sustainable and to ensure that this project could be conducted again without volunteer intervention, community counterparts have been involved and will be involved in every step of this workshop-planning process. Each community is driving this project wholly. The workshop information will be presented by the PCVs alongside the women’s group leaders in each village. Our host country national counterparts for this project are the Turaga ni Koros of each village. They are assisting in getting all of the logistics for the workshop set up in each village, women’s group leaders of each village are assisting in the presentation and running of the workshop, and in some villages we also have had individual women who have experience with fitness volunteer to present the Zumba session alongside PCV Mackenzie.

Intellectual and environmental sustainability is also key in our workshop. We will be training every woman, giving them the tools (intellectually and literally) to create their own reusable menstrual pads and create their own home garden. We will also be providing each woman with a portfolio of new exercises, and video access to said exercises if they are forgotten. With the instructions on how to create RUMPs, we anticipate that the knowledge will be passed on to the daughters, sisters, and friends of our workshop participants; and with the creation of home gardens, we anticipate that the continued production of varied vegetables will improve the health of the participants fed, and with the continued production of seeds, the gardens will expand indefinitely. We also recognize the potential, although not our primary intention, for the RUMPs and ever-expanding gardens to become income-generating projects for the women, ultimately providing more mobility, access, and opportunity in the long run.

Our intention, however, is to improve Began women’s health by;

1) De-stigmatizing menstruation and providing the means to have a healthy menstruation routine,

2) Removing misconceptions surrounding nutrition on locally-grown food and provide the means to create more variety among vegetables,

3) Educate about new forms of exercise and provide the means for exercise routines to be continued after the workshop for years to come.

May - total $1,500

$1,500.00 in Memory of Tim Ahrens - Paraguay - Barrio Santa Rosa’i Water Project

The project activities include the installation of a well pump and the construction of a water tower and a water tank.

In 2016, an excavation of a new well took place at a depth of 160 meters.

The primary components of the project will be to:

(1) Coordinate with the water commission leaders, the local municipality, and a private company to engineer and equip the well with a motor and transformer.

(2) Erect and connect the 15,000-liter steel water tower to the well system.

(3) Work with community leadership to establish water system management techniques, water hygiene, and quality standards.

Project Impact:

450 people will benefit from the project.

March - total $3,500

$2,187.78 - Belize | Clean, Green, Compost Latrines: The Latrine Project -

Clean drinking water and proper sanitation are essential for health and development. In southern Belize, open defecation and ineffective pit latrines have led to fecal contamination of the Temash River and the village water system, two major water sources. Consumption of contaminated food and water, coupled with poor nutrition and hygiene practices, contributes to high rates of diarrheal diseases in the community. This project seeks to address these issues by providing assistance for the construction of eight latrines to serve twelve households in high impact areas: flood-prone households near the river and those with pit latrines near the well for the village water system. Due to their proximity to the major community water sources, providing these twelve families with latrines will reduce the transmission of disease via contaminated water for the entire community. Recipients will also receive training on how to properly construct, use, and maintain the compost latrines, and because of the inextricable link between sanitation and hygiene, education, and health, this project will be supplemented with ongoing school- and community-wide trainings on prevention and care of diarrhea. Through participation in the project, recipients will adopt these skills into long-term behavior changes that will reduce the incidence of diarrhea in the overall community.

$1,312.22 - Lesotho | Secondary School Kitchen

This project will result in the building of a kitchen for the Secondary School and the purchase of essential cooking equipment. The activity includes constructing a kitchen on the Secondary School campus. Completing the kitchen will bring much needed hope and progress to an extremely disadvantaged rural mountain community in Lesotho.

The objective of this project is simple: increase food security by providing a structure where nutritious food can be stored and cooked on a consistent, daily basis for hungry and undernourished girls and boys. Having a full stomach is not a privilege, its a basic human necessity. Over half of the students leave home before the sun rises and return home near sunset. The average student goes 10/12 hours between meals while exerting their bodies in extreme ways. During the 2017 academic year, we had 4 pregnant female students who attended class full time. Discussions with the girls and community about the challenges they face included pressure of intergenerational sex. In these relationships the girls are provided with food and other goods. We have girls who are orphaned and head of their families. They come to school hungry and without food or money because they use the little they have to support siblings. If the school has a kitchen, nutritious meals will be provided, significantly improving the girls' situation.

The mental and physical strain they endured is enormous. Its imperative that the school provides them proper nourishment to ensure the healthy growth and development of their unborn babies. Mental and physical growth can only be accomplished by providing proper bodily nourishment. Community support will span every aspect of this project, from site selection, to building material transport and labor during construction. Specifically, the community will provide transport assistance, water and aggregate for cement mixing and physical labor.

The impact of this project will send ripples throughout Southern Africa. Students will have increased energy and vigor to complete their course of study, it will increase their competitiveness on a national level in tertiary education selection and it will raise Lesotho into the forefront of Southern Africa's determined march to improve standards in every aspect of life. These students are the future of Lesotho, Africa and the World. Lets feed them NOW!