By Jamil Mouawad
Rotary Clubs of Lebanon Mega Project - "Securing Clean Water in Lebanese Public Schools"
The mission of our Organization is to invest in meaningful and innovative services, which encourage the cooperation of multiple clubs in the district in general and Lebanon in specific.
Water Filtration for Public Schools in Lebanon has been identified as a Mega project aiming to encourage cross-cultural understanding, fellowship and goodwill.
Why did we choose this project?
The infrastructural situation of most schools, is sadly, way beyond catastrophic, especially when it comes to the water quality.
Physical, chemical and biological results of the water samples that were collected from many schools in different areas in Lebanon, revealed that each day, students are highly exposed to germs and diseases!
What makes this issue an urgent and critical matter is that due to their poor financial abilities, students in Public Schools are obliged to drink this water since it’s the only free source provided by the school jeopardizing the health of all students.
As Rotarians, we didn’t accept to remain inactive; on the contrary we decided to face the major problem and act.
Six committees were the steersman of this mega project, assigned with specific goals and specific tasks, such as Strategic Planning, Marketing and Awareness, Project implementation, Technical issues, Project Sustainability and Fundraising.
In order to successfully launch our project, we reached out to many authorities and possible partners. The support we received was unexpected!
Ministries fully supported us, especially the Lebanese Ministry of Energy & Water represented by Dr. Fadi Comair and the Ministry of Education represented by Dr. Fadi Yarak.
Both have always been, and shall always be the main keys of this project. For without their support, we couldn't have been here today!
Private sector and banks supported us in great ways!
HSBC Bank gave us $ 450,000 USD, Dar Al Handasah supported us with $150 thousand dollars, Al-AzmWal-Saada Foundation supported us with $100,000 thousand dollars, Rotary Clubs from all over the world, especially from France, USA, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria and much more, poured the project with their generosity after knowing the dangerous facts of this noble cause.
With the help that we received from the generous partners and the full hearted work of our Rotary Clubs and since every student has the right to drink clean water, the 27 ROTARY CLUBS OF LEBANON, the 650 Rotarians along with the Inner wheelers, Rotaractors and Interactors turned this MASSIVE PROBLEM into  MEGA CHALLENGE.
Up till now, we were able of implementing the water project in seven hundred & twenty schools! Up to five hundred thousand students are receiving clean drinking water, right this instance! We are aiming to secure clean water in all the remaining 480 schools by the end of 2018.
A huge accomplishment had been done so far. And every time I participate in an inauguration event I feel the huge need of our project, and the importance of continuing with the remaining part. Observing the children drinking from new, clean and trusted water, with the big smiles on their faces, makes us see, in their eyes, what every Rotarian seeks the most: happiness, trust, faith and hope!
To have more impact on the community and in order to give full actual benefit, we are also spreading awareness on the importance of:
  1.  Consuming and Using Clean Water
  2.  Conserving water in our daily life
  3.  Maintaining the Personal hygiene and how it effects each one’s health

These goals are being met through TV Commercials, Print works, social media messages, how-to showings, and interactive workshops with the students in each area in Lebanon.
The water project workshops are being handled by specialists in this field and in collaboration with the Education and Health Ministries. One of the workshops was held with Notre Dame University where we published a booklet entitled “Water in the Environment” which as written by Dr. Fadi Comair. The booklet included useful and valued information about various subjects concerning this vital source.  Furthermore, we are implementing MOUs with the Municipalities in the different areas of Lebanon to reach out more effectively to schools. These MOUs are partnership agreements that aim to follow up with the schools.
It is a complete process to ensure that the project "Securing Clean Water in Public Schools" is being correctively handled in every educational institution, in addition to the two other issues: Water Conservation and Personal Hygiene which are considered urgent matters in our societies.
After implementing the MOU, workshop on these three vital subjects are being done in each area, and here I am sharing with you the one that was done in Zgharta. Huge impact was done, many information was distributed and live demonstrations on how to keep the filters clean, how to wash our hands and how to save up to 50 liters of water per person had been done.
This Pilot Workshop will be done in each area in Lebanon!
The importance of our project have taken us into many countries and Districts, where we talked about this vital success story. The project reached out to Morocco, Jordan, Cyprus and many others…
Last but not least, I would like to announce to you that Rotary's President-elect Ian Riseley have selected Lebanon to hold the "Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Presidential Peacebuilding Conference" on February 16 & 17, 2018.
Please book your calendars!
At the end, I would like to share with you a short story:
"One time, while I was attending an inauguration event in a school, the principle told us a very touching story!
The school was aware that the water was undrinkable, so they used to force the students to bring full water bottles with them to school; after the filtration system installation, the complete opposite occurred.
The students started to bring empty bottles with them to school, fill them out with clean water and take it back home!"
As Rotarians, we didn’t remain idle, or inactive, on the contrary we are facing this major problem
We shall not give up or fail.
We shall go to the end!
No one said that is easy, but hand in hand, we can make this dream come true and sustain it for many years to come!
We can do it, through our cohesion, our unity and our determination!
I hope we will meet again in less than 1 year and I will tell you the success story of the one thousand two hundred Lebanese Schools!
Jamil Mouawad