Lack of clean water and decent sanitation facilities result in diarrhea and other water-borne diseases in children resulting in school absences.  The impact is po or education    and challenges for a better future.  This is the “status quo” in rural parts of Guatemala with a significant indigenous population.  The Rotary Foundation, through its initiative known as WinS – Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) in Schools, is intervening to improve education quality and access – particularly for girls.  The idea is to leverage off from water and sanitation-related efforts and connect them with health, hygiene and education. 
Improving Education and Health for Guatemalan children by leveraging off from Water and Sanitation
Narayan Murarka, Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club, District 6440
PRID Jorge Aufranc, Francisco Viau, Club Rotario Guatemala Sur, Distracto 4250
About WinS:  In February 2018, The Rotary Foundation (TRF) awarded $562,000 competitive challenge grant to our team of Club Rotario Guatemala Sur, Rotary Club of Antigua, Rotary District 4250 and Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club, Rotary District 6440 addressing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH) in Schools (WinS). 
A total of 15,778 children (8,236 boys and 7,542 girls) between the ages of 3 to 18 from 48 schools in Sacatepéquez department of Guatemala, will have 24/7 access to clean water and sanitation facilities with emphasis on education and training for health, hygiene and menstrual health management.
The program goals are twofold:
  • Hardware: Construction of WASH facilities with 24/7 access to clean water
  • Software:  Education, training for health, hygiene and menstrual hygiene management (MHM)
WASH Facilities
  • Access to clean safe water is provided with Sawyer SP 202 water filter based on 0.1 Micron Absolute Hollow Fiber Membrane technology 
  • Handwashing and drink stations are critical for improved health and education.  Handwashing stations are being built with multiple faucets
  • Gender-segregated toilets will be built. Photos show the BEFORE and AFTER toilets
  • Restroom with toilet and sink for girls to meet their needs during the menstrual cycle to guarantee washing, changing and menstrual waste disposal with privacy
Education & Training
  • Improve the quality of education and access, especially for girls, training of teachers and parents
  • Effective health and hygiene training program to encourage the formation of cleaning habits and promote cultural behavioural change.
  • Menstrual hygiene management program focused on the biology of menstruation cycle and safe practices.  The goal is to prevent girls from dropping out of school
  • Incorporate lessons in school curriculum
  • Improved capacities
Alliances with key stakeholder from local to national authorities
For the successful deployment of the WinS program, alliances have been established with the following stakeholders from local to national level.  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or letter of support has been executed with each party.  The MOU/letters clearly outline the roles, responsibilities and obligation of each organization who has committed resources to support the WinS program.  Highlights of their commitments are provided below:
Ministerio de Salud Publica y asistencia Social
  • Conduct chemical-bacteriological analysis of water
  • Treatment of diseases of students at Health Centers
  • Promote WinS program within the community
Ministerio de Educación
  • Allow teachers and students to participate in training sessions
  • Include training material in the basic national WASH and MHM curriculum
  • Facilitate access to schools for construction of WASH facilities
  • Support Rotarian activities at school level
Asociación de Municipalidades de Sacatepéquez (AMSAC)
  • Provide, at no cost to Rotary or program, the skilled hand labor
  • Advocate at the COCODE level to provide unskilled hand labor from the community
  • Provide through the Municipalities technical and logistics support for the correct execution of the program
  • Provide through the Technical Planning Office of the Municipalities design of sanitary facilities
  • Guarantee the sustainability of the program and facilities through regular follow-up
  • Guarantee through the Municipalities the maintenance of the facilities for the long run
Inauguration Ceremony:  The WinS Project was launched on April 6, 2018, with an inauguration ceremony held in Antigua. Dignitaries from each of our governmental stakeholders were present and spoke about their support and commitment to the project.  Also present were the Majors from each of the eleven plus municipalities and Principals from many of the 48 schools.  Approximately 130 persons attended including many Rotarians, teachers and community people. Photo shows the key representatives of governmental stakeholders:
The award of this grant now presents an opportunity to begin putting all our plans into action to help children, with emphasis on improving education for girls.  In addition to active engagement by the host and international Rotary clubs, we have created alliances with municipal governments, school authorities and the local community of the Sacatepequez Department in Guatemala. Our team is well positioned to implement all aspects of the project and make a positive impact on boys and girls alike.