As a multi-year, collaborative, multi-club and multi-stakeholder public-private partnership program at national scale with more rigorous monitoring and evaluation, the Rotary-USAID partnership is often the longest, most complex and demanding water, sanitation, and hygiene programming that Rotary’s grassroots volunteers experience. It is a significant departure from small, short-term service projects and leads Rotary members into hands on community development work over a period of at least three years.
The Rotary International grant provides funding for training of Rotary members to enable them to execute the complex activities of the program. The grant also provides support for transportation as Rotary members spend a fair amount of time working in the field and actively engaging with multiple stakeholders in rural communities.
In Ghana, Rotary members have contributed more than 10,000 volunteer hours to the partnership’s second phase from 2016 to 2021.
One of the Ghanaian members who has shown enduring passion and exceptional dedication to working in communities across rural Ghana is John Michael Appiah-Acheampong. Appiah-Acheampong works as a social work consultant in Ghana’s capital Accra, but he sets time aside each month to join a team of Rotary WASH advocates to carry out follow-up visits to a set of assigned rural communities outside of Accra. He has been documenting his experiences through a series of videos.
The Rotary program vehicle operated by driver Paul Anning allows Rotary WASH advocates is the mode of transportation.
Getting to some remote rural communities entails passing through some difficult roads amid thick vegetation.
Sometimes, the vehicle has to cross some treacherous obstacles to keep the journey going.
During inspection visits, Rotary WASH advocates assess the conditions and needs of communities through observation and dialogue. This is critical to help communities find the best adapted local solutions to their problems.
Rotary WASH advocates help hold contractors hired to build water, sanitation and hygiene systems to account over deadlines and the quality of construction.
When construction is completed, Rotary members are also there to carry out final inspections before handing over the facilities to the communities.
Follow-up visits to communities are critical and necessary to sustain the improvements brought about by the partnership. In some cases, Rotary WASH advocates discover disappointing surprises.
Crisscrossing communities also allows Rotary WASH advocates to identify things they could have done better and apply the lessons to future projects.
When necessary, Rotary WASH advocates often facilitate community meetings to help water and sanitation management committees address specific challenges. These meetings can help reinforce transparency and trust among all the key players and clarify roles and responsibilities.
Reporting by Mohamed Keita