Friday, 1 March 2019
March 2019 is Water and Sanitation Month. Living in a tropical zone with abundant rainfall we may take water for granted. However, to many people living in other parts of the world, water is scarce. Even when there is water there is a problem of having water that is safe and clean enough for human consumption. In fact, human being need clean water to survive and to thrive. It is sad to note that at least 3,000 children perish daily due to diseases caused by unsafe water. Waterborne disease is a common problem in undeveloped countries.
Rotary is doing its part in addressing this problem by building wells, by installing rainwater harvesting systems and by educating the community members how to look after the new infrastructure. Rotarians have also helped improved the sanitation facilities in undeveloped countries. They do this by building toilets and latrines that flush into proper sewer or safe enclosure. They supplement such efforts by education programs which teach people how to washing hands properly and how to practise personal hygiene.
When we talk about water we should also not forget about sanitation. Without proper sanitation, the source of water can be contaminated leading to the spread of diseases. In sanitation, we can draw inspiration from the work of Jack Sim. At age 40 Jack has become a successful entrepreneur running 16 businesses. Jack has sufficient money to retire but he wanted to look for a cause in which he could devote his time and energy. His hard work led to the founding of the World Toilet Organization in 2001. The United Nations voted this year to make World Toilet Day, 19 November, an official UN observance. Jack Sim gave credit to Rotary for helping him break the taboo around the subject of toilet. In October last year, his organization inducted Ron Denham, Chair Emeritus of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, into its hall of fame. By inducting Ron, Jack Sim gave recognition to the work Rotary and the action group have done to change behaviour and to improve sanitation.
You can also read about the dedicated work of Michael Anyekase. In partnership with Rotary members from across the globe, Anyekase’s work has helped eradicate Guinea worm disease and lessen the cases of dysentery, diarrhoea, and other common diseases associated with dirty water. Based on a review of the partnership by Aguaconsult, an independent contractor, more than 85 percent of Ghanaians now have access to clean water and this has surpassed the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of 78 percent by 2015.
I am happy to note that there are clubs in our District which have undertaken water and sanitation projects. This is commendable. Water and Sanitation is one of our Areas of Focus. I urge more clubs to carry out such projects.
Please note that 11-17 March 2019 is World Rotaract Week. Do work with the Rotaract Clubs to mark the occasion. Better still, join them in service projects which can raise the profile of Rotary in our community.
May I remind Rotarians that on 31 March 2019 the preregistration discount for the Rotary International Convention will end. So please register early. At the same time don’t forget to support our District Assembly ( 22-23 Mar 2019) and District Conference ( 26-28 April 2019).
Looking forward to welcoming you at the coming District Assembly in Johor Bahru.
Henry Tan Kok Hiang
District 3310 District Governor