The first dedicated ‘Water for Schools’ project was completed from 8th to 14th September 2019. Eight participants completed the trip to the island of Eastern Samar and were based in Borongan City.
Arriving on Monday 9th in Borongan City the team established contact with the local team on the ground being Pastor Robert, Bing and Pastor Ronnalyn. We then visited the Mayor of Borongan City who received us well and then we proceeded to visit the representatives of the head of the Education Department for the region and this meeting was very positive.
After preparing water filters and containers for the next day we all retired for some welcome rest as this day had started in Manila at 4.00am. Tuesday started with breakfast and then we split into two teams, boarded our buses driven by our very good drivers Barry and Alan and headed out to the schools. This day together with the other three were very enjoyable and were of a similar programme where the school Principal together with a number of teachers of each school were trained in the installation and workings of the filters.
It became very apparent that this ‘project’ was of a major benefit to all schools as it was clear that none of the schools visited had any clean potable drinking water. The water available for drinking was purchased by either the school or the students. The cost of these purchased amounted to some 20% of the daily wage. The major issue we were advised on was that the children in these school had severe problems with stomach upsets and diarrhoea, and of course because of this they get dehydrated, so they drink more contaminated water.
Along with our support team we also visited the Mayors of each Municipality who in turn were very supportive of our endeavours. This was also the case with the leaders of the Education Department for the island, who all eagerly invited us back next year.
From travelling through the countryside on roads that were partly concrete and partly gravel to accessing schools in boats made from ‘cut out’ trees were exciting times. Debriefs were held each day after a long eight-hour day and all these were invaluable for future planning of these projects. In each team we had two translators and these translators were used to also demonstrate the installation and workings of the filters.
Some Pastors also accompanied us, and these pastors represented the areas we went to. Through these people the feedback from our works will be monitored on a regular basis. It was also fun to have a teacher with us who single handedly managed to keep the children amused while the instructions were being given to the teachers.
During this time, we were able to visit 55 schools in the Municipalities of Llorente, Maydolong, Balangkayan, Dolores, San Julian and Borongan, where we distributed 100 filters. The sizes of schools varied from 23 to 500 students. 13,000 children will now have clean drinking water from this visit.
Finally, I must thank all those who participated, especially our Philippines team on the ground as without them we would not have been able to provide the level of coverage to the area. I believe this was a very successful project and I look forward to future ones that are being planned for June, July and September 2020. Should anyone wish to participate in this exciting project next year, please contact Impact Nations Australia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairman, Impact Nations Australia