GRANVILLE — What if the only drinking water available was so contaminated that 3,000 children died every day from water-borne disease? That is the reality, today, in 2018, throughout the world. It is estimated that as many as two billion people do not have access to potable water.
Rotary has been at the forefront of projects to turn those numbers around, particularly through projects that provide developing countries’ schools and villages with sustainable water filtration systems. Clean water is one of Rotary International’s primary areas of focus which also include world health, literacy, environment, disease prevention, and world peace initiatives.
At Putnam County’s Feb. 22 meeting at the Clover Club, two speakers “on tap” from Rock Island Rotary demonstrated — and shared — actual filtered water, with Rotarians and Interact members representing Rotary’s affiliate Interact Clubs at Putnam County Junior High and Putnam County High Schools. The filtration unit they brought to the table costs $350 per unit and can provide clean water for up to 70 students for three years before needing to install a replacement filter that is included with delivery. Also included are basic health and sanitation resources, to be shared with students in each receiving schools’ education curriculum.
The Kenya project, benefiting numerous schools in that African country, was inspired and initially funded by a retired engineer and member of Rock Island Rotary in 2017. The project has since received support of the Northern Illinois Rotary District and several area Rotary Clubs. So far, the project had provided 134 filtration units, benefiting a total of 94,000 Kenyan students. Area Rotarians visiting Kenya schools this year saw the units in use, and were greeted as heroes by the teachers and students for providing not only water, but health and the opportunity for healthy children to attend their school.
Putnam County Rotarians and Interact members raised the number of units by five following Thursday’s presentation, with donation of a unit by each of the three clubs and two member donors. The project goal is to reach 150 units by the end of this year.
The program was presented by Rock Island Rotarians Robert Swanson and Dr. Bud Phillis, hosted by PC Rotarian Barry Chrenen. Brenda Bickerman, who serves as PC Rotary Liaison to the PCJH Interact Club, arranged for the program.
PCJH Interact Vice President Nicholas Currie and PCHS Interact members Selene Garza and Molly Boyd presented checks on behalf of their respective Interact Clubs, and PC Rotary President Debbie Buffington presented Rotary’s check. Donors Susan Thornton, who serves as Rotary District Assistant Governor, and Past District Governor Scott and Adriane Shore, also donated filtration units. For more information, contact PutnamCountyRotary@gmail.com.