Imagine sharing a pit toilet with eight of your neighbours like this one never having seen a flush toilet in your life!  And, it is 100 metres away day or night, fine or stormy. This was the situation faced by nine families in Fiji until Suva North Rotary stepped in. 
In Waidradra Village, Fiji, extreme poverty meant that 55 people from nine families shared a single pit toilet for decades.  The picture shows this communal “facility” but there were problems.  The location had needed to be moved because its stench was creating complaints from other villagers.  Also, the new location was some distance from the family’s homes creating access difficulties, especially for women and children at night.  Not only that but the wider community had started using the same toilet, even breaking the lock to access, causing capacity issues.
The situation was brought to the attention of the Minister of Health and Medical Services who acknowledged the situation was exceptionally unhygienic and that ‘Its everyone’s responsibility to ensure that every home has a toilet facility”.  Unfortunately, Government assistance was limited was limited based on funds as it would take time for government assistance.  Suva North Rotary stepped into help after reading about the crisis in the media and reports and negativity  around the social media. 
Seeing the Pit Toilet first hand, they contacted and took the project on board promising the people of Waidradra  for a good sanitation including providing a flushing toilet also helping  to reduce disease linked to poor sanitation like typhoid,  diarrhoea and leptospirosis as they village had infants, children and young women.  The project was to provide the village with three toilet units and two washrooms connected to a site disposal septic system.
Suva North Rotary’s ambition for this project was further  supported by Rotary of Liverpool West, with financial support from the Rotary Club of Holroyd, Australia.  In March 2019, Liverpool West Rotary members flew in and did the initial piping and trench work with the keen help of the villagers.  However, time was against the Rotarians completing the full project themselves so this was completed by the villagers (one of whom is a plumber) by the end of year 2019.
Suva North Rotary visited the project at the end of 2019 to view the completed result and the handed over the newly constructed units to the people of Waidradra, Navua, on Saturday, 4 January 2020. Rotary Club of Suva North President, Hitesh Chandra said “it was a very special day for people of Waidradra who had been using one pit toilets for many generations now have access to proper sanitation including proper toilets, showers and sewage disposal.  By doing this combined project we have also helped in eradicating disease like diarrhoea and typhoid and other disease associated with improper sanitation”
Picture left:  Lorraine Evans Suva North Rotary, Suva North Rotary Club President Hitesh Chand, and DG Gary Langford visiting first toilet constructed.
The completion of this $7,000 project was a proud moment for the  village people, including the head of village who has been living in the village for 62 years and this was the first time using he had enjoyed a flushing toilet. 

Adequate sanitation and toilets are basic necessities that ensure and promote the health of people in developing countries. The importance of sanitation and toilets lies in helping reduce the spread of diseases. Sanitation systems aim to protect health by providing and promoting a clean environment.
Developing countries face challenges in accessing sanitation and hygiene care. Hundreds of millions of people do not have access to adequate clean drinking water and that over one million deaths are a result of diseases transmitted via unclean water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene.
Addressing these needs through Rotary falls under at least two of Rotary's Areas of Focus:
  • Disease prevention and treatment.
  • Water and sanitation.