The Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg has completed its Global Grant request in  conjunction with the Rotary Club San Salvador Noroeste in El Salvador to build 180 composting toilets in the community of Metalillito. The grant request was approved on Dec. 15 and is funded by the Rotary Foundation as of Jan. 7.‚Äč

Pictured above is one of seven composting toilets which was completed in November 2013 in the community of Metalillito in El Salvador.

The Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg had been seeking a way to start this project since the fall of 2011 when our water well drilling team let by Frank Ulrich and John Petrie learned of this community's need. The team had observed the need for better sanitation in general and was looking for a way to help when they were led to the community of Metalillito. This community understood the need and had organized to seek solutions and welcomed the club's involvement. Since that time, the club's water/sanitation committee had sought a way to make it happen.

Finally, new club member, Don Seiple, led us to Salvadorian architectural engineer, Ricardo Barrera, who helped us really get going. The identified need is for 180 additional composting toilets to serve a community of about 3,000 people. We were seeking a Rotary Foundation Global Grant, but in the meantime using funds contributed to the club's charitable fund at the Mechanicsburg Area Foundation, Ricardo designed and supervised the construction of seven composting toilets. This enabled us to validate the design, determine the material list, and calculate the estimated construction cost.

A Global Grant requires a partnership with a Rotary Club in the host country, and we have developed a working relationship with the Rotary Club San Salvador Noroeste in El Salvador. We jointly completed the application for a Global Grant in early May 2014. It was accepted by our Rotary District 7390 and the Noroeste Club's District 4240. It went to the Rotary Foundation for approval and a technical review. The total Global Grant request was for $123,888 for 180 units. Our Club, its members, and other supporters have contributed $35,400 which will be matched by District 7390 and the Rotary Foundation.

The Global Grant was approved on Dec. 15. The clubs completed the process required to support sending the funds to El Salvador on Jan. 7. A meeting was held on Jan. 25 with Rotarian Alfredo Aquirre (host country primart contact), Tito Mancía (President of the El Salvador Club), Ricardo Barrera (Project Supervisor), and Edwin Mejía (Contractor), in order to review details of the project, so that they can begin the toilets construction in the first week of February. Stay tuned for updates.