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International delegation of Rotary leaders visits Pakistan in support of polio eradication

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Meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister of Health Zafar Mirza and other Pakistani leaders centered around the country’s renewed effort to eliminate polio

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan. (February 6, 2020) – A delegation of Rotary International leaders from around the world traveled to Pakistan this week to meet with government leaders including Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister of Health Dr. Zafar Mirza, Army Chief of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Dr. Rana Safdar, head of Pakistan’s Polio National Emergency Operations Centre.

The Rotary delegation included Holger Knaack, Rotary International President 2020-21; K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, Trustee Chair of the Rotary Foundation 2020-21; and Michael K. McGovern, Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. The group was accompanied by incoming Rotary Foundation Trustee Aziz Memon, who leads efforts for Rotary’s Pakistan PolioPlus program.

The government leaders praised Rotary for its prominent role in polio eradication and for providing vital financial support to Pakistan and other polio-threatened countries. Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion dollars and countless volunteer hours to ending polio.

Rotary is the organization credited with initiating the global effort to eradicate polio. When Rotary formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988, there were more than 350,000 cases of polio annually around the world. Today, due to the efforts of Rotary, its partners and world governments, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent.

In this week’s meetings, the Prime Minister acknowledged recent challenges in the effort to rid Pakistan of polio, and confirmed that Pakistan considers polio eradication among its highest priorities. The Government of Pakistan has already taken a series of highly effective organizational steps to manage the polio vaccination program and provide much-needed resources to ensure the resurgence of polio in Pakistan is put to an end. General Bajwa assured the Rotary delegation of the unwavering support and cooperation of both the Army and the civil forces to ensure that every child in every community throughout Pakistan is reached with the lifesaving polio vaccine.

Dr. Zafar Mirza, Minister of Health of Pakistan confirmed the country’s improved efforts to eradicate polio, noting that during the last round of national polio immunizations, approximately 40 million children were vaccinated.

Mr. Holger Knaack expressed his satisfaction with the visit and efforts by the Government of Pakistan to eliminate polio, stating, “We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with key leaders in Pakistan to learn about renewed efforts to eradicate the disease once and for all. We’re confident that with the support of the government and the Army, that Pakistan will get the job done.”

Mr. KR “Ravi” Ravindran agreed, stating, “Polio eradication is a massive effort that will require all elements of society to band together and work towards our ultimate goal of ensuring no child ever again is paralyzed by polio.”

During their visit, the Rotary delegation met with local Rotary leaders from Pakistan, which is home to more than 230 Rotary clubs and nearly 3400 Rotary members. They engaged with some of the major donors of the GPEI, and visited the National Emergency Operations Centre, where a high-tech data collection system monitored progress in real time.

While only Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to report cases of wild poliovirus, the remaining challenges to global eradication—such as difficulty reaching children amid insecurity and conflict and weak health systems—have proven to be the most difficult. In order to meet these roadblocks head on and ensure the continuation of program efforts, funding and support from donors and world governments is imperative.

Anyone can be a part of the fight to end polio and have their donation to Rotary matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit endpolio.org to learn more and donate.

# # #

About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit Rotary.org and endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

https://www.rotary.org/en/international-delegation-of-rotary-leaders-visits-pakistan-support-polio-eradication

Our world: Halfway around the world in 36 days

Our World

Halfway around the world in 36 days

On 2 June 2019, Lee Harman and Bill Ward set off from the Great Wall of China outside Beijing. Their destination, the Place Vendôme in Paris, lay 9,779 bumpy, muddy, dusty miles away. Their vehicle: a car built before either of them was born. This was Day 1 of the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, also known as P2P, a classic car rally that re-creates a 1907 race famed as one of the first automobile endurance events.

Harman and Ward’s P2P story began at a 2016 Christmas party of Morgan Owners Group Northwest — a club for enthusiasts of classic cars made by England’s Morgan Motor Co. After a couple of fellow “Morganeers” discussed their own experience doing P2P, Harman and Ward were captivated. Harman, a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Arlington, Washington, suggested doing the rally to raise money for polio eradication. “I’m a physician, and I’ve been involved with PolioPlus since I was a brand-new Rotarian,” he says.

When they crossed the finish line in central Paris on 7 July, Harman and Ward had raised an estimated $50,000 for End Polio Now.

There was just one problem: “We didn’t have a car between us that was appropriate for that kind of exercise,” says Ward, a retired U.S. Army field artillery officer who worked for the Washington state government. After much searching, they found a beauty: a 1931 Ford Model A Victoria — which they dubbed “Miss Vicky” — that already had some of the safety upgrades necessary for their epic journey. But there was much more tinkering to come.

Over the next two years, Harman and Ward made 54 major modifications to Miss Vicky. “The car was pretty much totally rebuilt with new parts or new pieces, including auxiliary fuel tanks and fuel systems and on and on and on,” Harman says. The original suspension got extra attention and replacement parts.

To verify that Miss Vicky could handle traversing Asia and Europe, Harman and Ward took it for what Ward called a “shakedown cruise” — a nautical term for a performance test of a ship. In 2018, they drove from Washington state to Toronto for the Rotary International Convention. “We went all the way up Pikes Peak and back to prove the car was ready,” Harman says.

Car guys like Harman and Ward know what it takes to drive long distances. Harman’s road warrior mentality even applies to other modes of transportation: He has flown a plane from London to Brisbane, Australia, and ridden a motorcycle from Kyiv, Ukraine, to Italy. But P2P isn’t like other long-distance travel. In fact, it’s not even a race — it’s a rally. In this kind of competition, the goal each day is not to arrive first; it’s to arrive at a specific location at a precise time. If a car arrives before or after its designated time, the team loses points, and at the end, the team with the fewest deductions wins. “If you show up early, it means you were speeding, and you get deducted a lot of points,” Harman says. “If you show up on time, you get deducted no points. If you show up late, you get deducted points, but not as many as if you show up early. By the third week we had 4,000 demerits, but we were still fourth in our subgroup and 18th out of 31 in our group of vintage automobiles. We didn’t do badly for novices.”

Another difference between road-tripping and rallying is the role of the passenger. In a rally, the person in the passenger seat is in charge of more than music and snacks — he or she is the navigator, a vital role. Each P2P team is given a tour book with detailed instructions that are accurate to the hundredth of a kilometer. “To get from point A to point B, there might be 300 or 400 instructions per day,” Harman says.

“We never failed to get lost going into a city or coming out of a city, because in most places we couldn’t read the road signs and the instructions were very tight,” Ward says. “You’re doing 35 miles an hour in traffic on a four-lane street. If you’re supposed to be in the left lane to turn but you’re not, you’ve got to backtrack and come back around. Those kinds of things keep you pretty busy.”

Breakdowns are also inevitable when you push an antique automobile to its limits. Along the route — which ran from China through Mongolia, Siberian Russia, Kazakhstan, back into Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France — Harman and Ward had to make plenty of roadside repairs. There was a dramatic tire blowout, two ruptured hydraulic brake lines, a blown head gasket, a tailpipe that fell off. Outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the team was on a highway when it hit a speed bump at the bottom of a hill and caught air. “But it wasn’t the first speed bump that got us,” Harman says. “That speed bump launched us into a second speed bump. It was like skiing moguls. We came crashing down. The metal part of the Model A is attached to a wooden subframe, which we broke. The doors wouldn’t close until we got it fixed.”

But for all the rough roads, most of the accommodations were surprisingly high-end — organizers put up the teams in luxury hotels. “One of the most luxurious places we stayed was in Erenhot, China,” Harman says. “It was absolutely amazing.” In the middle of Mongolia, hundreds of miles from any large town, the P2P participants camped out. Yet even here, teams enjoyed catered meals and bottles of fine wine at their campsites.

That was also the country that the two friends found most captivating. “Mongolia has magnificent scenery,” Ward says. Harman agrees: “It’s best described as what Montana must have looked like 150 years ago — no fencing, desolate and beautiful, just gorgeous.”

After 36 days, Miss Vicky crossed the finish line in central Paris on 7 July. Harman and Ward had raised an estimated $50,000 for End Polio Now, and they had accomplished their two other goals: “One, arrive in Paris having driven the whole route by ourselves under our own power,” Harman says. “There were 106 entrants: 103 made it to Paris, 21 under their own power who had never been towed or had ignominiously ridden on the back of a flatbed truck. Vicky was one of the 21.”

The second goal? “Arrive in Paris still friends.”

— FRITZ LENNEMAN

• This story originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

https://www.rotary.org/en/our-world-halfway-around-world-36-days

Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extending fundraising partnership to eradicate polio

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Partnership will infuse an additional US$450 million into global polio eradication effort

EVANSTON, Il. (January 22, 2020) – Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are renewing their longstanding partnership to end polio, announcing a joint commitment of up to $450 million to support the global polio eradication effort.

“Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, almost 19 million people are walking today who would have otherwise been paralyzed,” said John Germ, Past President of Rotary International who leads Rotary’s polio fundraising efforts. “By partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we’re ensuring that children in polio-affected countries get the lifesaving vaccines they need to be protected from polio for life. As the first organization to envision a polio-free world, Rotary is more committed than ever to delivering on our promise that one day, no child will ever again be paralyzed by polio.”

To an audience of Rotary volunteer leaders from around the world, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation delivered a video message announcing the extension of a funding partnership forged more than a decade ago. Rotary is committed to raising $50 million per year over the next three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation. This expanded agreement will translate into up to $450 million for polio eradication activities.

“The Gates Foundation’s longstanding partnership with Rotary has been vital to fighting polio,” said Mr. Gates in today’s message to Rotary volunteers. “That’s why we’re extending our funding match, so every dollar that Rotary raises is met with two more. I believe that together, we can make eradication a reality.”

In addition to the extended funding partnership with the Gates Foundation, Rotary is also announcing US$45 million in funding for polio eradication efforts in countries throughout Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan), and Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan and the Philippines). The funding will help support crucial polio eradication activities such as immunization and disease detection, research, and community mobilization.

Polio—a paralyzing and sometimes deadly disease—is on the verge of becoming the second human disease in history to be eradicated. This critical funding helps ensure that children in at-risk countries are protected from polio, and that the wild poliovirus is eliminated in the last two countries that continue to report cases.

While only Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to report cases of wild poliovirus, the remaining challenges to global eradication—like difficulty reaching children amid insecurity and conflict and weak health systems—have proven to be the most difficult. In order to meet these roadblocks head on and ensure the continuation of program efforts, funding and support from donors and world governments is imperative.

Rotary has contributed more than $2 billion to fight polio, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, and countless volunteer hours since launching its polio eradication program, PolioPlus, in 1985. In 1988, Rotary formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance later joined. When the initiative launched, there were 350,000 cases of polio every year. Today the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent.

Anyone can be a part of the fight to end polio and have their donation to Rotary matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit endpolio.org to learn more and donate.

About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit Rotary.org and endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-and-bill-melinda-gates-foundation-extending-fundraising-partnership-eradicate-polio

Rotary and the Gates Foundation extend funding match for polio eradication

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By Rotary International

Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced on 22 January that their long-term fundraising partnership, which generates up to $150 million annually for polio eradication, will continue. Under the agreement, Rotary is committed to raising $50 million a year over the next three years, and each dollar will be matched with an additional two dollars by the Gates Foundation.

In a video address at the 2020 Rotary International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, Bill Gates told incoming district governors that the partnership with Rotary needs to continue.

“The Gates Foundation’s longstanding partnership with Rotary has been vital to fighting polio,” Gates said. “That’s why we’re extending our funding match, so every dollar that Rotary raises is met with two more.”

He added, “I believe that together, we can make eradication a reality.”

The funding will support polio eradication efforts such as disease surveillance, technical assistance, and operational support for immunization activities.

The partnership between Rotary and the Gates Foundation has yielded $2 billion, and Rotarians have given countless volunteer hours to fight polio since Rotary started its PolioPlus program in 1985.

Be a part of the fight to end polio and have your donation matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit endpolio.org to learn more and donate.

Watch Gates talk about the extended funding match.

https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-and-gates-foundation-extend-funding-match-polio-eradication

Holger Knaack sees opportunities for Rotary to change, thrive

Rotary International President-elect Holger Knaack is encouraging Rotarians to seize the many opportunities Rotary offers to enrich their lives and the communities they serve.

Knaack, a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, revealed the 2020-21 presidential theme, Rotary Opens Opportunities, to incoming district governors at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA, on 20 January.

Rotary isn’t just a club for people to join, but rather “an invitation to endless opportunities,” said Knaack, who becomes president on 1 July. He emphasized that Rotary creates pathways for members to improve their lives and the lives of those they help through service projects.

“We believe that our acts of service, big and small, create opportunities for people who need our help,” Knaack said. He added that Rotary creates leadership opportunities and gives members the chance to travel the world to put their service ideas into action and make lifelong connections. “Everything we do opens another opportunity for someone, somewhere,” said Knaack.

Changing for the future

Knaack also urged members to embrace change so Rotary can expand and thrive. Rather than setting a specific target for increasing the number of members, Knaack said he’s asking clubs and districts to think about how to grow in a sustainable and organic way. He wants clubs to focus on keeping current members engaged and adding new members who are the right fit for their club.

We will capture this moment to grow Rotary, making it stronger, more adaptable, and even more aligned with our core values.

Holger Knaack

Rotary International President-elect

“We need to stop thinking of new members as people we can mark down as statistics and then forget about,” Knaack said. “Every new member changes us a little bit. That person brings a new perspective, new experiences. We need to embrace this constant renewal. We will grow stronger as we learn from new members.”

Knaack pointed to Rotary’s Action Plan as a compass that can guide clubs as they evolve. He recommended that every club have a strategic plan meeting at least once a year. At that meeting, clubs should ask where they want to be in five years and how they can bring more value to their members.

Knaack also wants to see more women in leadership roles and see Rotaractors play an integral role in how new clubs are formed and run. He encouraged district leaders to create new club models and rethink what it means to be in Rotary, and allow young people to be the architects of these new clubs.

“We have to be open to new approaches, and creating unique clubs for younger people is just part of the solution,” said Knaack. “Let Rotaractors decide what kind of Rotary experience works best for them. These young people are bright, energetic, and they get things done.”

In stressing the need for Rotary members to embrace change, Knaack noted that time won’t slow down for Rotary: “We will not let rapid change defeat us. We will capture this moment to grow Rotary, making it stronger, more adaptable, and even more aligned with our core values.”

https://www.rotary.org/en/holger-knaack-sees-opportunities-rotary-change-thrive

Rotary establishes peace center at Makerere University

Inaugural 2021 class will focus on shaping peace and development in Africa

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KAMPALA, Uganda (9 January 2020) — From human rights violations to the impacts of climate change, Rotary and Makerere University are offering a postgraduate certificate program to peace and development leaders who are from or who have worked in Africa to address the underlying challenges to peace in the region.

The year-long program in Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation and Development will emphasize issues and solutions that are of particular relevance throughout the African continent and beyond. Hands-on experience will complement coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies will focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

The program will incorporate the Positive Peace framework pioneered by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) as well as apply concepts grounded in mediation and negotiation, African philosophy, and indigenous mechanisms for conflict resolution. “For centuries, we have looked at peace as the absence of violence, without fully considering the other drivers in play,” said Olayinka Babalola, vice president, Rotary International Board of Directors. “Instead of merely examining the causes of war, Rotary Peace Fellows at Makerere University will explore the underpinnings of peace to achieve tangible measures of human wellbeing and progress.” The program is designed to accommodate working professionals with at least five years of proven experience in the areas of peace and development. There will be two cohorts a year each with 20 fellows, and the first class will begin in February 2021. The online application will be available in February 2020.

“Makerere University is situated at the heart of the Great Lakes region, which has experienced the most strife and the most conflicts in Africa,” said Barnabas Nawangwe, University vice chancellor. “We’ve had frequent experience with conflict, so we established our peace program more than 15 years ago to expand our expertise and augment our engagement in the area of conflict and peace. Partnering with an international organization like Rotary allows us to demonstrate on a global scale what we’ve been doing in our local environment. Based on our past rich experience, we can confront strife in populations all over the world.”

Every year, Rotary awards up to 130 fully funded scholarships for dedicated peace and development leaders from around the world to study at any of its seven peace centers programs. In just over 15 years, Rotary Peace Centers have trained over 1,300 individuals for careers in peacebuilding in more than 115 countries, and program alumni serve as leaders in both governmental and nongovernmental agencies, international organizations, and more. About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. To learn more about Rotary Peace Centers programs and fellowships and to start an application, visit www.rotary.org/peace-fellowships. About Makerere University: Established in 1922 as a technical school, Makerere University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Africa. It is composed of nine colleges offering programs for 35,000 undergraduates and 3,000 postgraduates. Its Department of Religion and Peace Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will host the Rotary Peace Centers program. To learn more, visit https://rpc.mak.ac.ug.

Contacts:

Rotary: Claudia Brunner, +41.44.387.7116, claudia.brunner@rotary.org and Stephanie Herzfeld, +1847 425 5797, stephanie.herzfeld@rotary.org

Makerere: Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala, +256772309982, hnkabala@chuss.mak.ac.ug

https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-establishes-peace-center-makerere-university

Toastmasters and Rotary partner to help members grow professionally and make a difference in their communities

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Jan. 7, 2020 — Members of Toastmasters and Rotary will enhance their skills, broaden their networks and increase their positive impact in communities through a new collaboration.

The ongoing relationship between the two organizations will begin at the grassroots level with local club members learning and working together. Additionally, Toastmasters will create a set of eight structured communication and leadership development courses for Rotary with a phased rollout that will be available in English in 2020, and in more languages in 2021.

“The strategic alliance with Rotary is exciting and allows both organizations to leverage our unique and similar strengths,” says Deepak Menon, Toastmasters’ 2019-20 International President. “We look forward to providing our current and prospective members with ongoing additional offerings that meet their evolving needs.”

With its first unofficial meeting held in Bloomington, Ill., in March 1905, Toastmasters is a global nonprofit organization with more than 16,800 clubs in 143 countries. Its members attend club meetings where they learn how to be more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. Toastmasters’ vision for the ongoing collaboration with Rotary is to change more lives for the better, and positively impact communities around the world.

“Collaborating with Toastmasters will provide our members with even more opportunities to develop and improve their leadership and communication skills,” said John Hewko, general secretary and CEO of Rotary International. “In turn, members of Toastmasters can connect with more people, take advantage of new speaking and learning opportunities, and make a difference in their communities through Rotary.”

Rotary provides its members opportunities to develop professionally, gain world understanding, and make lifelong friendships – all while volunteering to improve lives and bring lasting, positive change to communities.

Founded in 1905 in Chicago, Ill., Rotary is a global network of people committed to improving lives and bringing positive, lasting change. Each year, Rotary members contribute millions of dollars and volunteer hours to promote health, peace and prosperity in communities across the globe. Through volunteering, they make lifelong friendships that transcend political, cultural and generational boundaries and foster global understanding and respect.

For FAQ and to learn more about this partnership, please visit www.toastmasters.org/Rotary.

For further information or interviews from Toastmasters International, please contact dolson@toastmasters.org or call +1720 619 5344.

For further information or interviews from Rotary International, please contact chanele.williams@rotary.org or call +1847 866 3466

About Toastmasters International: Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization’s membership exceeds 358,000 in more than 16,800 clubs in 143 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. See www.rotary.org.

https://www.rotary.org/en/toastmasters-and-rotary-partner-help-members-grow

Container Loading October & November 2019

Each month Rotarian’s around the lower mainland help to load containers of gently used items to be sent to other clubs around the world and given to people in need. Containers pictured went to Havana Cuba.

 

Photos from October 2019 Container Loading

Photos from November Container Loading – Rotary District 5040’s 400th Container loading

 

Video from the 400th Container Loading

Rotary Youth Scholarship GoFundMe Fundraiser

To donate visit: GoFundMe Youth Scholarships

Rotary Club Lionsgate, established in 1975, is a service club dedicated to improving the lives of others both in our community and around the world. Located in North Vancouver one of the primary charitable initiatives is investing in our youth and future leaders. Through funding scholarships for undergraduate, graduate study and trades training we aim to help struggling youth get the education that they deserve.

Over the past 3 years we have raised over $23,190 and funded 22 scholarships for youth in desperate need of funds to help pay for furthering their education. Our scholarships are open to all students of the North Shore, including high school or other youth in need of education funding assistance, and or other aid support. Students go through a formal application process and funding decisions are based on a review or suitable applications.

We have had overwhelming demand from high school and other youth for scholarships, but we have not been able to fully meet the fundraising goals required to give all deserving students scholarship opportunities.

We are hoping through that this campaign we can raise enough funds to give scholarships to another 5 North Shore youth.

The Rotary Lionsgate Foundation is a registered charity and for donations of $25 or more we can issue tax receipts.

The Sustainability Challenge

10 years into the Rotary-USAID water and sanitation partnership, here’s what worked, what didn’t — and why

By Diana Schoberg
Photography by Andrew Esiebo

An old piece of railroad track is laid across a pit toilet. The walls are crumbling. The stench is overwhelming. It’s the only toilet for a school in rural Ghana, and most children refuse to use it. They do their business outside instead — or quit school altogether.

This is an all-too-common experience: Half of Ghana’s population lives in rural areas, and only 10 percent of those people have access to basic sanitation. Two-thirds can obtain safe drinking water — after a 30-minute round trip.

Since 2009, Rotary has been working to fix those deficiencies through a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The partnership combines the business skills and local community leadership of Rotarian volunteers with the technical expertise of USAID. Rotary is contributing $9 million to the $18 million partnership; outside of eradicating polio, it is Rotary’s largest partnership effort. “We wondered how these two organizations could come together and exploit the synergy between them,” says Rotarian Ron Denham, a member of the Rotary-USAID steering committee.

Ghana was one of three pilot countries when the program kicked off. Projects were implemented in two phases: Phase 1 concluded in 2013, and Phase 2 will end in 2020. “As a result of this partnership, we’ve been able to reach out to some very deprived communities,” says Emmanuel Odotei, WASH management specialist for USAID/Ghana. “If USAID had tried to do this alone, or if Rotary had done it alone, we would never have achieved as much as we have today.”

Throughout, the focus of the program has been on accomplishing three goals: improving sanitation and hygiene in schools and health facilities; increasing community access to safe drinking water; and advocating for ample government financing of WASH — that is, water, sanitation, and hygiene.

“We wondered how these two organizations could come together and exploit the synergy between them.”

  • By the numbers

    Rotary-USAID in Ghana

    (projected through 2020)

    174 latrine blocks (primarily in schools)

    166 community hand pumps

    6 mechanized boreholes

    3 reticulated water systems

    Benefiting more than 160,000 people

The installations and the number of people who benefited from the program were significant. But that’s only part of the story. The partnership also trained school health educators and community-based hygiene promoters to lead behavioral change campaigns that would deter open defecation (see page 38). It helped establish local committees to manage the water and sanitation systems after Rotary and USAID departed. And it empowered community leaders by showing them how to go to their district assemblies and demand that funds be allocated — and used — for water and sanitation services. “Rotarians are very well-connected,” says Alberto Wilde, the director in Ghana for Global Communities, a development agency contracted by USAID to implement the program in Ghana. “It’s easier for us to make changes in policy if we have the right people who can open doors with decision-makers.”

The scale of the program demanded the close involvement of more than 100 Rotarians. Roughly 30 of Ghana’s 50 Rotary clubs participated, and each of those clubs assigned members to remain engaged throughout its involvement. Each club supervises the implementation of multiple projects, some of which might be a six-hour drive away along dirt roads that are impassable in the rainy season. “Rotarians are making big sacrifices for the projects,” says Ako Odotei, a member of the Rotary Club of Tema and the Phase 2 chair of the host committee of local Rotarians directing the partnership alongside USAID. “These projects are their babies.”

Last summer, representatives of the partnership toured some of the communities where it had implemented projects. As is the case globally in the water and sanitation sector, some of the projects were successful and some were failures. Most were somewhere in between. Some of the lessons learned are described on the following pages — lessons that can help ensure success in future programs.

https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-usaid-sustainability-challenge

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