Stories of sustainability from Mt. Kilimanjaro

Children wash their hands from a spigot in Mwika, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Walt Schafer

Children wash their hands from a spigot in Mwika, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Walt Schafer

By Walt Schafer, a member of the Rotary Club of Chico, California, USA

After a 45 minute drive up a winding dirt road on the shoulder of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we arrived at a new waste-high trench and could smell the soil of the fresh dig.

About 75 young farmers had made remarkable progress digging the trench for a new four-inch water pipe in just two hours. The water pipe will transport clean water trickling down from a tiny stream higher up the slope to Mwika, Tanzania. Continue reading

Rotary collaborates with others for clean water

Ron Denham, chair of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, addresses Rotary’s commitment to water at an independently organized TED event.
 
By Ron Denham, a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto Eglinton, Ontario, Canada, and chair of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group.

A change is taking place in the way Rotarians approach water and sanitation programs.

We realize that the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals is something that no organization can achieve on its own; not even Rotary with its 33,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members. To be successful we need leverage, the leverage that comes from collaboration with others who share our goals. Continue reading

Lessons in sustainability from the jungles of Ecuador

Children in Guayaquil, Ecuador, receive computer training in their new learning center.

Children in Los Bancos, Ecuador, receive computer training in their new learning center.

By Rob Wood, past president of the Rotary Club of South San Francisco, San Francisco, USA

A few years ago, I learned valuable lessons in sustainability trying to help the people of Los Bancos, a community of about 100 villagers living in extreme poverty in the jungle near Guayaquil, Ecuador.

As president of my club in 2007, I was expected to come up with an international service project and had heard about a new club in Guayaquil looking for an international partner. When I asked them what the villagers needed, they answered “They need everything!” Continue reading

Preparing for the future

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

By Rotary Foundation Trustee Ashok M. Mahajan

Buddha said “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” This, in my opinion, is a call for service.

But for Rotarians to undertake projects that change lives, seeing the future is important. We work for a future where people everywhere can live in peace and harmony, enjoy a decent standard of living, and know that their children are safe and have a bright future. Continue reading

Rotary and UNESCO-IHE partner to raise water standards

RI President Sakuji Tanaka (second from right) visits a lab at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The Netherlands, in November. From left are Kaycee Okoli, a Rotary Scholar from Nigeria; Titia Jonkman, spouse of governor Nico Jonkman of District 1600; and Henk Jaap Kloosterman, the district’s UNESCO-IHE coordinator.

RI President Sakuji Tanaka (second from right) visits a lab at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, The Netherlands, in November. From left are Kaycee Okoli, a Rotary Scholar from Nigeria; Titia Jonkman, spouse of governor Nico Jonkman of District 1600; and Henk Jaap Kloosterman, the district’s UNESCO-IHE coordinator.

By Henk Jaap Kloosterman, a member of the Rotary Club of Voorburg-Vliet, The Netherlands, and district UNESCO-IHE coordinator

My Rotary life suddenly changed in late 2011, when Rotary Foundation Trustee Stephen R. Brown dropped me an email, saying he was coming to The Netherlands to talk to UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education.

I knew Stephen from his former involvement in efforts on getting Rotary started in Afghanistan and the Sultanate of Oman (where I lived at the time), and now I suddenly found out that Steve was Continue reading

Rising to the challenges of water management at UNESCO-IHE

Rotary Scholar Kenechukwu "Kaycee" Okoli in Delft, Netherlands.

Rotary Scholar Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli in Delft, Netherlands.

By Kenechukwu “Kaycee” Okoli, Rotary Scholar from Nigeria

Leaving Nigeria for Delft, Netherlands, to take part in a Rotary scholarship program at UNESCO-IHE has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. It has been a goal of mine to pursue advanced studies in hydraulic engineering. Being a Rotary scholar, not only has funding been provided for my graduate studies, but I am part of a strategy conceived by Rotary to address the complex issues of water and sanitation. It inspires me to rise to the challenge of seeking solutions to the world’s water and sanitation crisis as a water professional. Continue reading

Incoming district governors discuss 2013-14 RI theme

The 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives

The 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives

By Daniela Garcia, RI editorial staff, reporting from the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA

Incoming district governors broke into applause as RI President-elect Ron Burton announced the 2013-14 RI theme, Engage Rotary, Change Lives, during the first plenary of the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future leaders.

I asked several of the future leaders their thoughts about the theme, moments after it had been announced here in San Diego, California, USA. Here is what they said: Continue reading

The impossible becomes possible with teamwork

Walter Hughes

By Walter Hughes, grant chair for Rotary District 7570 and a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA

What is our role as Rotarians? How big can we dream? Can Rotary be involved in eradication of Polio and Guinea Worm Disease from the world?

Over 80 Rotary clubs were part of the effort to eradicate the three-foot long parasite in Ghana. Could we do it again? Rotarian Kenny Lovelace and I went to South Sudan in October 2012 to find out. Continue reading

Responding to flooding in Niger

Mike Freeman (far right) helps deploy disaster relief aid from ShelterBox following severe flooding in Niger. Photo courtesy of ShelterBox USA

By Mike Freeman, Rotarian and Shelter Box Response Team volunteer from Gainesville, Georgia, USA 

On 26 August, I arrived in Niamey, Niger, as member of a ShelterBox Response Team, along with team member Fiona McElroy from the United Kingdom. The area is experiencing its worst flooding in 50 years, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had put out a request for assistance. 

Prior to the flooding, the country was already struggling with an invasion of locusts, a cholera epidemic, a flow of refugees from Mali, and a food shortage affecting all of the Sahel region. The flooding has seriously stretched the government’s resources.  Continue reading

RI President: Receiving a goat in Kenya

RI President Sakuji Tanaka receives a goat as a gift during his visit in Kenya.

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

While I was in Africa recently, I traveled through eight countries and nine cities, meeting people and projects along the way. What I saw amazed me.

For example, I met Rotarians who had an impressive ability to identify the needs of orphaned children. They were using grants from The Rotary Foundation to help support a dairy farm in Kenya. Continue reading