By Ako Odotei, a member of the Rotary Club of Tema, Ghana, Africa. This is the first in a series of planned posts from Rotary members involved in the Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration that supports lasting, positive change to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives.
When the Rotary-USAID International H20 Collaboration asked Rotary clubs in Ghana to participate in the second phase of the partnership, there was a lot of excitement as well as some trepidation. US$4 million (the amount the collaboration has committed to each country for 2015-18) is a lot of money!
Even though we were successful the first time around (from 2009 to 2013), setting up a national project between clubs can bring some challenges of their own. We didn’t want clubs to feel as if the project was being forced on them. So we began by promoting the benefits of this partnership and project to club leadership.
Club leaders were informed of the long-term nature of the project, and the importance of choosing members with skills to ensure a successful outcome. To collect information and data, we asked local Rotaractors to help. We anticipate 34 clubs will participate.
As far as I am concerned, Rotary is all about fellowship and service and the collaboration presents Rotary members the opportunity to have a meaningful connection with the local communities and direct beneficiaries.
We are expected to raise $200,000, so securing an international partner and other club/district contributors are essential. To find an international partner, we advertised in the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG) bulletin. Thanks to the support of Past District Governor Ron Denham, we received a lot of interest and we secured a partnership with District 6380 (parts of Ontario, Canada, and Michigan, USA). We have worked with them in the past and are excited to once again work together. We would like to secure more District Designated Funds and/or cash contributions, so if you are interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In April 2015, the host project management committee, Global Communities (USAID’s implementing partner) and USAID Mission-Ghana began discussions with the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (the government agency in charge of rural water and sanitation in Ghana). Six areas in the northern, southern, western, and eastern regions were selected based on a needs assessment done by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency. From these regions, 13 districts were selected and approximately 130 communities have been earmarked for intervention. After the club committees are trained, we will conduct a needs assessment and verify needs in those 130 selected communities, then begin implementing the project in March 2016.
Some struggles we faced were getting all organizations on the same page. We are finalizing a plan which will include monthly informational meetings between the host project management committee, Global Communities, and the USAID Mission for updates, additional strategic planning and coordination of all activities.
About the author: Ako Odotei is chair of the host project management committee in Ghana for the Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration. The host project management committees are responsible for the oversight and coordination of the partnership on the ground in their countries.