By Chris Roesel, a member of the Rotary E-Club of WASH, District 9980
I am a Rotary member and the son of a Rotarian, and grew up in rural Georgia, USA, before the Civil Rights Movement. I saw structural and economic problems that I wanted to help but didn’t know how. Later, I attended the Air Force Academy, but that didn’t show me how to empower the people in impoverished communities, either. After I graduated from the academy, I joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Guatemala. What I saw and experienced there shocked me.
Returning to America, I reviewed Peace Corps health programs all over the world, then US Agency for International Development programs, and finally what the World Bank said were the best health programs in the world. I studied and analyzed all of these searching for the best answers. In the course of my work, I helped design, implement, and evaluate programs throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas, continually learning from experience.
Occasionally, I walked among scenes of great poverty. Families suffering together. Upset, I committed my life as a Rotarian to helping as many communities as possible as quickly, economically, and effectively as possible.
Now, as a 73-year-old Rotarian, I’ve formed a nonprofit, with the help of skilled volunteers. We work with Rotary clubs in Kansas, Uganda, and Kenya, as well as the E-club of WASH, to help dozens of communities each year.
Imagine what the world would be like if all 7.9 billion people on this planet had a chance to thrive.
Through projects in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and efforts that aim to prevent malaria and create economic development, we work with various collaborating agencies and volunteers to help half a dozen communities or more each year. Our objective is to empower them to live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.
In January 2022, a cross-disciplinary team including agency CEOs, businessmen, and two Rotarians, traveled to Kenya and Uganda to work with local agencies, communities, and government partners to improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of impoverished, under-privileged Africans. We visit, listen, consult, question, learn, and respond. Development starts with the people, not the intervening agency.
Just think if we could achieve a world in which everyone was allowed to be creative and productive, how much better off the world would be. Imagine what the world might be like if all 7.9 billion people on this planet had a chance to thrive and contribute to their communities.
In our work, we eliminate two of the four leading causes of infant death – diarrhea and malaria. We measure our effectiveness. We raise the average incomes of communities so our improvements are sustainable. It is thrilling, rewarding work. If you are interested in what we do, join us. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: Learn more about how Rotary clubs can partner with organizations including Peace Corps.