By Dean Rohrs, Rotary Foundation Trustee and past RI vice president
A few years back, I was taking part in a polio immunization field trip in northern Nigeria, vaccinating children against the disease. After a dusty trip on non-existent roads right into the northern Nigeria countryside, I was dropped off under a tree with a Rotaractor translator, one other Rotary member, and the local polio immunization team. This is an area frequented by Boko Haram and although I grew up in Africa, and am adventurous, I wasn’t sure that I would ever be found again.
No matter who you are or where in the world you come from, there is one thing that unites us all and makes us uniquely human: our need for clean water. Jahan Taganova is the recipient of a global grant scholarship from District 5340 to pursue a master’s degree in the Water Cooperation and Diplomacy program. Organized by the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands, the UN Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica, and Oregon State University in the United States, it trains future water managers and other professionals to address competition over water. Writer, journalist, and natural resource advocate Ella Rachel Kerr spoke with Taganova about the dangers of conflict and how we can advocate for our number one resource, clean water.
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.
By Samson Tesfaye Woldetensaie, 2020-21 assistant governor for District 9212, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
In my club, Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Central-Mella, we are currently working on a water project to develop and build wells in 24 rural communities in southern Ethiopia. The evidence and data that we gathered have helped us identify the community’s needs and helped us determine the best way to address them.
This project aims to improve the quality of life of the residents who lack access to clean water and the daily routines once clean water is near and accessible. These communities often have to walk long distances to reach a water source that is often dirty and carries water-borne diseases.
By Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen, Rotary Club of Roatan, Bay Islands,Honduras
I am on a small boat fully loaded with food bags headed for the people of St. Helene, a small island about two miles long and one mile wide, separated by a canal from the island of Roatan. Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands located off the northern coast of Honduras.
As the waves are striking our boat, my thoughts wander to the approximate 1,000 people in 218 households who are in need of the food we’re delivering. Many of whom have no income because they lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Helene has no roads and no infrastructure. Its people are descendants of African slaves brought by the British to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands who then migrated to Roatan after gaining their freedom in the 1830’s.