Diving Deep: a look at water conflict and policy

Jahan Taganova
Jahan Taganova

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.

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Decades of improving life in Uganda and Kenya

Woman at tippy tap
A woman in Uganda uses a new tippy tap to wash her hands in front of a latrine built by Rotary members.

By Chris Roesel, a member of the Rotary E-Club of WASH, District 9980

Chris Roesel
Chris Roesel

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.

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Seeing the impact we make in rural Ethiopia

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.

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Food bags fill void left by pandemic

distributing food bags
Members of the Rotary Club of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, check names off a list as they distribute food bags on the island of St. Helene.

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.

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Why our e-club is focused on WASH

E-club member Geoff Elliott at a water intake project in Ecuador.

By Chris Bloore, inaugural President, E-Club of WASH District 9980 (New Zealand)

A decade ago, Rotary water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects were having mixed results and limited sustainability. Establishing an e-club dedicated to WASH was a way to apply the discipline of humanitarian work psychology to volunteer-based aid programmes to address these issues. By carefully matching volunteers’ skills, experience, and personality to the real needs of sustainable water and sanitation projects, Rotary projects could give better value for the time, money and effort expended.

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What it takes to have a sustainable WASH project

Floren Naguit, second from right, with members of the Rotary Club of Intramuros, Philippines, and villagers at one of 28 toilets the club built for three Aeta communities in the mountains north of Manila.

By Florencio Naguit, Rotary Club of Intramuros-Manila, Philippines

In 2017, my club began our first global grant project, an effort to provide 28 toilets to three communities of indigenous people called Aeta in the mountains of central Luzon. Two of these communities were in an isolated area a five-hour drive from Manila (including two by 4×4 jeep over rough terrain) while the third is in a closer, more urban area. They have not toilets in their homes (like more than 9 million households in my country) and either rely on pit latrines of defecate in the open. This leaves them open to diseases like diarrhea and cholera.

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Why I Raise for Rotary: Doing Good with the World Fund

Trustee Brenda Cressey

By Brenda Cressey, Trustee and Rotary Member of South Portland-Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA

Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to take part in a multi-project mission with more than 100 Rotarians, spouses, Rotaractors and even a few new Rotarians from Rotary District 5280. We flew to Panama to visit project sites, perform cataract surgeries, and deliver wheelchairs.

There were several “Rotary moments” on that trip, but the truly unforgettable moment for me was when a grandfather, having no legs, was presented with the gift of mobility in the form of a bright red wheelchair. Continue reading

3 principles we use to beat the pandemic

Joe Otin

By Joe Otin, governor of Rotary District 9212

If ever in our lifetime there was a defining moment of earth-shattering proportions – this is it. The generation before us lived through World War II which universally altered the course of our destiny. From time immemorial our predecessors have faced seismic economic collapses, devastating armed conflict, climatic catastrophes, and other traumatic incidences that have led to desperation, death and destruction. Continue reading

Increasing the number of operational wells in Haiti through WASH projects

Neil Van Dine, a member of the E-Club of WASH in District 9980 (New Zealand), spent 15 years on projects to bring wells and hand pumps to communities in Haiti, struggling to keep them operational. In 2004, he commissioned a survey that revealed half of the wells weren’t functioning. Previous efforts to provide maintenance weren’t holding up. So Van Dine and his team reassessed and came up with a new plan: His Rotary club trained the community to develop a business plan that involved the whole community. The plan involves collecting a small amount of money from each household that is earmarked toward maintenance and repairs of the wells. Now, 90 percent of the wells they have built are operational.

While today is World Water Day, Rotarians will continue solving problems around the world with their expertise. Learn more about Rotary International’s initiative to provide clean water and how Rotarians like Van Dine are mobilizing resources around water, sanitation, and hygiene.

New Programs of Scale grants for new year

Using global grant funding, Rotary members provided a well, water tower, and new fountains to a village in Benin.

By Victor Barnes, Director of Programs & Grants

In 2013, Rotary set out on its new grant model under the Future Vision Plan, in the hopes that the approach would enhance the scope, impact, and sustainability of humanitarian projects. More than six years later, and with over $460 million invested in almost 7,000 projects across the globe, Rotary is ready to augment these critical investments with a new grant type. Beginning January 2020, Rotary International is introducing a highly selective, competitive grant model that empowers Rotarians to implement large-scale, high impact projects with experienced partners. Continue reading