Reducing poverty through economic and community development

By Azka Asif, Rotary Service and Engagement Staff

Globally, 836 million people still live in extreme poverty today. About one in five persons in developing regions lives on less than $1.25 USD per day. Global unemployment has increased from 170 million in 2007 to nearly 202 million in 2012, of which about 75 million are young women and men.*

How can we change that?

By supporting projects that focus on generating income and creating productive employment opportunities, we can reduce poverty. Providing income security and empowering women, people with disabilities, youth, and the extremely poor is essential to economic and community development.

Rotarians worldwide are committed to reducing poverty through projects that provide people with equipment, vocational trainings, and work to strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities. Below are a few examples of Rotarians taking action.

Growing local economies

The Constantia Rotary Club helped set up a community garden and farm training center for young residents in Khayelitsha, the largest township in Cape Town, South Africa. The club is working with Abalimi Bezekhaya, a local organization that helps create income-producing gardening opportunities, and partnered with Rotary clubs in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.

The garden yields many vegetables and herbs that supply Abalimi’s Harvest of Hope venture, which sells boxes of produce to middle-class Capetonians for a monthly fee. As the garden grew, a training facility was built for young, unemployed people, who could benefit from the knowledge of the older farmers. The training offers both practical instruction and theory, covering topics such as soil preparation, seedling production, cross-pollination, organic growing, and climate change.

Read more about the story in the October 2016 issue of The Rotarian or online here.

Providing vocational trainings  

The Rotary Club of Panaji in India conducted a vocational training program focused on training 12 women in stitching and tailoring. The workshop was conducted over a period of ten days for four hours a day to help women gain skills to be able to earn their own living and be financially independent. After the trainings, the women were each given sewing machines that they could use to start their own tailoring business.

Strengthening local entrepreneurs

Based on a community needs assessment, the Rotary Club of Ikeja in Nigeria concluded that traders or other local entrepreneurs interested in  growing their business did not have access to funding through local financial institutions. The club provided an interest free micro-credit loan to 20 beneficiaries to be used to enhance their businesses. After three months, those beneficiaries passed along the money to another set of 20 people. Over time, the revolving fund has assisted carpenters, tailors, barbers, hair dressers, various food sellers.

During October, Rotary Economic and Community Development Month, we’ll be sharing tips and resources to help with club and district economic and community development projects. Read previous posts below focused on growing local economies and check back here for more inspirational stories!

* http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

Author: rotaryservice

The Rotary Service Connections blog helps Rotarians plan effective and inspired service projects. If you have questions, comments, or story recommendations, contact us at rotary.service@rotary.org

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