Rotary Community Corps empowers people living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By Past District Governor Barry Clayman, District 7950, President of Rotary Community Corps of Adult Day Health Programs, Inc.

In 2001, the program director of Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) at the New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton, Massachusetts, USA, reached out to the Rotary Club of Brockton for financial assistance. This outpatient program offers each participant individualized professional and nursing health care based on their needs. The intent of the request was to financially assist families that could not afford the program. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and other medical issues, could be well served if able to participate.

An estimated 120,000 people, in Massachusetts, live with Alzheimer’s/Dementia and that number is expected to grow. The club president reached out to me in my capacity as District Governor at the time and we decided to form a Rotary Community Corps (RCC). RCCs, composed of members from the local community, help plan and carry out projects based on their community’s needs. With the support of the District, the Club established the Rotary Community Corps of Adult Day Health Programs, Inc. (RCCADHP) to support the clients needing the outpatient Adult Day Health Care services.

The RCCADHP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax exempt entity with the goal of providing funding for clients that meet care and financial qualifications. At the time of this writing, the RCC has provided 9,100 ADHC outpatient days, at the Hospital, with a value of $542,600 USD.

The beneficiaries are able to avoid nursing homes by continuing to live in the comfort of their own homes while receiving needed daily outpatient services and care at the hospital. Their family members are at peace knowing their loved ones are in a nurturing environment, receive two meals each day, and participating in stimulating activities with opportunities for socialization. This allows families respite to work and maintain other responsibilities.

The Rotary Community Corps of Adult Day Health Programs, Inc. is led by twelve members of a Board of Directors and is an entirely volunteer organization with no paid employees.  Funding for the RCC is generated from grants, Rotarians and fundraising.  The most recent grant is from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. In the spring, we will host our Annual Stepping-Up Walkathon to raise money and awareness.

While the RCC addresses the need of clients with existing Alzheimer’s/Dementia and other medical issues, we understand the need for scientific research to work towards an ultimate goal of determining the cause of these illnesses. Studies project an exponential increase in the number of Alzheimer’s/Dementia cases in the years ahead.  To that concern, Rotary is stepping forward in supporting much needed research. Our RCC aims to continue to support those in our local community suffering from Alzheimer’s/Dementia while raising awareness of these illnesses.

Contact us to learn more or start a similar program in your area.

Making a splash on World Water Day!

By the Water and & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag)

Today, World Water Day, is a wonderful opportunity to take a look back at the goals Rotary members have achieved in the Wash, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. Founded in 2007, the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag) strived to reach the Millennium Development Goal’s target of reducing the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 50% by the year 2015.  Rotary members around the world played a significant role in meeting that ambition goal, five years ahead of schedule.

But, nearly 663,000 million people lack access to safe water.* There is still much work to be done. The new Sustainable Development Goal 6 is calling for action to ensure everyone has access to water and sanitation by 2030.

Join WASH-minded Rotarians in meeting the water challenge, providing sanitation and most importantly – adopting proper hygiene practices. Rotary is leading the charge in many areas, including:

  • Rotary’s WASH in Schools Target Challenge: a pilot program to develop sustainable WASH and education projects in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, India and Kenya.
  • Partnering with the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement sustainable, long-term projects to improve water supply, sanitation, and hygiene in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and the Philippines.
  • Providing clean, safe water to every public school in Lebanon, so students can be healthier and be able to focus on their education.
  • A major program in Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries, to rehabilitate old water points and build new ones. The project also includes construction of a number of public latrines in schools, markets and health centers.

These are just a few examples of the many Rotary projects focused on WASH! Make this World Water Day the day you commit to joining Rotary’s water team by taking action. Contact us at info@wasrag.org or learn more at www.wasrag.org.

Join the global celebration by using #WorldWaterDay to share messages about Rotary Water and Sanitation initiatives on social media.

* Source:  www.water.org

World Water Summit

Are you attending the 2017 Rotary International Convention? Come early and join us for Wasrag’s Annual World Water Summit! The 2017 summit will focus on WASH and Women – A Brighter Future.

Hear first-hand the stories of women in the developing world and how access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene has transformed their lives. Learn about the challenges they faced and how Rotary helped along the way.

Stay for the afternoon workshops which will be focused on global grants, behavior change strategies, choosing the best technology for your project, engaging with communities, gender issues, and approaches to menstrual hygiene management.

Date: Friday, 9 June, 2017
Location: Georgia World Congress Center
Time: 8:30 – 12:30
Register today!

Planning successful water and sanitation projects

By Carolyn Crowley Meub, former member of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag) Board and Executive Director of Pure Water for the World, an organization started by the Brattleboro, Vermont Rotary Club

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erica Gwynn, Rotary’s Area of Focus Manager for Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) about the components of a successful global grant. During our interview, we didn’t just discuss global grants. We spoke during the holiday season, when food is part of many conversations. It was for this reason that Erica and I first started discussing cooking and favorite recipes.

As we moved onto the real purpose of the conversation, we discussed how recipes and global grants are similar. Both require time, the proper tools, and need to have all the key ingredients before you begin. When one cooks or bakes, we envision the end result. When designing a water and sanitation project, there are necessary steps to be taken and key programmatic elements are needed.  We must start with the end in mind.

Carolyn: What is the unique perspective Rotary members bring to global WASH projects?

Erica: Rotarians bring a unique perspective to the project that non-government organizations cannot. Rotarians have relationships with local leaders, and they know the needs and capacity of the community. Understanding the local culture, water sources and availability, and community resources are critical to the success of the project. Rotarians are key to the design, planning and forecasting.  The more we see local Rotarians’ involvement, the greater chance for the grant being approved.

Carolyn: What are the key ingredients in successful and sustainable WASH projects?

Erica:

  1. Engagement with the community from the beginning to end – from the needs assessment phase, to post-completion monitoring and evaluation phase.
  2. Engage with other organizations and local or regional governments. There needs to be integration with other existing programs. Rotary-funded programs are part of the greater whole, and there should a collaborative effort made with other entities. Rotarians need to be at the table with other organizations to address the WASH needs and the solutions.

Rotarians cannot work in isolation. We know that the “Rotary Bubble” is not sustainable.  We need to expand upon the other work that has been done in the area as to not be a “one-off” project.

Carolyn: How else can Rotary members get involved within the WASH sector?

Erica: I believe the strength of Rotary is the advocacy role they offer, that can influence decision-makers with making real systemic changes in the role of governments. Rotarians are in a unique position, as they have great and extensive networks. Rotarians have changed national agendas.

Read the complete interview on the Wasrag blog.

Wasrag is an international group of Rotarians, their family members, program participants and alumni with expertise and passion in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Wasrag advises on club and district WASH projects while offering a wealth of resources for enhancing initiatives. Visit www.wasrag.org to access resources, become a member, or request assistance.

Related: 

  • Read more stories about water and sanitation projects to gain inspiration for club and district service projects.

From “over there” to “over here” – access to toilets changes lives

 By Clem van den Bersselaar, member of Rotary Club of Ormoc Bay (Philippines)

If you ask a Filipino living in a rural area of the Philippines where they go to the toilet, they will turn their head towards a non-specific direction and say “over there.” This means that they use any location that gives them some sort of privacy to do their needs. Women generally have to go longer distances to avoid prying eyes and avoid assaults. In fact, when one talks to local community health workers about the risks of open defecation, they tell you about parasitic and bacterial infections while also emphasizing the high percentage of women being molested or harassed.

In November 2013, part of the Leyte province in the Philippines was hit by the devastating typhoon Haiyan, the country’s worst typhoon affecting 25 million people and claiming nearly 6000 lives while leaving tremendous damage throughout the island.

Immediately after the typhoon, Rotary clubs from various countries came to the rescue. Local clubs responded with food supplies and worked with NGOs to begin rebuilding homes. Once immediate relief was provided, the focus shifted to meet sanitary requirements in restoring water supply and the construction of toilet facilities.

The Rotary Club of Ormoc Bay identified the WAND Foundation (Water, Agro-forestry, Nutrition and Development) as having the expertise to construct 20,000 latrines together with various NGO’s immediately after the typhoon in the province of Samar in the Philippines. WAND Foundation’s previous contacts with the Malmö (Sweden) International Rotary Club, provided a natural connection to propose this project at the 8th Multi Club Workshop (MCW) held in Ischia, Italy.  The project was accepted by the MCW and the partners applied for a global grant, which was approved in February 2016.  Seven Rotary clubs and three districts from Italy, the Philippines and Sweden contributed to the US $52,000 project.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The project included constructing 222 toilets in various barangays, six rainwater collectors, seven communal handwashing stations, 20 biosand filters, and community-led training seminars for the beneficiary communities. As a result, this project has provided nearly 1100 people with access to proper toilet facilities and almost 600 people now have a regular supply of clean water. The community-led training seminar included a series of group discussions and a workshop to demonstrate which practices can prevent water contamination and to recognize the interconnection of water, sanitation and hygiene. We also discussed the medical costs related to open defecation in order to help the community understand how much money is spent on treating illnesses resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene.

We are happy to report the beneficiary communities have not had a single case of parasitic or diarrheal infections since the project was completed. Now when asked where they go to the toilet, the proud community members say “over here”!

Looking for international projects to support? Attend the 2017 Multi-Club Workshop in London, England. The 11th annual event will take place 6-10 September. Learn more about the workshop and visit their website for more information! 

___

Related:

Empowering women today, and every day

By Azka Asif, Rotary Service and Engagement staff 

Today, International Women’s Day, is a time to celebrate the progress that’s been made in gender equality and women’s empowerment, and to call for continued action.

The Sustainable Development Goals number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning — are focused on promoting gender equality and education for all. We are living in a changing world, and that poses new opportunities as well as challenges for women. Check out these facts you should know about women in the evolving workplace.

The United Nations is calling on everyone to accelerate the 2030 Agenda by investing in girls and women. Below are some ways Rotary members are supporting the key targets of the 2030 Agenda.

Target: 

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.

  • The Rotary Club of Ankleshwar is surrounded by rural and tribal villages in the Bharuch District of Gujarat State, India. The literacy rate in these villages is low and dropout rates of students in primary schools are high, particularly among girls. Rotary members went door to door in 55 villages to meet with parents to convince them to send their girls to school. Their efforts are helping 130 young women complete their secondary schooling, and will continue to support those students pursuing higher education. Read more.
  • In Nigeria, a university president and local Rotary clubs are fighting Boko Haram by educating and feeding victims. Margee Ensign, president of the American University in Nigeria, arrived in Yola in 2010, and found herself amidst efforts to help hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing attacks in the north. Learn more about the role education plays in conflict areas.

Target:

End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.

Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

  • The Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) is working to free children and locals from slavery. Four hundred villagers live near Varanasi in India, 132 of them are in debt bondage slavery working on slaveholders’ brick kilns, farm and construction projects. Children are forced to work alongside their parents. RAGAS is working with anti-slavery organizations to provide education, food and ultimately free this enslaved village. Learn more about RAGAS and the work they do.
  • Recognizing the desperate need for domestic-violence services in their communities, Rotary clubs throughout Australia and New Zealand started fundraising and partnering with charities to raise awareness and work on prevention and victim support. Read more.

These are just a few examples of the many projects and initiatives Rotary members undertake to empower women and girls around the world. We want to hear from you! Share how your club or district is promoting gender equality in the comments below.

Watch three amazing Rotary women discussing the power and role women have in changing the world. Follow #IWD2017 on social media to share the work you are doing and join the global conversation.

Getting the most from Rotary’s social tools

By Chelsea Mertz and Rebecca Hirschfeld, Rotary Service Connections staff

Is your club looking to implement a service project, but lacking funds or materials? Are you seeking specific expertise within the areas of focus to assist with planning and applying for a global grant? More than 25,000 Rotary clubs and members are using Rotary’s Project Lifecycle Kit to reach their service goals.

The Project Lifecycle Kit, consisting of – Discussion Groups, Rotary Ideas, and Rotary Showcase – is your one-stop-shop for digital tools that can help you with planning and supporting your service project and then promoting and sharing its impact. These online tools help the Rotary family build connections, find project resources and partners, and share their successes to help you be more effective, efficient, and ready to take action! These tools represent the many phases of a service project and serve as a set of resources that can ensure success throughout the lifecycle of a project.

While you brainstorm and strategize ideas, connect with others to exchange best practices through Rotary Discussion Groups. By soliciting support on Rotary Ideas, contributions from the Rotary community and beyond can help make your service goal a reality. Then share your project impact to inspire others through Rotary Showcase.

Join us on 14 March for the Getting the most from Discussion Groups, Rotary Ideas, and Rotary Showcase webinar to learn the Project Lifecycle Kit basics to help you maximize your project’s impact. Space is limited, so sign up today!

› Tuesday, March 14, 10:00 – 10:30 AM Chicago time (UTC-5); convert to your local time.

Take action during Rotary Water and Sanitation Month!

By Rotary Service and Engagement Staff 

Clean water and sanitation is a human right, but not everyone is afforded that right. Rotary members are providing communities with sustainable access to safe water, improved sanitation, hygiene management training. When people, especially children, have access to clean water, improved sanitation facilitates, and better hygiene habits, they lead healthier and more successful lives.

During March, Rotary Water and Sanitation Month, we encourage members to work towards Rotary’s goal of providing everyone with safe water, sanitation, and hygiene by 2030. Here are just a few examples of club service projects that are working towards that goal:

  • In Nepal, the Rotary Club of Durbarmarg collaborated with their twin club and the Rotaract Clubs of Phulbari and Eco-Himal Nepal, to provide access to safe drinking water for students at a government school. Students were drinking visibly contaminated, untreated water directly from the water source. Rotary members installed 14 low-cost colloidal silver-enhanced ceramic water filters with strong filtration systems. These filters were manufactured locally, and are a traditional practice in availing safe drinking water to those lacking access.
  • In the Philippines, the Rotary Club of Lubang Island trained mothers and children living in rural mountain areas on proper handwashing and sanitation methods. The community was getting their water from a local river and not washing their hands regularly. Club members trained the community how to keep their hands clean while conserving water.
  • In Nigeria, the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology lacked sufficient toilets on campus, leaving students to rush home to use the toilet. The Rotaract Club of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho decided to renovate an abandoned restroom on campus by adding access to water from the school reservoir, and cleaning up and painting the entire block of three male and three female compartments. The restroom was then handed over to school management for maintenance.
  • The Rotary Club Loja Los Zarzas in Ecuador aimed to provide safe water in the province of Loja to improve the living conditions of 50 rural families. Members installed a small pumping system powered by a solar panel, a distribution tank, a basic sanitary unit (shower, hand basin and toilet), a wastewater treatment system, and then implemented an organic family garden irrigated by gray water.
  • In India, the village of Kolawade was consuming unsafe water delivered by a rusted 40-year-old water pipeline. The Rotary Clubs of Pune Central and Pune Kothrud came together to provide a new pipeline for the village, allowing 1200 villagers to have access to clean and safe water.

How is your club and district providing access to water and sanitation? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Post your club’s project on Rotary Showcase and join the conversation in My Rotary’s discussion groups. Read more stories about water and sanitation projects to gain inspiration for club and district service projects.

 

2017 Presidential Peace Conference – Celebrate Rotary’s continued commitment to Peace

By Past District Governor Rudy Westervelt, Conference Program Chair, and Past RI Director Robert Stuart, Conference Chair

Dear friends,

Join RI President John Germ and us in Atlanta on 9 and 10 June, immediately preceding the RI Convention, for the 2017 Presidential Peace Conference hosted at the Georgia World Congress Center.  The conference will discuss some of our world’s most pressing challenges and highlight solutions to address the root causes of conflict.

The opening session kicks off on Friday, 9 June, at 13:00 with an impactful keynote address by Dr.  Bernice A. King, Chief Executive Officer of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Nearly 100 experts will speak on twenty-four breakout sessions over the two-day event. Attendees will select breakouts from six tracks representing a variety of topics including, but not limited to, disputes over natural resources, the refugee crisis in Syria and the Middle East, addressing illegal labor and sexual exploitation, strategies to address cyberbullying, and discussing the media’s role in perpetuating instability or advocating for peace. Each session will offer opportunities to engage with panelists and fellow participants.

Friday evening will conclude with a cash-bar reception and networking opportunities, and the conference resumes on Saturday morning with keynote remarks delivered by a special guest.

Join us to learn from experts from the Rotary family, non-profit leaders, policy makers, educators, representatives from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, Carter Center, Global Prosperity and Peace Initiative, Institute for Economics and Peace; Duke/UNC Peace Center, and much more. Gain inspiration from heroic members of the global community dedicating their lives to make lasting improvements for millions around our planet.

Space is limited and filling up quickly – register today! Take home solutions to address concerns within your own community and join us in working together to create positive change around the globe.

We look forward to seeing y’all in Atlanta!

Related:

2017 Presidential Conference: Celebrating our Commitment to Peace

Rotary programs offer opportunities to advance world peace

By Rotary Service and Engagement Staff

February is Rotary’s Peace and Conflict Resolution Month, a great time to take action in promoting peace worldwide. Rotary offers a variety of programs that allow members to discover new cultures, exchange ideas, promote global understanding, and develop leaders who become catalysts for peace. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Exchange opportunities

With 1.2 million members from 200 countries and geographical areas, you’re near Rotary friends wherever you go. Expand your worldview and build goodwill through a Rotary Friendship Exchange, New Generations Service Exchange, or Rotary Youth Exchange:

Discover new cultures

International service opportunities allow members to make connections, exchange diverse perspectives, learn from one another, and make a global impact. Engage with fellow members outside your club and district:

  • Regionally hosted project fairs offer life-changing opportunities for international visitors to learn about a host region, make new friends, and connect with clubs in need of international partners. Read how the West Africa Project Fair changed Rotaractor Shapreka Clarke’s life.
  • Twin clubs, or sister clubs, represent a long-term relationship between two international clubs that promotes understanding, goodwill, and collaboration on service projects in their communities. Celebrate this relationship with a Twin Club Certificate of Recognition.
  • Intercountry committees, which promote peace, friendship, and strengthen relationships between two countries, offer opportunities for members to foster inter-cultural understanding. Read how the France-USA Intercountry Committee is supporting young leaders working to advance peace and cultural understanding.

Rotary Peace Fellows

Through academic training, practice, and global networking opportunities, the Rotary Peace Centers program develops leaders who become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution. In just over a decade, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than 1,000 fellows for careers in peacebuilding. Many of them are serving as leaders at international organizations or have started their own foundations. Rotary members can support the fellowship program by:

  • Becoming a Peacebuilder District. Your district can support the Rotary Peace Centers by allocating a minimum of $25,000 annually in District Designated Funds (DDF). Learn more.
  • Promoting the program within your club and district to identify and nominate candidates for the fellowships. Use the resources on this page for recruiting candidates and publicizing the program. The 2018 Rotary Peace Fellowship application is available and candidates have until 31 May to submit applications to their district.

How is your club and district Rotary Peace and Conflict/Resolution month? Share what programs and activities you are implanting in the comments below!

Creating greater good in partnership with innovative change makers

By Ellina Kushnir, Rotary Service and Engagement staff

Noran Sanford, a licensed social worker, a man of faith, and a vested community member, is empowering a rural U.S. community to utilize overlooked resources and pioneer change from within. In 2000, Noran moved back to his hometown in rural North Carolina, USA, where he was stunned to find his childhood community continuing to face growing challenges.

North Carolina’s Scotland, Hoke, and Robeson counties compete for the state’s highest rates of unemployment, food insecurity, crime, and poverty. Yet, Noran knew that even the most challenged community houses a wealth of untapped resources and assets.

In partnership with universities, faith centers, state agencies, correctional facilities, businesses and corporations, community leaders, and vested organizations including the local Rotary club, Noran has created a model to transform closed prisons into skills training facilities and employment incubators specifically for troubled youth and returning military veterans.

Through his organization GrowingChange, Noran began connecting young people deep in the court system to the disenfranchisement of the communities they come from: by evoking the sense of shared struggle, paroled youth and community members rally around new opportunities. In his initial five-year clinical pilot, Noran saw a 92% success rate in helping youth who were headed to prison reverse their future.

Now young people serving probation terms are leading their community to reinvent a local symbol of the broken justice system, such as a decommissioned ‘work farm’ prison in Noran’s rural North Carolina. Today, religious leaders work side-by-side with homeless youth, university professors work with high school dropouts, returning veterans with troubled youth and state leaders with their rural constituents to directly address their own biases, change their behaviors, and develop a deeper sense of civic imagination and societal efficacy.

It is precisely Noran’s work with the returning veteran community that connected him with local Rotarian Paul Tate from the Rotary Club of Laurinburg. Paul first met Noran at their community church. As a retired U.S. veteran with extensive experience in international diplomacy, Paul became a strong supporter of Noran’s community empowerment approach. Today, Paul sits on GrowingChange’s Board of Directors and uses his professional skills to shape the organization’s strategy for engaging the local veteran community. Noran plans to soon offer veterans internship opportunities, and eventually create a hub for acquiring skills within the agriculture sector while simultaneously establishing an incubator for the creation of new jobs and fostering local entrepreneurs.

Inspired by Noran’s goal to break down social barriers, Paul worked with his club’s leaders to invite a group of former gang leaders to discuss the reasons youth join gangs, becoming disenfranchised members of their very own community. Had it not been for Noran and Paul, these two groups of community members would have likely never intersected. Intrigued by GrowingChange’s model, the Laurinburg club is exploring additional ways this site can be used to empower the community alongside instrumental local change leaders. GrowingChange is preparing to launch their initial capital campaign to transform their first site in Wagram, North Carolina. The model will then be given to other communities who are struggling to reuse old prisons, more than 25 in North Carolina alone.

Noran humbly credits the many different partners that have contributed to the success of his work. In 2016, Noran was selected as an Ashoka Fellow, joining a global network of social entrepreneur peers. Through a rigorous application and screening process, Ashoka finds, selects, and supports innovators like Noran and connects them to the resources and people that help their ideas thrive. Ashoka’s network currently consists of 3,300 Fellows in more than 80 countries. Very much like Rotarians, Ashoka Fellows are community leaders with a vested interest to work in partnership with the community to identify and leverage existing assets to address local challenges.

Inspired by Noran’s story and the partnerships he’s forging with Rotarians and other community leaders? Your club can also explore opportunities to partner with innovative social entrepreneurs in your local community. Ashoka Fellows can help you develop creative, innovative approaches to solving needs in the communities where you live and work. Search Ashoka’s network of Fellows and contact rotary.service@rotary.org for an introduction to a local change maker.