Beer lovers brew up plan to provide access to clean water

Thousands of Rotary members gathered in Atlanta this week for the 2017 Rotary International Convention to make new friends and find inspiration while attending exciting events and celebrating The Rotary Foundation’s 100 years of Doing Good in the World.

In the House of Friendship, members had the opportunity to network with fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors, Rotary’s partners, service projects, and learn from the expertise of Rotarian Action Groups, as well as enjoy the passion and hobbies of Rotary Fellowships.

Beers Rotarians Enjoy Worldwidewater (BREW) were pouring free samples at their booth! The fellowship combines service and a shared love of beer. The group has recently finalized an agreement to donate 25 percent of their membership dues and any money they raise through fundraisers to the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, which will apply the funds to service projects that provide clean water.

“It’s great to know that you can drink a beer, and do good at the same time,” said Steven Lack, a member of the Rotary Club of Pleasant Hill, California, USA, and co-chair of the fellowship.

This story was featured on the live coverage of the 2017 Rotary Convention. Follow the coverage to find photos, videos, live blog posts, speeches, and more. And share your convention experience on social media with #Rotary17.


Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.

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.


Take the plunge, it’s World Water Day!

By Rebeca Mendoza, Rotary International Regional Grants Officer

Today, World Water Day, is dedicated to learning more about water related issues, sharing our individual stories and projects, and taking action to make a difference. Nearly 1.5 billion people work in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on the safe delivery of water. The theme for World Water Day 2016— water and jobs — focuses on how access to sufficient quantities and adequate quality of water can change workers’ lives and livelihoods – and transform societies and economies.*

Cimenagraph_ghanaRotarians are working hard to improve lives through clean water. As a Regional Grants Officer for District 9211, which consists of Uganda and Tanzania, I receive a high volume of applications for Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) grants.  While WASH initiatives in this region vary by location, many of them consist of providing wells and rainwater harvesting, improving sanitation, and many are WASH in schools projects. In honor of World Water Day, I hope the following responses to two common questions about WASH grants help your club and district strengthen your water and sanitation projects:

What are the most important components of water and sanitation projects?

The strongest WASH grant applications include a thorough community assessment that consists of an evaluation of the communities, their assets, and their priorities. This assessment may be done through discussions or surveys, but the most important thing is that an open dialogue is carried out with not just the sponsors, but with the local community members.

For all of these projects, we suggest starting with a detailed implementation schedule that lists infrastructure activities (e.g., constructing latrines) and their duration, training activities, and monitoring and evaluation activities. Rotarians will often provide descriptions of the environment in grant applications, as well as water statistics. While this is great information, it is not sufficient because it does not specify how the proposed technologies and interventions were selected and why the selected technologies/interventions are best for the particular community.

What makes a project sustainable?

One of the most important components of a WASH project is the training and outreach to complement the systems being implemented. The kind of training will vary by project type, but some sort of training is always required to make the project sustainable.

In my opinion, this is where Rotarian involvement matters most. The training provides an opportunity not only to share important information about best WASH practices, but also helps establish lasting connections with the communities in which these projects are taking place. Some of the best projects I see have substantial training and outreach by Rotarians and the outcomes show that this makes a huge difference in the project’s long-term success.

Traditional charity and aid alone will not solve the problems caused by poverty but building relationships and empowering communities will transform communities. Rotarians have a contagious enthusiasm for doing good in the world. The projects I see that have significant Rotarian involvement spread this positive outlook and enthusiasm throughout communities. I know you can’t measure these things, but I’d like to argue that these experiences, filled with passion and dedication, lead to long-term sustainability. Community members feel empowered by being able to take part in solving their own challenges; empower community members eagerly go on to help others.

Water is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development. If you are planning a WASH project, consider the impact you can make beyond the provision of water supply.

Join the #WorldWaterDay celebration by using #WaterIs to share messages about #Rotary Water and Sanitation initiatives on Twitter and Facebook.

*[United Nation’s World Water Day website]



Celebrate Rotary Water and Sanitation Month!

By Azka Asif, Rotary Programs Staff

Clean water is a basic human right that many are often denied.  There are 2.5 billion people in the world that lack access to improved sanitation and 748 million people that don’t have clean drinking water. Nearly 1400 children die each day from diseases caused by lack of sanitation and unsafe water. When people have access to clean water, they live healthier and more productive lives.

ITell-Everyone-Goal-6-640x670n 2015, the United Nations introduced their new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty and promote prosperity while protecting the environment and addressing climate change. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 on water and sanitation encourages us to address universal access to drinking water and sanitation along with improved water management to protect ecosystems and build resiliency. *

Rotary members are committed to reaching the water and sanitation SDG through projects like building wells, installing rainwater harvesting systems, and teaching community members how to maintain new infrastructure.

During March, Rotary Water and Sanitation Month, we’re celebrating our commitment to create healthier communities by supplying clean water and sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.  Here are just a few examples of club service projects that are creating a lasting impact:

  • The Rotary Club of Bangalore Metro in India installed a water purification plant in the village of Ramanahalli. Due to extensive mining, the ground water in this rural community is completely contaminated with fluorides and other contaminants. The new water purification plant provides reliable access to potable water.
  • In the rural community of Bharat Pokhari in Nepal, villagers walk 25 km to fetch buckets of water every day. Oftentimes girls spend two hours a day bringing home water before and after school. In partnership with the Rotary Club of Williamson (USA), the Rotary Club of Pokhara installed a water tank in the village giving more than 500 families access to safe drinking water closer to home.
  • The Rotary Club of Suna Migori in Kenya provided a source of clean rainwater to students at four schools and a clinic. At each location, Rotarians provided new latrines and hand washing stations. The project has impacted more than 1500 students and their families, hundreds of patients at the clinic, and increased school attendance especially among girls.
  • In rural Ghana, seven million people are at risk from waterborne diseases. Rotarians are working with partners to address community water and sanitation needs. Watch the video below about this project.

Throughout the month of March, encourage fellow Rotary members to check back here for tips, resources, and inspirational success stories to help plan club and district water and sanitation projects. Add your voice to the conversation using the blog’s commenting feature and share how your club supports water and sanitation initiatives on Rotary Showcase. 

*[United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2015]




Dive into action: it’s World Water Day!

By Ellina Kushnir, Rotary Programs staff

Every 22 March, World Water Day, clubs around the world join the global community to reaffirm our commitment to improving access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. This year, the United Nations urges us to undertake initiatives that address inadequate access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation, sufficient food, and energy services.

How is your club or district addressing issues related to water shortages, barriers to water access, and sanitation challenges? Share your story on Rotary Showcase:

  • CondegaWith the help of a Rotary grant, two English clubs are working with the Rotary Club of Antananarivo Faneva, Madagascar, to provide clean water to villagers in the Analamanga region. Working with local community members, the partners have provided resources and training install and maintain clean piped water.
  • Determined to reduce water borne diseases in the Condega community of Nicaragua, Rotarians from Oregon, USA, are working with the Rotary Club of Estelí, Nicaragua, to provide water filters and train local families on the importance of properly using these supplies for consumption, personal hygiene, cooking, and animal herding.

We still have much work to do to help communities around the world access clean water. You can request project support on Rotary Ideas:

  • watersystemThe Rotary Club of Heliopolis, Egypt, is seeking international partners to apply for a Rotary grant that will help provide a water system to 3,000 people in the Al Adly village.
  • The Rotary Club of Kahihi, Uganda, is looking for international partners to help sponsor a water filtration system at the The Bishop Coomboni College, located in Kambuga region. Read about the project plans and how you can help.

Interested in starting or contributing to an existing water initiative? It’s time to take action:

  • Subscribe to this blog for tips, resources, and inspirational success stories to help plan your own water and sanitation projects.
  • WASHWork with Wasrag, the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group. Contact Wasrag to learn about current water projects, find information resources including technical guides (available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) for developing and implementing water projects, or to connect with a Rotarian expert.
  • Participate in Wasrag’s 2014 World Water Summit in Sydney, Australia, for a day of workshops, information sharing, and networking around sanitation, water issues, and hygiene education . The Summit will be hosted Friday, 30 May, immediately preceding the 2014 RI Convention.