How the Peace Corps and Rotary led me to a life of international service

By Mark D. Walker, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

As a naïve young man from Colorado just having graduated from a small university, I joined the Peace Corps with the dual purpose to travel, serve and, if possible, save the world. After four months of language and agricultural training, I landed in one of the most isolated sites in the highlands of Guatemala. Though beset with fear of the unknown and feelings of profound isolation, I became familiar with and appreciated the people of the rural community of Calapte. After several years on assignment, not only was I able to introduce new crop varieties which enhanced local production, but I mobilized the community to reconstruct their 100-year-old school. After a near-death experience took me to another part of the country, I met the love of my life and we established a stable bi-cultural home for our three children during the violent Guatemalan Civil War.

My first real job out of the Peace Corps was with CARE International in Guatemala. I was responsible for designing an agroforestry program to combat the destruction of the environment and increase agricultural production for small farmers working on steep hills. This began my thirteen-year career promoting rural development through various international NGOs.

My career in cross cultural settings promoting community development made Rotary a natural fit. In 1981, I joined one of the downtown Rotary clubs in Bogota, Colombia, where I was a Director for Plan International. I continued with Rotary in the United States and eventually served as president of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale in Arizona (United States). As the District Chair for World Community Service (now known as International Service) for District 5510, I lead groups of Rotarians to Guatemala, Honduras and Bolivia to form lifelong relationships with local Rotarians and develop programs such as a clean water initiative in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Naturally, my wife and I encouraged our children to consider the Rotary Youth Exchange program by hosting several students ourselves. Eventually our children participated and were hosted by different Rotary clubs in Germany and France where we made many friends among the local Rotarians.

My work in global development came to a sudden turn after I was let go as CEO of an international NGO. This unexpected twist led me to focus on my children and six grandchildren, also provided a new opportunity to reflect on what I’d accomplished, where I’d failed, and where the international NGO community had come up short. My memoir Different Latitudes provides an insight to this life I lived, and is a tale of physical and spiritual self-discovery through Latin American, African, European, and Asian topography, cuisine, politics, and history. You can read the book here to learn more about my journey.

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My journey with the Peace Corps and Rotary came together earlier this year when fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and Rotarian Steve Werner asked me to join the board of a new National Peace Corps Association affiliate, Partners in Peace. The goal of Partners in Peace is to improve service and friendship locally and globally by helping Rotarians, current and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers work together on projects that meet the goals of both organizations.

Our group aims to enhance the service partnership between Rotary and the Peace Corps. I’m working with Ross Feezer, President of the Rotary Club of Casa Grande, to identify and recruit fellow Rotarians who are also Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in Arizona to join the effort. Our group will have a booth at the upcoming Rotary International Convention in Atlanta and a district-organized Rotary- Peace Corps Workshop at the University of Denver in Colorado on 4 August, 2016. Personally, I’m astounded at the potential of this incredible partnership between Rotary International and the Peace Corps. If you’re a Rotarian Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, connect with our group and join us in jointly improving communities locally and internationally.

Start a new service project today!

By Chelsea Mertz and Rebecca Hirschfeld, Rotary Service staff

Does your club want to try a new type of service project or want to find a project in another region to partner on and are not sure where to start?

The Project Lifecycle Kit tools can help with all your service project needs. These online resources guide your project from inception to implementation while also facilitating connections with other Rotarians around the world. Rotary is unique in that service means more than just helping others. We’re also about forming valuable partnerships that make projects more sustainable and in turn help foster more peaceful communities. So which tools comprise the Project Lifecycle Kit?

Through Discussion Groups, Rotarians have access to a plethora of information from other Rotary members who provide valuable support during the planning phases of a project. Use these groups to pose questions to other members and tap into their expertise, experience, and advice. If you are starting a project in one of our areas of focus, you can take advantage of our Cadre of Technical Advisors moderated groups.

For example, the Water and Sanitation Group gives you the opportunity to receive advice from subject matter experts, as well as members of our Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag).

A few recent enhancements to Rotary Ideas makes finding a project partner easier than ever before! A Google Translate option is now available on each project page, expanding the options for partnering beyond the boundaries of language. You can now search for projects by filtering by contribution type (volunteers, partnerships, online contributions, and materials), making it easier to find the types of projects you want to support.

For example, the Water For Life Project in Egypt is looking for global grant partner to help provide safe and clean water to families living in poverty.

Remember to continue to share your success stories on Rotary Showcase, recently updated to allow you to tag Rotarian Action Groups and Rotary Community Corps as project partners. Identifying all of your Rotary project partners ensures that your good work is shared as accurately as possible within our communities and the world.

For example, through a global grant, the Rotary Club of San Pedro South in the Philippines installed a solar powered potable water treatment system at a local elementary school benefiting 1100 students. The project included a deep well with a submersible pump powered by a solar panel. The system can produce up to 2000 liters per hour when the solar panel is at its peak capacity. To manage project operations and maintenance, including how to share the potable water with the surrounding community, the Cuyab Rotary Community Corps (RCC) was formed with officers from the school faculty, the parent teacher association and local government. The RCC will decide how the water will be shared with the nearby community, its price, schedule and mechanics.

As always, if you have any questions regarding these tools, please feel free to contact social@rotary.org for assistance.

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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.

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.

What makes a Rotaract project outstanding?

By Molly Friend, Rotary Programs for Young Leaders Staff

Rotaract clubs bring together people ages 18-30 to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service. In communities worldwide, Rotary and Rotaract members work side by side to take action through service.

Every year, Rotaract clubs around the world develop innovative solutions to community challenges. Rotary annually recognizes these high-impact, sustainable projects with the Rotaract Outstand
ing Project Awards
.

So what makes a Rotaract project outstanding?

1) Change

1Last year’s Outstanding Project Awardee, the Rotaract Club of Bugolobi in Uganda, aimed to support a rural community with the highest impact possible. Working alongside local doctors and schools, they provided everything from school supplies to comprehensive medical screenings, dental exams, and HIV screenings and prevention education. Since access to clean drinking water is one of the primary reasons children miss school, the club also dug a borehole to bring clean water to the rural community.

2) A Cause

2Rotary is dedicated to six causes that build a better world. Outstanding projects work towards one or more of these six areas of focus. For example, the Turkish Rotaract Club of Istanbul-Dolmabahçe’s outstanding project focused on Saving Mothers and Children. Their project, “Still Child”, took a stand against young women and girls who are forced into underage marriage. The Rotaract club organized conferences in rural areas where the practice is still common to break the silence on the issue and bring awareness to resulting consequences.

3) Creativity

3Look at old problems with new, unique ideas. By imagining possibilities and trying new things, great solutions emerge. The Rotaract Club of the Caduceus in India upgraded outdated disease-tracking systems by harnessing new mobile technologies. This innovative approach improved disease surveillance to study epidemiological trends in the region.

4) Collaboration

4Rotary is about bringing people together to create change; we love to see Rotaractors and Rotarians working together in service. 12 Rotaract clubs from five districts across Turkey and Russia worked with the Down Syndrome Association to organize a communication and skills training for children and adults with Down Syndrome.

5) Commitment

5Dedicated Rotaractors are fundamental to creating outstanding projects. As part of the “Ready to Succeed” project, designed by the Rotaract Club of Brimingham, USA, high school juniors and seniors were paired with Rotaract mentors in aims of better preparing the students for college. The Rotaract mentors developed these relationships over a number of years, demonstrating their commitment to helping youth enroll in college.

Do you know of a Rotaract Outstanding Project? Submit a Outstanding Project Awards nomination by 1 February . To learn more about the projects referenced in this blog read about last year’s awardees.

How my first trip to Africa changed my life

By Shapreka Clarke, President of Rotaract Club of Eleuthera in the Bahamas

After eighteen hours of flying from the Bahamas, I finally arrived in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on 19 October, 2016, to participate in the 11th West Africa Project Fair.  As I stepped foot on African soil for the first time, I did not know the adventure that was ahead of me, the lasting friendships I would make or how my life would forever be changed.  That first moment getting off the plane, I remember being very excited and a little nervous.

img_7080Through the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Rancho Cotati in California, I was able to embark on this journey with 34 fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors from the United States and the Bahamas.  While in Port Harcourt, we participated in the project fair and community service projects which included visiting a community health clinic which provided free medications and a local school where we handed out back packs to students.  We visited historic sites and tried lots and lots of local food.

The West Africa Project Fair, the primary purpose of our trip, gave our group an opportunity to discover the various projects Rotarians across Africa are undertaking.  It also allowed us to form partnerships with projects we were interested in supporting.  While at the fair, I presented with Rotaractors and Rotarians from the Bahamas, California, and Yenagoa, Nigeria, about our joint Telemedicine Project.  Telemedicine allows doctors from California to connect with doctors in underserved areas to consult on diagnoses and treatment plans.  Despite the distance, doctors have consistent access to mentors and educational opportunities through telemedicine.  Our booth raised awareness about the project and encouraged clubs across Africa to participate while forming new partnerships with clubs in the United States.

One of the most memorable days of the trip was World Polio Day.  Our group was joined by local Rotarians and Rotaractors as we started activities early in the morning with a 1 kilometer walk through the Port Harcourt community.  This walk gave us an opportunity to see more of the community while also raising awareness about polio.  Para soccer players also accompanied us on the walk and we attended a para Soccer game at the end of the day.  Para soccer serves as a global employment mechanism for people with disabilities.  Watching these men play soccer despite their disabilities was truly inspiring.

After the walk we visited polio immunization health centers across Port Harcourt where we administered polio immunization drops to children under five years of age.  To be able to immunize a child and help Nigeria get one step closer to eradicating polio was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

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This trip allowed me to better understand how important Rotary is in other parts of the world.  I was given an opportunity to engage in field work in the local communities, create strong friendships with the West African Rotarians and Rotaractors, and participate in hands-on humanitarian and health related work.  It was truly a life changing opportunity.

The 2017 West Africa Project Fair will be hosted in Accra, Ghana, 4-11 October 2017. For more information, visit www.rotarywestafricaprojectfair.org; contact registration@rotarywestafricaprojectfair.org to register.

Strengthening clubs through local partnerships

By Quentin Wodon, Author of the Rotarian Economist Blog, President of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and Lead Economist at the World Bank

Most Rotarians are professionals with deep skills in their area of expertise, yet many club service projects do not make systematic use of their members’ expertise. We see exceptions when Rotarians who are passionate and knowledgeable about a particular topic implement global grants. But in terms of the service work, my impression is that the great initiatives we undertake are limited in impact simply because they may not be truly strategic or may not make full use of Rotarians’ areas of expertise.

One solution to increase the impact of our service work is the concept of Pro Bono Rotarian Teams. On 1 July, my club launched partnerships with a half dozen local nonprofits in our community as part of a pro bono initiative. These partnerships bring four benefits: better service opportunities for members and greater impact in the community; more visibility for our partners and our club; attracting new members; and strengthening teams. Let me briefly explain these four benefits in case they may inspire other clubs to adopt a similar model:

Better service opportunities and larger impact: Rotarians in our club, as elsewhere, are professionals and/or business leaders. We are building on these skills by organizing pro bono strategic advising with small teams of 4-5 individuals (both Rotarians and non-Rotarians) that support local nonprofits in solving issues they face. This makes our club more interesting for our members in terms of the service opportunities we provide, and it also increases the impact that we have in the community because our engagement becomes more strategic.

More visibility for our partners and our club: Higher visibility is achieved in several ways. First, we are sharing our work on social media using the main community blog, The Hill is Home. We publish posts not directly about our club, but about the great work of our nonprofit partners and the fact that we are working with them. We also started writing short articles about our partner nonprofits in the main monthly community magazine.

New members: Our club has been losing members for several years, but since 1 July, we increased our membership by 50% from 18 to 27. Our pro bono initiative and our partnerships with local nonprofits is helping us recruit new members.

Stronger service teams: Our pro bono teams work for a period of three months with local nonprofits, and they include both Rotarians and non-Rotarians. We hope that some of the non-Rotarians working with the pro bono teams will become Rotarians, but this is not the main goal of combining members and others in our teams. The main goal is to build strong teams and benefit from the expertise of friends and colleagues who are ready to help, but may not be interested in Rotary. Think of this as our own model for a Rotary Community Corps, whereby we all work together to support and strengthen great local nonprofits.

There are multiple ways for Rotary clubs to partner with local nonprofits in a strategic way, and some clubs have a long history in doing so. Our new model emphasizing pro bono consulting teams working closely with local nonprofits may not be the right model for all clubs, but it does appear to be working for us, and it ties in nicely with our efforts at improving our public image and recruiting new members. If you would like to know more about our new model, please do not hesitate to post send me an email through the contact me page of my blog at The Rotarian Economist.

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Serving with ShelterBox in times of disaster

By Ellina Kushnir, Service and Engagement Supervisor

When disaster strikes, Rotary’s project partner ShelterBox often works closely with Rotarians to evaluate local needs and devise a plan for immediate response. The Rotary family provides vital assistance to ShelterBox by assisting response teams with disaster assessments, housing response team volunteers, helping coordinate relief logistics, and sponsoring aid. Over the past fourteen years, Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors have partnered with ShelterBox to help communities in dire need of assistance immediately following a disaster. Here are just a few recent examples of how Rotary members and ShelterBox have been working together:

  • Immediately following Ecuador’s devastating earthquake in April 2016, Rotarians from District 4400 met the ShelterBox Response Team at the airport and jointly attended response coordination meetings. ShelterBox supplied ShelterKits and water filters to the most vulnerable families. Over the past months, repeated after-shocks have continued to destroy more homes in the impact region. Having identified further families in need of temporary housing, ShelterBox is sending more ShelterKits, water filters and mosquito nets to Ecuador. ShelterBox response team volunteer, Liz Odell, past president of the Rotary Club of Nailsworth in England, headed to Ecuador in early October as part of the team overseeing the distribution.
  • Following the May 2016 devastating flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka, ShelterBox and Rotarians responded as families were stripped of their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones. Members of the Rotary Club of Capital City spent five days using boats and kayaks to rescue people marooned by flooding. The teamwork, trust and cooperation between the club and the ShelterBox response teams led to the provision of temporary camps for individuals who had lost everything.
  • Alongside ongoing relief responses in Syria, Cameroon and Niger due to conflict, ShelterBox has been working with families in Iraq who have been displaced (some on multiple occasions) fleeing for safety from conflict in Syria and Iraq.  ShelterBox is now preparing to respond to the anticipated retaking of Mosul from so-called Islamic State control, which is predicted to be one of the worst humanitarian crises in years and may result in an additional one million displaced people. Through the project partnership with ShelterBox, the Rotary family is able to reach families living in some of the most treacherous conditions. An update from ShelterBox response team volunteer Rachel Harvey, former foreign correspondent at the BBC, is available online. More information about assisting this initiative is available on shelterbox.org.
  • ShelterBox currently has an assessment team evaluating the impact of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade, hit Haiti on 4 October, bringing 145mph winds, heavy rain and dangerous storm surges.  Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of the country’s Civil Protection Agency, has said: “It’s much too early to know how bad things are but we do know there are a lot of houses that have been destroyed or damaged in the south.” Up-to-date information about ShelterBox’s response to Hurricane Matthew is available at shelterbox.org/matthew.

For information about the RI-ShelterBox project partnership on the RI-ShelterBox Fact Sheet. Contact rotaryrequest@shelterbox.org for information about getting involved or write to Rotary staff with questions about the partnership.

Rotary and ShelterBox are project partners for international disaster response. ShelterBox is a Charity independent of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

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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/

Assist victims of the 2016 Ecuador earthquake

By District Governor Fressia Abad, District 4400 Ecuador 

Dear friends,

It is our pleasure to invite you and your club to attend District 4400’s XII Rotary Project Fair, to be held in Cuenca, Ecuador, on 11-13 November, 2016.

During this three-day event, clubs in Ecuador will exhibit their projects to visiting Rotarians. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn firsthand about the community and the projects looking for assistance. Rotarians will personally meet project contacts and other local Rotarians establishing important partnerships as well as long lasting friendships.

Due to the severe 7.8 earthquake that struck Ecuador’s Provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas in April 2016, many of this year’s projects will focus on long-term disaster recovery and providing assistance to communities devastated by the disaster.

The beautiful city of Cuenca has become a favorite and appealing retirement spot. Visiting Rotarians will have an opportunity to experience local cultural and artistic treasures including a tour to its historic town center. Exciting and high-end excursions to the Galapagos Islands, Amazonian Jungle, Quito, the Andean Sierra, and Vilcabamba (well known for the long life expectancy of its population) can also be added to attendance at the Fair.

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Please contact the Chair of the XII Project Fair Committee, Past District Governor Manuel Nieto or Assistant Governor Amparo Albuja Izurieta for additional information.  You can also visit our district webpage or register online.

We hope to greet you soon in our country well known for its hospitality.

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