TRF Global Grants fund water and sanitation projects in Africa and South America proposed by District 5370 clubs

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© Rotary International/Alyce Henson

Global Grants from The Rotary Foundation that were recently awarded to the Rotary Clubs of Wainwright and Spruce Grove mean that students at a school in northern Ghana and residents of a community in rural Ecuador will soon have access to clean drinking water.

The Rotary Club of Wainwright’s project, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Tamale, Ghana, will result in “the installation of a system for harvesting rainwater from the roof of the existing building at La’angum Primary School (in Ghana), during the rainy season and storing it for later use,” says George Bunz, the club’s Foundation chair.

The Rotary Club of Revelstoke, BC is also contributing money to this project.

Meanwhile, Rotarians from Spruce Grove have partnered with the Rotary Club of Bahia de Caraquez to construct a municipal water system in Santa Teresa, Ecuador. The Rotary Club of Reno, Nevada is implementing a similar project in the adjacent community of Las Mercedes.

When completed, the new water systems in Ecuador will serve about 800 residents of the two villages, under the management of an elected water board.

“Prior to the 2016, the community got its water from a hand-drilled well, but this was destroyed by that year’s earthquake,” says Brad Mastaler, president-elect of the Spruce Grove club.

How Global Grants work

Global Grants are made possible by donations to TRF by Rotarians from around the world.

In addition to money from TRF’s World Fund, funding for these projects comes from other sources, including from the participating clubs and from the District  Foundation committee (District Designated Funds).

The amount of money available to our District Foundation committee for District Designated Funds is determined by how much Rotarians from our District contribute to TRF. Half of what was donated by Rotarians in our District three years earlier is returned to the committee, to be used for District grants to clubs and to support Global Grant applications.

Global Grants fund projects in the six areas of focus for TRF: disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

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For more information on how Global Grants work, check out TRF’s Guide to Global Grants. In addition, you can consult the District 5370 Foundation grants sub-committee chair, Wayne McCutcheon (RC of St. Albert), at wsm@shaw.ca or District Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview), at wkauffman@shaw.ca.

Support future TRF Global and District Grants by donating to TRF Canada. Donate before the end of December to receive a receipt you can use when filing your 2018 tax return.

Wainwright project will bring clean drinking water, improved toilets and biogas for school in Ghana

The school being supported by the Wainwright Rotary Club is located in Bumboazio, in northern Ghana, a region that is much less developed than in the south. Families there earn their living by farming small plots of land to produce corn, beans, peanuts and millet.

Because drilling water wells has proved unsuccessful, the school is “dependent on water carried by children from a creek, which is some distance away,” George Bunz says.

The installation of storage tanks will be a very important component of the project, as most water will be collected during the rainy season and stored for later use.

Each classroom will have a filter system, to ensure access to clean water.

As part of the project, an existing four-seat toilet will be upgraded and a new four-seat toilet built, along with a solar pump to utilize grey water to flush the toilets.   A bio-digester will convert waste to biofuel to be used in the kitchen to prepare lunchtime meals for the 300 students who attend the school.

“The biogas will make a big difference,” George says. “Currently meals are prepared on stoves that burn wood, which women and children have to carry to the school. The project will relieve the women of this task so they have time for other work and will improve the environment by eliminating the smoke from burning wood.”

Funding for this project (in US dollars):

Rotary Club of Wainwright $14,250

District 5370 DDF $14,250

TRF World Fund $21,375

Total:$49,875

Projects will bring clean water to 800 residents of villages in rural Ecuador

Construction of the water system in Santa Teresa will begin after the end of the rainy season in March.

The project involves drilling and encasing a water well, creating storage and water treatment facilities, laying distribution lines to each residence, and installing water meters.

Rotary will sign memorandums of agreement with Ecuador’s federal and municipal governments, which will provide paid staff to operate the system.

The long-term sustainability of the project will be ensured by the establishment of an elected water board, whose members will be trained to operate the system.

A public education component will teach adults about water conservation and how to avoid contamination. Teachers will be trained to take a similar message into their classrooms.

Funding for this project (in US dollars):

Rotary Club of Spruce Grove $9,375

Districts 5370 & 4400 DDF $8,860

Government of Alberta $7,750

TRF World Fund $17,423

Total$43,408

Rotarians from both Wainwright and Spruce Grove plan to visit their projects during construction.

Edmonton Rotarian revives and donates old ambulances to to Belize, Mexico and Africa

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Ambulances waiting to be refurbished by Alberta Honda

Some people collect coins. Others fill albums with postage stamps from around the world. But not Roman Bayrock (RC of Edmonton Riverview). He collects ambulances.

So far, he has obtained 11 of these life-saving vehicles, after they have been retired by Alberta Health Services. 

Once these ambulances are refurbished, they are designated for developing countries where the need for them is great.

Assisting people in this fashion gives Roman “a rush. It’s like winning the lottery. I feel great helping people,” he says.

Roman, who describes himself as “a bit of an opportunist, with a talent for bargain hunting,” purchased his first ambulance by chance, when he discovered it listed for sale on an auction site. 

“I figured that not too many people would be interested,” he recalls. “I wondered how cheaply I could buy it.”

 But first, he contacted the Belize Emergency Response Team.

“I called BERT and asked, ‘If I could find you an ambulance cheap, would you be interested?’ They were.”

That first ambulance was shipped to Belize in 2016.

Since then, two more ambulance have gone to Belize. One went to the village of Dangriga, in the Southern Health Region, and the other to Southern Emergency Service, which was started in the Southern Health Region by a former Spruce Grove resident.

This last ambulance was delivered to Belize with the assistance of the US Air Force, through the Denton Program, which is jointly administered by several US government departments and agencies.

“The Denton program offers shipment of ‘humanitarian assistance’ in the form of utility trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, etc., to locations in North American at virtually no charge when space is available,” Roman says.

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Sandra and Roman Bayrock 

At the end of August, Roman and his wife Sandra, who is also a member of Edmonton Riverview, drove the ambulance to the Malstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. There the ambulance was loaded onto a C-5 Hercules transport for the flight to Belize.

Prior to departing for Montana, Roman held a media event at Alberta Honda in Edmonton, which stores and refurbishes the ambulances.

“Without Alberta Honda, we would not have a space to store these ambulances and no source for parts, tires and batteries,” Roman says.

Once Alberta Honda has refurbished the remaining ambulances, they will be shipped to other developing countries. Four will go to Belize, two to Africa and two to Mexico, as part of the Highway to Mexico program organized by the Rotary Club of  Grande Prairie-Swan City.

This convoy of ambulances, fire trucks and other vehicles will depart for Mazatlan on March 29. Members of the Edson Rotary Club, which is paying to refurbish this vehicle, will drive one ambulance on the two-week journey. Roman and Sandra will drive the second.

Two ambulances will be going to Southern Emergency Services Belize, two to the Believe in Belize Charity in Pacencia, and one each to Faith Prestige Hospital in Ghana and to Arms Across Africa for use in Uganda.

The organizations receiving ambulances are responsible for all costs associated with refurbishing and transportation of the vehicles.

Before the Riverview club releases vehicles to other groups, the potential recipients are required to complete a questionnaire developed by Dean Wood, the club’s International Services director. 

“The purpose of the questionnaire was to get the organizations to make a series of commitments and demonstrate they have the capacity to operate and maintain the vehicle to ensure they will provide a quality and sustainable service,” Dean says.

“We asked them to commit to provide services to all residents of the areas, without regard to their ability to pay,” he says. “We believe that making the service available to all reflects a core Rotary value.”

Finally, each organization was asked to demonstrate a partnership with a local Rotary club.

Turn donating to The Rotary Foundation into a game with yourself

Untitled designSupporting The Rotary Foundation doesn’t have to be tedious.

The Rotary Club of St. Albert proved that last year, by combining raising funds to support the work of the Foundation with fun and fellowship. The club invited members to board a virtual canoe for a year-long journey from Rotary Park in downtown St. Albert to Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club, which was powered by TRF donations.

Along the way, there were quarterly stops to assess and celebrate their progress. By June 2018, the club had surpassed its TRF goal and had nearly every Rotarian “in the canoe.”

Half the money Rotarians donate to TRF annual fund is returned to the District three years later, to be used by the District Foundation Committee to support club’s local and international projects and scholarships. The remaining funds are used by TRF for Global Grants, Rotary Peace Fellowships and other scholarships.

Gamification—defined by Merriam Webster as “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation”—of TRF fundraising isn’t limited to club-wide activities. Individuals can turn determining how much to donate to TRF into a bit of a game with themselves. 

Here are a few alternatives to a “I-guess-I’ll-write-a-cheque-again-this-year” approach to your TRF donation. They allow factors beyond your control to determine how much you’ll give—although we still encourage you to begin by meeting the Sustaining Member standard of $US100 (about $CA140), each year.

When it’s time to make your donation to TRF Canada, you can do so online and instantly receive a receipt for income tax purposes.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make donating to TRF fun:

When I published my first book a few years ago, I made a commitment that for every book I sold, I would donate one dollar to TRF ($5 if the book was purchased by a Rotarian). Unfortunately, the book never became a bestseller, but so far I have donated enough from book sales to earn at least one Paul Harris Fellowship.

Not sure what a Paul Harris Fellowship is? District Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview) explains:

“Paul Harris Fellowship recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute $US1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.”

Haven’t written a book? There are still lots of other fun ways to determine your annual donation to TRF:

Money on the floor—Have you heard the sound as money tumbles onto the floor when you pick up a pair of pants? Have you found money on the street? Consider anything you find on the floor, on the street, or between sofa cushions as meant to be a donation to TRF. Collect the money in a jar or piggy bank until year-end, then donate what you have picked up for the Foundation.

Just one cup less each week—You’ve heard this suggestion before. If you skipped buying a latte or cappuccino at Starbucks or Second Cup just once a week, you would have an extra $5 per week to do good. By year-end, that would add up to $250 or more that you could donate to TRF. Can’t kick your daily caffeine fix? Okay, let’s approach this differently. How about every time you buy your favourite drink, you set aside a dollar for TRF? That way you will enjoy your beverage, while still making a significant donation to the Foundation.

Return your empties—This one’s simple. Donate what you receive from the bottle depot to TRF.

Pay your fine to TRF—How much do you expect to be fined at each meeting? What if you go to the meeting and the Sergeant-at-Arms ignores you? Donate what you expected to be fined to TRF. And if you were fined, how about matching the fine with a donation to TRF?

Leftover foreign currency—Spent fewer euros, pounds or US dollars than you expected to spend on your last vacation trip? Exchange them for Canadian dollars, which you can then donate to TRF.

Share your lottery winnings—Won 649 or a 50/50 draw recently? Share your good fortune with TRF by donating 10 percent of what you won. (Sorry,  but TRF won’t cover your losses.)

Environmentally friendly shopping—Part of being environmentally friendly is using reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping, but sometimes we forget. Every time you say yes to plastic bags, drop a quarter per bag into your TRF bank. 

Bring your own mug—Most coffee shops offer a discount (10 to 25 cents) when you bring a refillable mug. Donate what you save to TRF. You will be helping the Foundation do its work, while also reducing the number of takeaway cups destined for the landfill.

TRF yard sale—Share the proceeds of your next garage or yard sale with TRF. Your “customers” may buy more if you tell them that you will be donating money to support TRF’s six areas of focus: disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

That’s our list. What about yours? How else can Rotarians decide what to donate? What other fun ways can you suggest to determine how much you will donate to TRF? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below.