The Maryland Salisbury Sunrise Club and The Malindi Rotary Club of Kenya were awarded a Global Grant for $98,500 to support clean water and sanitation projects that will facilitate economic development in Burangi Kenya. The grant was enthusiastically supported by Districts 7630 (Maryland) and 5400 (Idaho) and other clubs in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois. Clubs contributed anywhere from $250 to $3,000 which demonstrates the power of global matching grants. Relatively small club contributions matched with DDF dollars and TRF World Fund dollars culminated to sizable funding, making a difference in the lives of people trapped in the cycle of poverty.
Wells are not always the answer to improve water and sanitation. There are 3 unused wells in Burangi placed by well-intended organizations – they are all brackish. Thousands of dollars have been wasted. In Burangi, as with many African nations, there are robust rainy seasons. Rainwater can be stored to not only offset a water shortage during the draught, but also provide clean water for drinking and crop irrigation. The Sabaki River, a river infested with parasites causing water borne illness, surrounds the villagers in Burangi. Before this grant, the Sabaki River was the only water source during the cyclical droughts. But that is the case no longer.
This Rotarian effort used an empowerment strategy. An essential component of the empowerment model is the active participation of community members in all aspects of the project, giving them control of their future. That control restores respect and dignity. Respect and dignity drives sustainable improvements of day-to-day living. These villagers have worked alongside Rotarians for over 3 years, strategically planning solutions to their problems.
Life in Burangi Kenya is hard, but the people are resilient and hopeful, despite the fact that they experience absolute poverty. But poverty does not stop this community from wanting the same things we want – food, clean water, shelter, a way to make a living and health care – just the basic needs of life. The members of the Burangi community have demonstrated the success of an empowerment model. One of many examples includes their efforts to clear 10 miles of dense bush with hand tools to build a road. They did not give up despite the road had 2 low-lying areas that flooded during the rainy season making it unusable. At that juncture, the community and the Rotary applied for the global grant.
This global grant funds the placement of 2 culverts to divert the flooding AND multiple water projects. Water catchment systems will provide water for crop irrigation and fish farms as well as water to be filtered for drinking, water pumps for irrigation of crops and water tanks for water storage. The crop irrigation will increase the yield, allowing for improved nutrition for their families but also added income. The road with the culverts is now accessible year around. Now they can get to the markets and sell the additional produce. This global grant is providing a comprehensive strategy that is enabling the Burangi community to break the cycle of poverty. The sustainable results of this grant can be captured in an Asian proverb that says, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn.” The continual involvement of the Burangi community with Rotarians assures sustainability!
When you shop with us we donate 10% of profits to help families and schools in third world countries to get clean drinking water. As we grow we hope to get more involved with water wells in towns near schools.