In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 69

Help adopt a village Rotary Club of Gore president-elect and District 9980 Grants Committee member Candace Bangura has seen first-hand the powerful difference Candace Bangura adopt-a-village projects can make, having visited three in Uganda. Her experiences have spurred her to co-ordinate a similar project, with district backing, which will see Kiwi Rotarians partner with Kampala’s Rotary Club of Kololo to support a small Ugandan village, Lugo. “Rotarians in East Africa are leaders in adopt-a- village initiatives, with a strong history of successful programmes supported by global grants,” she says. “For its part, the Kololo club has been involved in more than 18 projects, three of which are still running, including one that’s being funded by a global grant from our Foundation.” In Lugo, the driving objective is to tackle the root cause of the village’s challenges: poverty, and the substandard sanitation, water supply, health and education it brings with it. Just over 1000 people live in Lugo, Candace says, with an average of seven people per household. “The community survives largely off subsistence farming, which leaves little-to-no money to improve their farming yields and take care of their families. “We want to invest in the skills of Lugo’s people, so they can implement a variety of practical activities – like improving water and education – in their village. The idea is the villagers will lead these activities, so the whole community moves forward together for the benefit of all.”   To co-ordinate efforts at the New Zealand end, a sub- committee of the Grants Committee has already been established, on which Candace is joined by district governor-nominee Andrew Hamilton, of the Rotary Club of Dunedin Central, and current Rotary Club of Gore president Nigel Moore. The project’s to-do list includes increasing villagers’ awareness of sustainable agriculture, disease prevention, and boosting the community’s water and sanitation systems. For their part, the villagers’ contributions will include labour and materials for protecting wells. The project is likely to last two years in total, with Rotary’s involvement expected to end six months after the implementation phase. “I’ve had the privilege of visiting a number of Rotary- funded adopt-a-village initiatives in Uganda – I’ve seen first-hand how this type of project results in truly positive and uplifting impacts for everyone involved,” Candace says. Clubs from throughout the district have been invited to donate to the project, a contribution that offers a two-pronged benefit: the satisfaction of seeing the village grow and benefit, but also the chance to gain comprehensive insight into the global grant process. “As well as helping out the people of Lugo, we’re really keen that this project serves as an educational tool for clubs in our district that are interested in learning more about how global grants work and getting a great head start in pursuing their own.” Candace Bangura visits a similar adopt-a- village project in Uganda. Page 69