International is one of the Five Avenues of Service in Rotary, and all clubs are expected to contribute in some way to international projects.
Our club is currently participating in and running two international projects:
1. Mansa Colley Bojang school in The Gambia.
1. MANSA COLLEY BOJANG SCHOOL in The Gambia.
Although well known for its luxurious coastal resorts most of the Gambia is very poor. The country has no natural resources and virtually no public services. There is no free education.
Jalanbang is a small village in the west of the country. Until 2010 the nearest school was a six mile walk away, too far for the younger children to reach. The local Chief’s son, Muctarr Bojang, known to everyone as Mucki decided to found a primary school in the village. He is a qualified tourist guide and used his contacts with visitors to the country to obtain funding for the school and sponsorship for the pupils and the teachers.
One of our club members was one of these early sponsors and Ely Hereward Rotary Club has supported the Mansa Colley Bojang Primary School since 2012. We have paid for the building and equipping of two classrooms, and have sent books for the school library.
The school has expanded rapidly to six classrooms accommodating 300 children. Local people have done virtually all the building and provide a range of voluntary help. Outside funds have been used only for materials, and for training and retaining the teaching staff. The pupils too play an active part in funding their own school, growing crops and raising chickens for sale in the local market.
Our club believes that this project is a demonstration of Rotary ideals in action internationally. It involves providing a hand-up not a hand-out to a community which is committed to working hard for its own development.
Full details of this project can be found on a seperate page on the website, and via the weblinks below:.
2. LEND WITH CARE
This is a microfinance scheme, a method of providing small loans to individuals and small businesses in the developing world through “crowdfunding”. It was set up by the aid charity Care International UK and is backed by the Co-op. Applicants for the loans submit business plans, which are vetted locally, and if successful then appear on the Lend with Care website. Once enough money has been pledged the loan requested is handed over, without costs to the recipient, and is repaid (in full but without interest) over the agreed period. The default rate is virtually zero.
We started this scheme in January 2016 with a loan capital of £200 and as repayments are received they are “recycled” into another loan. Payments have gone to 10 different countries for projects ranging from agriculture to retail, and metal working to hairdressing. We continue to make an average of one new loan a month with the repayments received and the figures from the website in June 2017 showed that by then we had made 38 loans, totalling £525, helped 172 entrepreneurs and 502 family members and created 82 jobs.
The only cost to the club is a 10% voluntary donation on top of each loan which covers Lend with Care’s administrative costs and the running of the website. In other words we have achieved this remarkable effect for the expenditure of only £50 of club money. We consider that lending in this way rather than donating money is highly effective and will continue to fund the costs and keep our capital recycling.
A good summary of the scheme can be found at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/aug/10/lend-with-care-help-poorer-entrepreneurs
Rotary Foundation is the charity arm of Rotary International. It is an endowment fund, set up in 1917 “to do good in the world” It is used entirely for charity and not for running the Rotary organisation.
All Rotarians are encouraged to give regularly to Foundation. It also receives donations from legacies, from major philanthropists (eg Bill Gates) and from corporate sponsors.
It spends that money in three major areas:
Humanitarian grant programmes: This mainly involves providing matched funding for club projects, either directly through global grants, or indirectly via district grants for smaller projects.
Education programs: These include the Ambassadorial Scholars, Peace Fellowships, and Group Study Exchanges.
The club aim to donate £500 a year to Foundation by running dedicated fund raising events.
Since 1979 Rotary has contributed $1.6 billion dollars towards global polio eradication. Rotarians have helped directly with immunisation campaigns which have protected 2.5 billion children.
The programme has helped reduce the incidence of the disease from 350,000 cases a year in 1988 to only 37 cases last year. Polio is now endemic in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and could, by 2020, become only the second human disease to be wiped out completely.
It is increasingly difficult to get public donations for polio eradication, which is seen (wrongly) as a problem which is no longer important, and as not relevant to the UK.
Rotary continue to run public awareness campaigns, most recently planting thousands of purple crocuses to represent the purple dye put on the little fingers of vaccinated children.
Money raised by Rotary is matched 2 : 1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Read more about the history of this remarkable campaign here:
Grants are awarded to international projects worth at least $30,000 dollars that fall within Rotary’s areas of focus:
Providing clean water
Saving mothers and children
Growing local economies
Applicants have to work through local Rotary clubs and demonstrate that the project is sustainable. If successful funds raised by the club will be trebled by the Foundation.
Scholars are funded by a club in their country of origin to study elsewhere in the world. They are then hosted in their place of study by a local club which agrees to provide practical advice if needed, involve the scholars in local activities and arrange for them to give presentations to clubs in the area on their work.
Significant numbers of the scholars come to Cambridge, as would be expected, so offers to host are welcomed. In 2016 – 17 we hosted a Canadian student undertaking a Masters in Development studies at Trinity Hall. We hope to keep in touch with Natalie, and with the club in Pristina where she did her field work.
We are hosting another scholar, Ashley, in the current academic year.