District 5020 embraces Future Vision
Students in Kenya proudly display books they received as part of a literacy project funded by a district grant. Photo courtesy of Brian Beagle
Building on a long history of support for Rotary Foundation programs, District 5020 (parts of British Columbia, Canada, and Washington, USA) has become one of the more active participants in the Future Vision Plan.
The district has received 12 global grants totaling US$297,103 and a $187,889 district grant in 2010-11, which together are supporting activities in 15 countries.
A major area of focus for the district is basic education and literacy, which is the target of 13 projects funded by the district grant and a global grant effort. The timetable for completing these projects ranges from three months to a year.
“Three local projects have already been completed,” says Brian Beagle, chair of the district Rotary Foundation committee. “One provided books for a First Nations [indigenous peoples] library. Another purchased backpacks filled with school supplies for disadvantaged families. A third provided defibrillators for local school events.”
In some cases, the inspiration for a project is another club’s successful effort, while in other cases, traveling Rotarians have identified international communities that could benefit from assistance.
The district stresses that the most effective way to get local community and host club buy-in is to have the host club conduct an assessment to identify the community’s needs. “This experience and trust, often gained with smaller initial projects, enables our clubs to have confidence in the host partners,” Beagle says.
A $2,500 project in Kenya funded by the district grant, for example, is providing books, supplies, and teacher training to enable schoolchildren to improve their reading skills in both English and Swahili. The effort, patterned after a project implemented by the Rotary Club of Victoria, British Columbia, has grown to include 500 students in more than 10 schools.
In Peru, members of the Rotary clubs of Tacoma Narrows, Washington, and Camana, Peru, teamed up to install solar panels on the roofs of three schools. A similar project in the Philippines is being funded by $5,000 in district grant money.
In Honduras, a $33,245 global grant is helping to furnish classrooms and washrooms at a vocational and literacy training school. The project’s sponsors, the Rotary clubs of Santa Bárbara, Honduras, and Campbell River, British Columbia, are separately providing uniforms, shoes, school bags, and other items.
In addition, district grant funds are supporting scholarships for two individuals selected for their outstanding ambassadorial traits.
Beagle says the district’s clubs have chosen to sponsor such a large number and variety of projects because the Future Vision pilot enables them to develop efforts that fit their capacity, passion, and expertise.
District Governor Robert Martin is excited about his district’s level of participation in the Future Vision Plan.
“This is clearly an indication of the desire of District 5020 clubs and Rotarians to make the world a better place to live,” he says.