Husband, wife team aim to end poverty
Kathleen Mayhew, president of the Rotary Club of Sebastopol, California, USA, developed the Adopt a Village model with her husband, Frank. Here, she meets with residents of Kiranga Village, Uganda, to ensure that needs are being met. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Sebastopol
Noting that “world peace can only come when there is no poverty,” Frank and Kathleen Mayhew of the Rotary Club of Sebastopol, California, USA, urge Rotarians to take a new direction to end poverty.
To do that, the husband-and-wife team proposes their “Adopt a Village” model.
Here’s how it works: A Rotary club in a developing country selects a village, assesses its needs, and designs a project with health, food production, and education components. (Clean water and malaria prevention elements are required under the health heading if they are problems in the village.) A partner club adopts the village, addressing all three issues at once. Projects usually cost about US$30,000; some have been completed through Matching Grants from The Rotary Foundation.
Villages in Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Uganda have participated with support from partner clubs in Canada, England, and the United States. The Mayhews, who have given presentations at several North American clubs, currently act as matchmakers, but they encourage clubs with good working relationships to take the concept and run with it.
“While Rotary has had 3-H grants, which are huge grants, nobody has really looked at the multielement grant. It kind of comes as a surprise to people,” says Frank Mayhew, who chairs the grants subcommittee for District 5130. “It does make sense.”
Village inspires GSE team
When a Group Study Exchange team from District 5130 (California, USA) visited District 9110 in Nigeria, team members spent a day in Ijado, a prospective Adopt a Village project site. They learned that the village lacks a health clinic, that villagers fetch water several times a day, and that fewer than 10 percent of adults can read and write.
“What we brought back is passion,” says Susan Cole, team leader and member of the Rotary Club of Windsor, California. “I can’t tell you how moving it was to be there and talk to the women in the village. It’s personal: It’s not just a project, it’s a connection.”
This article appeared in the April 2009 issue of