International Service Committee

Of the things we think, do, or say, will it build goodwill and better friendships? This is the third element of the 4-Way Test and it drives International Service.  Our aim is to improve lives and meet human needs through humanitarianism, and thus advance world understanding, goodwill and peace.

Our club has been involved in numerous projects from eradicating polio; providing shelter, clean water and food, improving medical facilities and many more. Through our partnerships, we have made a positive impact on thousands of lives. 

As we embrace these opportunities, we can also gain professional development and join networks of other Rotarians and humanitarian workers in support of initiatives far beyond our own local borders, reaching all corners of our world.

Rotary International encourages us to develop projects that address priority needs identified by the communities they serve, to help people help themselves, and to ensure projects are environmentally sustainable.

NOTL Rotary undertakes a WASH project in Chisimuka, Malawi

Under the aegis and invitation of Transform International, NOTL Rotary club is undertaking a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project in the small village of Chisimuka in the Rumphi District in north-western Malawi.

Provision of potable water supply, sanitation and hygiene are vital for basic human health, especially for children and maternal well-being. This is well recognized globally and is particularly relevant in very poor countries such as Malawi.

The Rumphi District, with a population of some 230,000 that is growing very quickly, has 18 health care facilities including 2 hospitals and 13 clinics that are in urgent need of upgrading to basic healthcare standards. Transform International is working collaboratively with the Rumphi District Council to build a program addressing infrastructure shortcomings in these 18 HCFs, and this project will be the first step in this program - addressing WASH shortcomings at the Chisimuka Clinic.

Chisimuka Clinic has access to water near the facility. A borehole exists nearby with a small capacity solar pump. This system has been tested and found to have adequate capacity as long as a larger storage tank is provided. It also has pipes, toilets, showers and sinks inside. However the two had never been connected. Piping will be required from the new tank to the clinic and to 4 nearby staff houses. Some of the interior plumbing fittings will need upgrading and the washrooms will be renovated. It will be important to ensure maintenance of the facilities in the future – such sustainability is an essential ingredient in the Transform International mandate.

This upgraded system will provide much easier access to water for cleaning, drinking, cooking, bathing, and most important: hand-washing with soap. The upgraded infrastructure will be transformative in improving basic human health.

The Project team consists of a group within NOTL Rotary lead by Patrick MacNeill and Gordon Young and Transform International (Canada) lead by Nancy Gilbert working with Daniel Nyirenda, a local contact in Malawi and DAMRA (Development Action for Marginalized Rural Areas) a local NGO that will assist with project management.

The estimated cost of the project is US$8,000 with NOTL Rotary providing basic funding and with the generous support of other Rotary clubs in the 7090 District.

The basic assessment, water volume and quality testing are complete and the project should be able to be implemented very quickly. 

This is a small, but likely highly effective project at low cost and with low risk, which will potentially be a component in a much more extensive WASH program within the Rumphi District.

Credit: Wells of Hope Guatemala  
Credit: Wells of Hope Guatemala  
Credit: Wells of Hope Guatemala  

El Carrizal Water Supply Project, Jalapa Region, Guatemala

Rotary Global Grant GG 1983568

This project was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Rotary Club of Guatemala del Este. The Grant was approved by The Rotary Foundation on 24th March 2020.

Work at the well site was started by Wells of Hope on 7th April and on 18th April they hit water at a depth of 900 ft.  On 20th April, after drilling a further 60 ft, a large volume of water was encountered. Despite a lot of difficulties with heavy rainfall, the Wells of Hope team completed casing of the well and managed to get their drilling rig safely back to their base at Campo Esperanza.  

The attached link shows a video of the moments after successfully hitting water:

Accounts of the difficulties encountered in getting their equipment back to camp along storm damaged muddy roads are shown in the Facebook postings on the attached link:

Ted Vanderzalm and his colleagues at the Wells of Hope deserve great credit for their perseverance in getting the well completed in these difficult circumstances.

A pump test was carried out which confirmed that the supply of water from the well is adequate for the needs of the community. Once this was confirmed, a separate contract was awarded by the local government for the construction of a water storage tank and distribution pipelines throughout the community. This work is currently being carried out.

Over the next year, under the Rotary sponsored project, training of the local water committee and education of teachers and children in the El Carrizal school on the importance of hygiene and sanitation, will be undertaken. In addition, 3 new toilets will be constructed at the school. However, the effect of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the timing of these activities is not yet known.

We at the Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake are proud to be part of this difficult but very worthwhile project to bring clean drinking water to this community of about 4000 people in this impoverished part of Guatemala. We thank all those who contributed to this US $112,870 project, including The Rotary Foundation, Rotary District 7090, fourteen other Rotary Clubs, and the Elm Foundation.