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International Humanitarian Projects

Investing in Community

Approximately 15% of Auction & Rummage Sale net proceeds support international humanitarian projects. Over the years, the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island has leveraged this money and, at times, has multiplied the money by a factor of 20 or more. The leveraging is accomplished through grants and donations from other Rotary Clubs in Kitsap County, our Rotary District, the Rotary Foundation, and other organizations and individuals.

Uganda Projects

The positive impact of these investments on the lives of those in need is best exemplified by the Club’s work in Uganda. Since 2002, Auction & Rummage Sale proceeds have been used to help 191 impoverished villages in northern Uganda drill and operate wells that bring clean water to an estimated 160,000 people who never had clean water before.

In 2013, the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island received word it would receive a new grant worth $1,140,000 to further support the humanitarian work in Uganda for the next two years. This grant provides more wells for clean water as well as providing latrines and teaching hygiene and sanitation to these remote villages in Northern Uganda. The grant began with $40,000 in Auction & Rummage Sale proceeds. That money was leveraged to raise an additional $537,000 from grants and other donations. World Vision provided a matching grant to bring the total to $1,140,000. This $40,000 became $1,140,000—all made possible by revenues from the Auction & Rummage Sale!

Previous humanitarian projects in Uganda include:

In the Sesses Island, Uganda:

  • Dental clinic building and equipment
  • Hospital and ward equipment
  • Methane gas from capped pit toilet that fire school cooking stove
  • Sand filter water purification units at dental clinic, outpatient clinic and patient ward
  • Shelter at the ferry landing
  • Support of medical day examination and pharmaceutical dispensing

In other locations within Uganda:

  • Three shipping containers equipped as a library with desk, lighting. and books
  • Electrical infrastructure upgrade to an orphanage hospital
  • Equipment for teaching carpentry skills, Barlonyo Technical School, Lira, Uganda,
  • Water catchment & holding tanks & stand pipes, Anthony’s School for the Deaf in Nkozi, Uganda, 
  • Microsavings project started in Amolatar, Uganda

Latin America Projects

Funds from the Auction & Rummage Sale proceeds have funded international and humanitarian projects in Latin America since 2002, which include:

  • Microfinance projects for impoverished women in the western highlands of Guatemala near Quezaltenango
  • Clean water and eco-composting latrines for poor Indian families in eastern Guatemala

Over 100 eco-composting toilets have been provided for indigenous (Mayan) families in very rural communities around Lake Atitlan and in the Lake Isabel region in Guatemala. These facilities improve health and sanitation as well as help preserve the environment and drinking water. The composting toilets support family vegetable gardens used for family and commercial trade.

Composting toilet in Guatamala 2014

Our Rotary Club is the Lead International Partner on a grant project with Gift of Life International. The purposes of the project are:

  • Development of a sustainable pediatric cardiac program in El Salvador
  • Sponsoring training / mentoring visits which enable life-saving surgery for children in El Salvador
  • Provide the required surgical supplies and augmenting local medical staff with outside experts from world-class institutions.

So far, this project has benefitted a total of 70 Salvadoran children: 40 with catheterization treatment and 30 with open-heart surgeries

Previous humanitarian projects in Latin America include:

  • School equipment, furniture, and supplies to a small three room school in Boca Chica, Panama
  • Hospital equipment, furniture, and supplies for a new community hospital near San Miguel, El Salvador
  • Two powerboats to transport children to school in a Rio Dulce, Guatemala
  • Dental clinic furniture and equipment to a poor community in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Reading and educational materials to school age children in Guatemala

Economic and Community Development

The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island has a variety of projects in microfinance, microsavings, social enterprise investments, and agricultural development in Tanzania, Uganda, and India.

Microsavings and Loans in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

From 2015 through 2018 the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island partnered with Empower Community Actions (Tanzania) to form Village Savings & Loan (VSL) groups that connect poor people with basic financial services that are safe, reliable, and profitable. Groups are trained in the VSL model, a self-managed and self-capitalized microfinance strategy that is beginning to reach the 2.5 billion adults worldwide who are “unbanked.”  Members of VSL groups (25–30 people) pool weekly savings, make loans to each other to fund small enterprises, and keep both an emergency fund for family needs and a capital fund for co-operative business and training. Major accomplishments include:

  • Formed 118 VSL groups in semi-urban region
  • 2,734 members with 93% being women
  • Up to 15% return on savings

Members empowered to receive loans for working capital, grow micro-businesses, increase family income.

Microsavings Projects in Tanzania and Nepal

Tanzania Village Savings Project
Groups of 25 to 30 people are taught how to form and operate what amounts to a village bank.

The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island has launched microsavings projects in Tanzania and Nepal. Using a worldwide proven methodology called Village Savings & Loan (VSL), the projects create microsavings groups are created that connect poor community members with basic financial services that are safe, reliable, and profitable. Each group is trained in the VSL model.

The VSL model is a self-managed and self-capitalized microfinance strategy that is beginning to reach the 2.5 billion adults worldwide who are “unbanked.” Members of the microsavings groups (25–30 people) pool weekly savings, make loans to each other to fund small enterprises, and keep both an emergency fund for family needs and a capital fund for co-operative business and training. (A VSL microsavings and loan project is being pursued in Uganda starting in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.)

Save to Grow Project in Arusha, Tanzania

Shared Interest Savings Group members pursue improved agricultural practices on their small farm plots.In 2018, the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island partnered with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) to implement the Save to Grow project. This project combines the microsavings and loan VSL model with training in agricultural development. “Shared Interest Savings Groups” of poor, “unbanked” farmers are trained how to operate what amounts to a village bank. Members gain access to financial services such as loans, savings, and an emergency fund. Horticulturists and extension agents then train members in good agricultural practices, climate smart agriculture, farming as a business, how to use loans to access improved seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides, and how to connect with both local and export buyers. The project ran through 2019. Results for 2018 include:

  • Formed 94 groups made up of rural farmers
  • 1,977 members with 78% women
  • Members got a 14% return on savings
  • 16 self-managed groups that graduated from the program
  • 4 demo plots used in agricultural training provided for members
  • 16 agro-input suppliers, 4 export, and 19 local buyers connected to groups

Social Enterprise Investments, India

Since 2017, the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island has started investing in viable social enterprises that break the vicious cycle of extreme poverty through job creation, while bringing social improvements to communities. Working with the nonprofit, Upaya Social Ventures, and the Drinkwell technology company, with matching funds from the Galloway Family Foundation, we have invested in the following businesses that create jobs, educate at-risk youth, and improve the environment and community health.

SMV Green - Drivers upgrade from gas-powered or manual rickshaws to battery-powered ones better for their health and the environment.

SMV Green Solutions, Varanasi, India: 624 jobs created

SMV Green is a social venture that aims to bring dignity to rickshaw drivers through asset ownership and other value-added services. It finances battery-powered rickshaws so that drivers can upgrade from either gas-powered or manual rickshaws to ones that are better for their own health and the environment.

Upskill Services, Mumbai, India: 1,862 students trained/placed into jobs

Upskill is a social venture that provides vocational training to underprivileged youth to help them find lasting, dignified jobs. Through the training program, students learn the soft skills needed to find work that are not taught in schools. The venture aims to build a practical education system linked directly to the requirements of the industries it serves.

Drinkwell, India, and Bangladesh: Community-based clean water systems

Drinkwell is a market-leading water technology company operating in India and Bangladesh that provides turnkey water solutions that remove contaminants using a gravity-fed, energy-saving process. The technology allows companies to improve their profitability, countries to improve their environments, and families in developing nations around the world to have access to affordable and safe water for the first time. 

Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar (formerly Burma): Projects for land mine survivors 

Clear Path International was founded on Bainbridge Island in 2000 by a small group of humanitarians with years of experience in managing mine action projects in central Vietnam. They recognized the need for a professional nonprofit organization focused on survivor assistance programs in Southeast Asia and elsewhere yo serve landmine accident survivors and their families through medical and socio-economic aid, and to assist health-care providers in mine-affected communities.

Every person who lives in the villages and towns affected by these projects will continue to benefit from these investments. They and the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island thank you for supporting the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction & Rummage Sale!