To help alleviate poverty and hunger, Rotary members carry out thousands of service projects each year in communities around the world. They establish micro credit banks to help residents start their own small businesses. They provide seeds and training to help impoverished families grow their own gardens. And they provide low-cost shelter to the homeless.
Through community projects, many Rotary clubs are addressing poverty and hunger by:
Raising awareness of poverty and hunger
Breaking the cycles of chronic poverty and hunger, to reduce the number of poor and hungry
Strengthening the financial security and incomes of the hungry and poor
Providing direct and sustainable access to food, and creating social safety nets for the hungry and poor
Promoting gender equality and empowering women
Article about Rotary’s drive to eliminate hunger:
Rotary Clubs Reduce Pain of Hunger
By Tonya Weger
Eradicating extreme hunger and poverty tops the list of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. In addition, eliminating hunger is one of RI President Bill Boyd’s key initiatives.
Rotarians have been working diligently to answer Jeffrey Sachs call to service at the 2006 RI Convention. Sachs, the special advisor to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and head of the UN Millennium Project, told Rotarians that by 2015 we should be making decisive progress against hunger.
According to Boyd’s appointed Health and Hunger Resource Group, hunger daily kills more than 25,000 people. Rotary clubs worldwide are fighting against hunger.
A sample of what some Rotary clubs are doing to combat hunger
The PhilippinesPoverty persists in the Philippines, despite recent attempts to boost individual incomes through land reform and other social welfare programs. In the city of Calauag, farmers have neither the technical expertise nor the equipment needed to make their farms commercially viable.
The Rotary Club of Calauag asked local government agricultural experts to help train farmers in modern sustainable techniques for growing corn and other profitable crops. With government subsidized seeds, club members led volunteers in helping more than 100 farmers and their families to make a profit on their crops.
Through grants from The Rotary Foundation and the Philippine government, the program has expanded to include a microcredit loan system, improved farm infrastructure, livestock training programs, and marketing assistance.
IndiaThe Rotary Club of Renukoot, India, operates a school for underprivileged children and, subsequently, provides nutritious meals for its students four days a week. Club members enthusiastically took part in the program, individually sponsoring food distribution for an entire day.
Their dedication attracted the local media, which spread the word to community members, who contributed by adding another day of meals and donating money for basic medical care. Additional food donations were made from an area banquet hall. The program flourished to the point where now Rotarians are able to reach out to the students’ parents via an adult education program.
IndonesiaTeaming with a local milk factory enabled the Rotary Club of Jakarta-Gambir, Indonesia, to embark on a project that for the next two years distributes milk once a week to 150 students in the fishing village of Teluk Naga.
Because of its partnership with the milk factory, the club is able to provide milk at a heavily discounted price. Additionally, it has contributed US$1,300 to get the program started.
BangladeshThe Rotary Club of Mymensingh, Bangladesh, with the support of the Rotary Club of Brisbane, Australia, and a Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grant, expanded a livestock and poultry development project. The effort boosted agriculture and livestock production, created fisheries, developed forestland, improved sanitation, and provided health-care and family-planning services.
A Rotary Community Corps, comprising 66 farmers and representatives of 16 villages, helps maintain community support for the project. Women received baby goats and tree saplings to raise for income. A credit fund aids farmers in purchasing supplies, with the request they pay the balance when their produce has been sold.
Additional Rotary club projects:
The local Rotary club, together with Educational Center No. 20, has planned to build a facility for the school to raise chickens that will provide poultry and eggs for consumption. This self-sustaining project has the dual benefit of educating children about livestock and increasing their daily food intake, both of which will enrich their ability to learn and grow.
A local Rotary club plans to establish a job awareness program that will enable people with disabilities to benefit from vocational training. The program will emphasize the value of the participants’ contribution to and participation in their communities. Over 100 people with disabilities will receive vocational training. The club will distribute training materials to Rotary clubs throughout Australia.
The local club would like to establish a vocational training program for children. In response to the growing unemployment rate of adults in Brazil, the goal of the project is to invest in children’s futures by providing them an opportunity to learn a skill that will guarantee them a job when they enter the job market.
A Rotary club project aims to improve the quality of life for families in the Ezbet El-Hagana district in Egypt which lacks essential services. The project will promote literacy and health education, as well as provide vocational training and tree planting to improve the living and environmental conditions of the community. The local Rotary club will collaborate with several local NGOs to deliver services.
The local Rotary club would like to supply goats to about 65 families within the community. Each family will be supplied with 2 female goats and 5 families will be supplied a male goat for reproduction. As goats give birth twice a year, it is expected that offspring will provide a continuous supply of food for the families. The club is working with Provadenic to train recipients on how to raise goats. The club will also contribute financially to the project.
A Rotary project brings healthy, nutritious food to a community in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa by helping to install hydroponic food tunnels. Hydroponic food tunnels, which have the ability to produce a substantial quantity of food in a short time, have been used successfully in many South African Rotary club projects. One thousand people will benefit.
The Feedback Food Re-distribution project collects good quality excess food from food outlets and restaurants, redistributing it to social service organizations. Feedback meets beneficiaries’ urgent food needs while encouraging them to become self-sufficient in food provision through nutrition workshops and food production classes in vegetable gardening and food tunnels. This innovative project has an immediate effect on the welfare of low-income and HIV positive individuals. The local Rotary club is heavily involved in the initial stages of the project to ensure that the communities are able to carry out the project as it progresses.