Friday, March 27, 2009

Rotary Foundation at Work in Bumpe

Rotary International is a service club with about 1.2 million members and a commitment to community service around the world through its charitable wing, The Rotary Foundation. Rotary recently joined the Kposowa Foundation's efforts to improve life in Bumpe, Sierra Leone with a grant for a water project. When East Bremerton (WA) Rotarian Kim Zook met Sarah at a meeting and heard about the foundation's work, he invited her to travel to the Seattle area for a brief but successful series of talks and fundraisers. When Sarah's Dad (a Morgantown North Rotarian in WV) heard about this effort, and also learned that one of Sierra Leone's two Rotary Clubs is in Bo, just 25 km from Bumpe, he wondered if a Rotary Foundation matching grant might be feasible. Matching grants require 'hands-on' cooperative work by a host (In-country) club and one or more International partner(s).

After Jim and Kim discussed possibilities, Jim reached Dr. Andrew Muana of the Bo Rotary Club in Sierra Leone. When he expressed interest in a water project on behalf of Bo Rotary, we had then, the makings of a Matching Grant project; two interested U.S. clubs and a host club located quite near the Bumpe chiefdom where clean, available water is among the many pressing needs.
Contributions from the two U.S. Rotary Clubs were matched by Rotary District funds, and the total was matched by The Rotary Foundation. The project was recently approved and provides just over $50,000 to fund construction of new wells. Currently the Rotary partners are working with Joseph Kposowa and the Bumpe chiefdom to get work underway. These wells will supply safe, accessible water for many Bumpe residents who now spend many hours carrying water long distances.