More than 830 million people live on less than $1.25 a day. Although the number of people living in extreme poverty has dropped by more than half since 1990, slower global growth, volatile financial markets, lack of economic and social opportunity, conflict, and high unemployment are among the obstacles to continued progress.
Rotary carries out sustainable projects – a goal of our strategic plan – to bring positive, lasting change to communities locally and globally. One of our areas of focus is supporting economic and community development by:
- Building the capacity of entrepreneurs and community leaders, organizations, and networks to support economic development in impoverished communities
- Developing opportunities for productive work
- Striving to reduce poverty in underserved communities
ROTARY AT WORK
- Peru – The Rotary Club of Inka Cusco and the local municipality are combating poverty and environmental degradation by teaching families in rural areas about farming, reforestation, and good health habits. More than 40,000 people have benefitted from the project through better nutrition, visits to local health services, and increased incomes from raising livestock and fish. And they have planted hundreds of thousands of trees to help prevent the effects of deforestation and soil erosion.
- Uganda – The Rotary Club of Kampala North, with funding from districts 5340 (California, USA) and 9211 (Tanzania and Uganda), along with Rotary Foundation grants, implemented an Adopt-a-Village project in Nkondo. Through community assessment and involvement, the project created a local-driven microfinance system with a 100 percent loan repayment rate and trained farmers to produce crops with high market values. It also formed partnerships with local nongovernmental organizations to sustain progress. The effort’s success motivated the local government to fund improvements in the village’s school and health clinic, and the rural utility to extend a power line into the community.
- Philippines – Working with a local nongovernmental organization, the Rotary Club of Makati-San Lorenzo, Philippines, provided microcredit loans to more than 1,600 rice farmers in their community. Club members also organized the farmers into a Rotary Community Corps and provided training in sustainable agriculture technology and rice mill management. The Rotary grant-funded project enabled the farmers to break the cycle of poverty caused by indebtedness to loan sharks and rice traders.
- United States – The Rotary Club of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, and Heifer International partnered to create “Seeds of Change in the Delta.” The project is providing sustainable livelihoods for farmers by connecting them with urban food markets, and conducting workshops in bookkeeping, expense and inventory control, pricing, and other practices. Arkansas’ consumers benefit by having greater access to healthy, locally produced food. The Little Rock club is working to expand the project to other clubs and agricultural communities.