Local Rotarians from Burien & White Center are making international impact


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The Rotary Club of Burien/White Center is the sponsor and recipient of a large Rotary International matching grant for a project in the remote Ballia region of India.

Residents there have suffered lifelong health issues due to the presence of arsenic in the water, which is naturally occurring from its source in the Himalayas. The grant funds a “safe water” sustainable water filtration system using local suppliers and tradesmen.

The grant process began over a year ago. Fundraising partners include 6 Rotary Clubs, 2 Rotary Districts, Rotary International and 43 private outside donations. Advising partners in this endeavor include Ballia Rotary, World Vision, Ballia Women’s College and Leaders in Making Change. Rotarians traveled to India in the fall of 2017 to connect with the Rotary Club of Ballia and create a manageable plan that involves local villagers which will create a sense of ownership and the capability of maintaining the water filtration system – this is a crucial aspect in sustainability.

Partnership between The Rotary Club of Burien/White Center and Ballia Rotary in India began because inquisitive and caring people saw a need and looked for solutions. Seven other Rotary Clubs from the Pacific NW Region have joined this effort to reduce arsenic in the drinking and cooking water of local villages and ultimately provide “safe water” for over 7000 residents in the remote Uttar Pradesh Province of India. It is a sustainable project that can be maintained and enhanced through local efforts. The plan developed by the Burien and Ballia Clubs includes:

  • Mitigation: A replicable village-based water system which will be sold at 25% of the cost of commercially available bottled water. Funds will be used to pay filter operators, maintain equipment and create additional jobs;
  • Testing: Systematic testing of tubewells and filters to ensure quality control. Families most in need will be identified and the Field Office employees will continue to document the problem and the success of the solution being implemented.
  • Continued education and outreach to raise awareness of the consequences of contaminated water will be on-going. A network of individuals and residents of the villages have dedicated themselves to resolving the problem. The Host Rotarians have pledged to participate in on-going visitations to the sites, provide a monthly accounting to Burien/White Center and other project partners. These include, village governing councils, local businesses and government leaders. Over the three year timeline of the project a key component will be to gather evaluation and monitoring data, support the field office that provides the daily operation and encouraging the hiring and training of locals to sustain the on-going operation of the project.

The budget for this project has come from donations of partnering Rotary Clubs in the Puget Sound Region, individuals from around the world who share a passion for clean/safe water, a healthy environment for the rural people of India and the opportunity to demonstrate to others across the globe that safe water and better health and hygiene is an attainable objective.

The budget for this project is $142,595. All of these funds have been raised from interested individuals, matching funds from Rotarians and local clubs and the generosity of matching funds from Rotary International.

The final outcome is a sustainable project maintained and run by local community workers and leaders. The training of locals to operate the equipment and rise as leaders in their community enhances the economy of the area. The reality of a sustainable water project is that it provides economic growth and better health for all residents of a community. This world wide vision is the impetus that brought the Ballia and Burien White Center Rotarians and their partnering clubs to invest in a three-year project that will change lives in a remote village of India.

For more info, visit http://bwcrotary.org

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