While we are not meeting right now, our Rotary Board has met twice via Zoom and recently voted to offer $300 toward an international project jointly funded by district clubs to further access to fresh water for a community in Africa.  In Malawi, 40% of the existing hand pumps are non-functional at any given time. In addition to these broken pumps, research shows another 14,000 communities have water systems that are non-functional during the peak dry season month of October. This creates havoc for fulfilling Rotary‚Äôs Climate Resilient Initiative with regards to community development and sustainable farming to enhance economic development. To help fix this tragedy, Ohio Rotary Clubs in districts 6670 and 6690 and planning to partner with the Bwaila Rotary Clubs in Lilongwe, Malawi on a safe water program serving an estimated 20,000 people. Governor level leadership support is found with the Ohio Rotary districts as well as Malawi. The host club will be in Ohio district 6690 with the international club in Lilongwe.

The project will include water, sanitation, and hygiene implementation and training to rural beneficiaries suffering from the lack of safe and reliable water. Sanitation and hygiene training will be conducted along with VLOM water supply. In early 2019, the ministry of water in Malawi officially adopted the use of a new hand pump technology called LifePump into national policy. This technology, development by Design Outreach based in Columbus, Ohio, has also been adopted into national policy in Zambia, and has been piloted in 8 countries. Communities identified by the Bwaila Rotary Club include those where only the LifePump can provide a sustainable year-round water supply. Other technologies, such as the Afridev, are unable to reach the extreme depths beyond 30 meters per the government policy. Solar pumping options are not economically viable with populations below 1500 people. LifePump is able to operate to 150 meters and last 5 years between maintenance cycles and cost 80% less for operations and maintenance compared to other common hand pumps. The first LifePump pilot was conducted in Malawi with World Vision starting in 2013, and the original LifePumps are continuing to produce water without any down time for the last 6 years. Community transformations have been amazing with lower incidences of disease, increased safe housing, increased food production, and kids staying in school.