Although he’s an established Realtor in our community, Campbell Rotarian Rod Hibner actually addressed us today about one of his community service projects. Rod and his wife have been an active donors and supporters of the Hunger Project for more than ten years.
The Hunger Project aims to empower women and men to end their own hunger, focusing primarily in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
The project is less about providing direct hunger alleviation with shelters and food shipments, and more about enterprise development and enrichment. They have identified three critical elements to their success:
- Mobilizing people to build self-reliance.
- Empowering women. When women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits.
- Forging Partnerships with local government.
The Hunger Project has also collaborated with Rotary International and other local clubs in various projects, including restoring clean water services to the Jaldu earthquake epicenter in Ethiopia. Rod tells us that Rotary and The Hunger Project are continuing to investigate new projects, including international grant support and local club partnerships.
Every October, we welcome our Rotary District 5170 “Partners in Service” visiting from countries around the world.
Today, we heard from Henrique Vasconcelos, past district governor of Rotary District 4490 and the Rotary Club of Fortaleza-Alagadico, Brazil. Henrique was a Rotary Youth Exchange student to Pennsylvania in 1988. He is now a civil engineer working with civil construction and equipment rental since graduating from Universidade de Fortaleza.
Henrique gave a presentation on Partners in Service and the 3-H project at the Gravatai River in southern Brazil that was supported by Rotary donations from across the world. Gravatai is an 80km long river basin with the final 20 kms being heavily polluted as it passes through the cities of Cachoeirinha, Alvorada and Gravatai, before discharging into Lake Guiaba in Rio Grande do Sul the southernmost state in Brazil, en route to the Atlantic Ocean. The River is of central importance to millions who rely on it for drinking water and to carry away their sewage and industrial waste. The Rio Gravatai and its tributaries also irrigates large areas of intensive agriculture.
The Rio Gravatai is distressed by over abstraction by farmers in summer and by agricultural, industrial and sewage pollution, and dies (becomes eutrophic) in hot weather, killing the fish and causing a great stinks. Bankside communities and industry use it as a dump. Swamp drainage results in silting of its channels, and flooding of the lower reaches in the wet season. Riverside trees felled for firewood or building material cause bank erosion. The urban stretches of the river are an eyesore and unusable as a source of drinking water.