• Collaboration merges Rotary's grassroots strength with agency's technical expertise
ISTANBUL, Turkey, Mar. 18, 2009 -- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Rotary International (RI) are teaming up to save lives by bringing clean drinking water and basic sanitation to communities in the developing world. The partnership was announced today at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, in celebration of the March 22nd observance of World Water Day.
This public-private alliance will leverage the resources of both organizations to implement sustainable, long-term water supply, sanitation, and hygiene projects in three countries: Dominican Republic, Ghana, and the Philippines. Other countries will follow based on the success of these pilot programs. Alliance activities in each country will be funded jointly by USAID and Rotary International, with an expected minimum of $2 million per country in the initial phase.
USAID Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham noted, "The service ethic and commitment of Rotary clubs in these countries will be complemented by USAID's development expertise and technical leadership. This partnership will yield a significant, sustainable increase in water supply and sanitation coverage for the planet's poorest and most vulnerable populations."
Former Rotary International President William B. Boyd, chair of the collaboration's steering committee, added "We intend this joint effort to be a model for future alliances with other strategic partners and in this way to enhance our contribution to world understanding, goodwill, and peace."
Worldwide, more than one billion people lack access to reliable sources of safe water, and twice that many lack access to sanitary human waste disposal systems, creating an environment that allows the disease-poverty cycle to thrive. Each year, more than 1.8 million people --most of them children -- die of diarrhea alone. Economic development also suffers as women and girls forgo education and occupations to spend hours a day fetching water for their families.
Rotary, a global humanitarian service organization and USAID see the collaboration as an effective, resource-efficient way to contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which call for a 50 percent reduction in the proportion of the world's population without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015.