Success! Our Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) learned last month that the Thailand Water and Sanitation Global Grant Proposal that CMIRC had submitted with our international partner the Rotary Club Fig Garden (Fresno) had been approved and officially funded! This will be the first Global Grant that CMIRC has been awarded and it is a big one!
Over the next three years, CMIRC as the Host Club will receive a total of $330,000 (about 11,000,000 baht). The first 1.5 million baht has already arrived and we are ready to go to work providing reliable supplies of clean running water, as well as toilets and bathing areas for 21 mountain villages which currently do not have clean water or toilets. CMIRC will be the fiscal agent and assessor for the project, and we have also organized a video team to fully document the construction of the gravity-based water supply systems, filtration facilities, and toilet/bathing facilities.
To accomplish this huge project CMIRC will be working with the Integrated Tribal Development Foundation (ITDF). They have been serving the hill tribes of Northern Thailand for more than 30 years, providing holistic and sustainable development for the betterment of these remote mountain villages populated by Lahu, Karen, Lawa, Akha, and Lisu hill tribes.
The first and most important step in the development process is providing clean water and sanitation systems. “It all starts with water,” Mike Mann the ITDF director says.
Now that the money has been approved and the first installment has been received, we are ready to get to work!
The plan is to construct water and sanitation systems in seven villages each year for a total of 21 villages at the end of the three-year grant period. We estimate now that over 3,000 villagers in 700 households will directly benefit from this Global Grant. As a result of this project, we expect there will be significant declines in waterborne diseases and in infant and child mortality rates. Not to mention the convenience of having running water near or in your home for drinking, bathing and gardening as opposed to having to trek great distances to bring water home in buckets.
So, we are hurrying to beat the rainy season when these remote villages will be inaccessible and starting work this month in our first village: Suntisook Village (see photo above) in Chiang Rai Province. For each village we plan to serve, we assign an urgency score from one to ten, with ten being the most urgent. Suntisook is a nine! It is a remote Lahu village with 55 residents living in 13 households.
Our assessment and video team will be joining ITDF staff and visiting Suntisook Village on April 9 and 10 to document the start of this project. We will be updating the CMIRC bulletin readers as we proceed and hopefully, next month’s edition will have links to some videos of the village and the work being done.
While all members of CMIRC fully support this project and most are engaged in some way, there are a few members who should be recognized individually: CMIRC Past President Dylan Thomason, who led the club, when we accepted the challenge to pursue this Global Grant, CMIRC President Viki Thomason, who has been the President as the grant proposal was submitted and approved and is a Host Club Secondary Contact, CMIRC Rotarian Patrick Desloge, who has taken a leading role under Video Director John Hulme, in the development of our documentary film, and is also a Host Club Secondary Contact, and CMIRC Charter President and Foundation Chair Roger Lindley, who has been a significant guide as we pursued this grant. (See the photo of the CMIRC Water and Sanitation Global Grant team below.)
I would be remiss if I did not also thank our International Partners at the Rotary Club Fig Garden, especially Mike Andritch, who initiated and led this project from the start, and Rotary District 5230 Grants Chair Doug Brown, who has steered us through proper channels at The Rotary Foundation.
Finally, we want to thank The Rotary Foundation Regional Grants Officer Jennifer Berg for her guidance and her tireless efforts on our behalf.
Submitted by John K. Schorr, Ph.D., Host Club Primary Global Grant Contact