International Service


Rotary is an international organization with clubs in most countries around the world. Rotarians have a long-standing tradition of serving the needs of the poor, disadvantaged, oppressed and needy people of the world in many different ways.
The Rotary Club of Cochrane International Services Committee is currently carrying out two projects, both focused on building the capacity of grassroots people and communities to overcome chronic poverty, such that they can actually manage their own social and economic development leading to sustainable prosperity and well-being. These project are also receiving support from eleven other Rotary clubs in District 5360.
Following is a summary of those two projects.

1. The Himat Initiative

The Himat Initiative is a Pakistan based project that has been ongoing for the past 14 years. Rotary funding and support began in 2019 and has focused on empowering women to play much stronger roles in the development of their own families and communities.
This project works with some 200 communities in the high Hindukush mountains at the very northern tip of Pakistan, bordering China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Project activities include intensive study courses at the grassroots, the formation and strengthening of women's organizations and networks, support for women-lead businesses and business alliances, and encouragement and support for women to take on leadership roles related to development in their own communities. This emphasis on women came about as a result of guidance from male community leaders who talked about the need to mobilize more and more people in their communities’ development. Their advice was: "Mobilize the women, and they will mobilize the rest".
The Himat initiative has certainly had a very significant impact on the region where it is located. Hundreds of community organizations have been formed, community plans have been developed, more than 300 businesses have been started and more are emerging all the time, more than 100 small loan funds are available to support the startup of micro businesses, and women are now playing a much stronger rule in the development planning and leadership in their region.
The Himat Initiative has just completed a seven-month pilot project in the Khanewal District of southern Punjab province. This area is more than 16 hours of travel from the original project region. It is an area that is completely different culturally and religiously, and social and economic life is even more difficult than in the northern areas. Only roughly 30% of women can read. 40% of children are stunted. Some 45% adults have hepatitis B or C. Women were confined to their houses unless in the company by a man. In the seven-month pilot just completed, a lot of things of changed. There are now 18 businesses in the 3 target villages, most of them women lead. Women have their own organizations and are actually participating with men in community development related meetings. This is only the beginning and a lot more support will be required. But the results are very promising
We are just about to enter a third round of Rotary funding.

 2. The Belize Village Empowerment Program

This project utilizes some of the same methodology and even learning materials developed in Pakistan and is seeking similar outcomes in terms of helping families and communities learn how to improve their own social and economic life. The work in Belize is only in its 3rd year, and progress has been slow and steady. One of the barriers in Belize for real community development is that the colonial process experienced by Maya people has created many disadvantages for women and for whole communities. Overcoming these sociocultural barriers to allow women to participate in small business and have a voice in community affairs is progressing, but that progress is slow as this approach to community development is new in this region.
The Belize project is in the midst of a second Rotary International Global Grant

Can there be other projects?

Rotary clubs can have as many projects as they can support financially and with their human resources. New project ideas are reviewed by the committee, which is always open to new possibilities.

What do committee members do?

International Committee members are involved in the ongoing supervision and guidance of both of these projects. This means that our members must be in constant communication with project field staff; must support staff in monitoring, evaluation and reporting; and must also provide coaching and guidance to the ongoing process of project implementation. Sometimes this requires international travel. Committee members also have to report to Rotary international, have to secure partnerships of other Rotary clubs whenever a new round of funding is required,  prepare application forms for new funding, and also carry out fundraising activities to supplement Rotary funding.

Who are the committee members?

Michael Bopp, Chair
Judie Bopp
Kevin Shier
Chrystal Skead
Sampson Marcus
Alan Carr
Melissa Enghdal
Denise Anstey
David Falconer
Diana Ruff

For more information?

Contact: Michael Bopp, Committee Chair
Phone 403-852-8283