Making a difference in the world

Doug May

Doug May and Barbara Barr

Doug May recently spoke to the Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke about the on- going efforts of our club and Rotary International to provide clean water for people of the world. The engineer and adjunct faculty member at the University of Arizona has been involved with two international Rotary projects to improve water. He first worked with our project in Ghana and now he will be involved in our project in Nogales, Sonora.

Doug described how the Ghana project was done with the University of Arizona’s student chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). The student chapter EWB were requested to accept this design-and-build project. This was near the city of Ho, Ghana in a rather remote location. Much of their water system was funded by a non-governmental organization and installed by labor of the villagers. However, part of the system had failed. This meant a return to fetching water from an impure pond, a task that typically falls on women and girls.

After an assessment, the engineering students determined that they could design a sustainable replacement filtering system and the national EWB organization approved it. The system was sized appropriately for a small town, as it was to provide treated water to 30 villages with a total of 10,000 people.

The engineering students made multiple trips to gather data, design the system and then to supervise construction. The Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke brought in four other Southern Arizona Rotary Clubs: Dove Mountain, Marana, Oro Valley and Pantano. We applied for a Rotary grant, and received $40,000 to fund the project. This system has been functioning well since its completion in 2009.

Fast forward to 2018, the Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke now has an approved grant and a similar partnership with a Rotary club in Nogales, Sonora. The objective is to install small water treatment systems with drinking fountains in schools. Again, we brought the four other Southern Arizona Rotary clubs with us as donors to approve funds to be matched in a Rotary Global Grant. Our initial plan is to install these systems in over twenty schools. Treated water is needed because of the age and deteriorated condition of the Nogales city water supply. Our members have made many trips to work with the Nogales Rotary Club and see the schools to be helped. The grant was approved just recently and the work will progress over the next year or two. We are excited to work across the border to help our neighbors to the south.

This is just one of the many projects of the Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke. We are also working with major projects which make a difference with local children and in our local community. Come join our fellowship as we work to make a difference. We meet Thursdays for lunch at 11:30 a.m. at SaddleBrooke One. For more information, contact Wendy Guyton at 520-404-5712 or [email protected]