By:  Carol Madsen, Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary 
How much do we know about the Global Grants our Clubs sponsor?  True, we hear about the proposed project when funds are sought and maybe even hear about the awarding of a Global Grant, but is that enough? Unless we’re actively involved in the project or the fundraising, it’s likely that our understanding is somewhat limited.  In discussions with Emma Bodwell, Chair of the District’s International Service Committee (DISC), she expressed concern that our international work is often very low key.  In an attempt to increase our understanding, I’ll attempt to highlight one of our recent Global Grants here.
The Kakamega Strong Healthy Families Grant is an outgrowth of a program at the Kakamega Orphan Care Center in Kakamega, Kenya.  Long supported by the Friends of Kakamega (now called Friends of Kenya Rising) in Freeport, Maine, this Care Center was the destination of the District 7780 Outreach Team in 2018. 
The team members stayed at the Care Center and were introduced to its children, their families, home-based families, programs and projects. We were especially inspired by the Strong Young Women’s program, a training in agricultural entrepreneurship.  Everything from business planning, agricultural methods and much more. The program includes teaching but also mentorship, networking opportunities to other resources, ways of working together.  This link provides background on the Center and the ultimate Program Strong Healthy Families to be supported by the Global Grant.
You can jump to minute 11:30 up until minute 18:10 for the meat of the project proposal. The beginning is about the Orphan Care Center, its development and the development of its programs. It is well worth the investment of 20 minutes of your time if you’d like to know more about your Club, your District and ultimately Rotary Foundation dollars at work.
In summary, the Global Grant Program Strong Healthy Families will provide:
1) Exposure, Inspiration, and Basic Skills in seven themed farming topics - Videos, small group discussions, extension visits, and learning field trips included for each topic
2) Training in business comparison and planning
3) Intensive, custom production in selected farm business topics
4) Business plan approval & micro-grant disbursement
5) Credit, loans, and further investment to scale the business
6) Ongoing support and mentorship
The 2018 Outreach team that went to Kenya included:
Steve Wight, Team Leader, Bethel Club
Joan Correll, Hampton Club
Claudia Frost (District Governor 2022-23), Brunswick Club
Carol Madsen, Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club
Tom & Catherine Wilbur, Freeport Club
The Freeport Club and especially Tom and Catherine Wilbur became the champions for this Global Grant. Karen O’Rouke of the Freeport Club wrote the grant.

To generate initial funds, donors from the Friends of Kakamega rose to the occasion.  Many individual Rotarians donated to support this project along with or in lieu of their Clubs.
Rotary Clubs which contributed included: Bethel, Bridgton-Lake Region, Brunswick, Exeter, Freeport, Fryeburg, Hampton, Rumford/River Valley, S. Portland/Cape Elizabeth and Wells. In total, $28,200 was raised. The Grant went on to be approved by the District on April 30 with a $20,000 addition to the total budget.  Kakamega District awarded $500.  The Project was then forwarded to Rotary International.  RI approved and added an additional $20,200 to the budget in May, bringing the total budget to $69,200 for the Strong Healthy Families Project of Kakamega, Kenya.
Congratulations to all those who made this happen.  And thank you to all the individuals and Clubs, Districts and Rotary International for providing the funding for the success of this worthwhile project.  And a huge Good Luck to the Outstanding Team at the Kakamega Orphan Care Center for doing the work you do to assist families in the region with business skills needed to support their families and their communities.
Please contact us at rotarynews7780@gmail.com if you have questions, comments, corrections or suggestions.