Rotary Lucaya held a joint meeting at Ruby Swiss on Tuesday, December 19 to discuss economic development plans, which can catapult the Bahamian economy on a wider scope.
Four of the Grand Bahama clubs – Rotary Sunset, Rotary Sunrise, Rotary Freeport and Rotary Lucaya – heard from guest speaker, District Governor Rotarian nominee 2020-2021 Peter Verbeeck.
“I notice that The Bahamas doesn’t take advantage of this pot of money that is sitting at Rotary International. It is just waiting especially on global grants for you to have projects that can really impact your local community.
“Another portion is an economic development project and I call it living the dream. It means whatever you as an individual Rotarian or District dreams to accomplish, you must work together to achieve it.
“When you have water, sanitation, and education, that is an economic development which The Bahamas already has. Without economic development you will struggle to get other things take place,” said Verbeeck.
He suggested to enhance the country’s efforts on developing economically.
“First you must listen to all the voices in the community, you must have an impact development project that Rotary International requires, and question what it is you need to benefit the community and not yourselves.
“Listen to the young people, listen to the women, and then you make that adjustment to make sure it actually reflects what needs to be done.
“The empowerment model requires local leaders to work on those projects, so, you will require local labour.
“You won’t get labour from China, or labour from somewhere else, you must choose the local people to do your work … local training, local funding and then Rotary fills the gap.
“It is pretty much public knowledge that Rotary is one of the top charities on planet earth, so we should be very proud of that,” he added.
“Rotarians, I am putting a carrot out there for you to start thinking about economic development projects. You come up with it, you decide what you want to do with it, and you come to a census together on what you can do with this kind of project.
“As the district, we need to be a tool to help you, and to educate you on the different areas to be able to get what you have as a goal to have a reality. You have to build partnerships and you have to work, because together we have the power to make whatever you want to do as a club, happen. The most powerful group is not Rotary International, it is your club and your district that is the most important. You can get fund-raising involved and making that project you have, come true,” Verbeeck said.
Listing ways to obtain funding, Verbeeck explained, “we are in a unique position at District 6990 which is made up of two countries.
“So, a global grant requires a minimum of $30,000 for the end of the cost of the project. You don’t really need to raise that kind of money, if you can raise a lower portion, then you can possibly end up with a double amount that comes from the Rotary foundation.”
Verbeeck explained the importance of giving to the foundation leads to a financial gain. “What is important about giving to the foundation is that, the money you give to them, in three years (if it is not designated to a specific global grant) that money will come back to the district, and the district has funds that they can do on local grants and they can also do District Designated Funds (DDS).
“District Designated Funds is where the committees at all different levels of districts throughout the world, can contribute DDS to your products.”
Verbeeck noticed that Ghana and Haiti did not have much pure water, so with the idea of building, he took the opportunity of developing on the countries.
Since his companies became very useful and prosperous, he advised, “we have the opportunity, and I want you to understand these global grants are there for you to grasp.
“In order to do that, you must travel and meet fellow Rotarians, go to International Conventions, and visit a place called Friendship House where booths of persons who build projects, will be useful to the projects you are interested in building.
“The power of Rotary on these international grants, or even if you do it locally, is that the money goes to another Rotary Club and that clubs has got references with Rotary International.
“Because of this you will know whether or not they have been doing the work correctly, if they have an abscond of money, if they have receipts or even cadres to make sure the money given to the Rotary Foundation, goes to where it supposed to go.”
Stating that mankind is the business, “making an impact to our local community is our business, and this is why in my estimation we get together, - it’s about the lives we affect, and making a difference.
“We as a district want to be the folks to help you make the dream reality, because our responsibility is to be a resource for your success. I want to end with this, you must keep on dreaming.
“Get together and get your leaders to work with you to see how you can shake it up and use that money. Meet other District Governors who can bring you DDS. Give to the foundation and the foundation money comes back to your district after three years.
“As District Governor, I want to continue with what I can do to keep growing these district committees, and to have succession planning for these district committees so you can have success in whatever you dream to make happen,” said Verbeeck.