Posted by Shellie Peterson
October 25, 2018
Investing in science education in Niger is really an economic development effort.  As in Senegal, there will be a partner club in country and David will be traveling there to instruct the instructors for four high schools.  With funds from other clubs, the District and Rotary International any dollars we can contribute are leveraged into many more.  This is an exciting opportunity to make a huge difference in a large number of young people's lives as they will be better prepared to get good paying jobs and take care of their families.  So - the second 'ask' of the day, checks should be made payable to Pagosa Springs Rotary Donor Advised Fund, again, be sure your name is easily identifiable as contributions to the DAF also are awarded Paul Harris Recognition Points.
The Rotary Foundation and International Service - July 18, 2018
Dave Smith took the floor with a two-fold mission: to beat the drums to find a new chairperson for our chapter of the Rotary Foundation, and to introduce Pagosa Rotary’s latest international project, which will undertake to strengthen high school science instruction in the central African, Saharan nation Niger, which lies south of Algeria and Libya.  The new project seems to be essentially a clone of the Senegal project that has been underway for a few years, with very similar objectives and means.
The local Rotary Foundation chairperson position has been open for a couple of years, David reported.  He projected a job description on the screen, which filled every available inch with an avalanche of small-font characters, completely illegible to the audience. 
With his characteristic, mischievous grin, David explained the slide was printed in such small font on a crowed page because he didn’t want us to see it, and quickly jumped to the next slide before potential candidates could be intimidated.  The new slide, he said, summarized the essence of the position in three short words: “communication, organization, encouragement.”
Communication, he continued, with Rotary International to provide a two-way flow of information between it and our club; organization, to stimulate local involvement in Rotary Foundation activities via a local committee; and encouragement, to move us collectively forward to new and better contributions to the mission of the Rotary Foundation to fund humanitarian activities.
Dave digressed briefly with a description of Rotary as a combination of elements like a three-legged stool: local clubs numbering 35,000 with 1.2 million members all over the world, Rotary International, which herds the cats clubs into a semblance of organizational structure, and Rotary Foundation, which provides funding to help support humanitarian projects on the District level and globally, such as the Senegal Project.
With a simple pitch like that, Dave, you’ll find someone to be Foundation chairperson in no time at all.
Supporting Education in Niger - June 17, 2018
Niger is a land-locked West African country that is twice the size of Texas. About 80% of Niger lies in the Sahara Desert. In 2015, the United Nations ranked Niger 187 of 188 countries in human development.
Approximately 70% of its population cannot read. Yet, within the capital city, Niamey, there are high schools where students study biology, chemistry, physics and English. These students will likely play a major role in future economic development in Niger. The Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs is working with the Gaweye Rotary Club of Niamey to improve education in two high schools in Niamey.
The Gaweye Rotary Club of Niamey is a well-established, highly active club. Great folks to work with!
Funds from a District Grant were used to buy 3 computers and 2 digital projectors that will be used by the science teachers. These funds were also used to buy voltmeters and other supplies used for teaching physics. I spent a week in Niamey where I met with school officials, taught 2 short teacher training workshops, and developed plans for a global grant that will substantially expand our efforts to improve education in these two high schools.
High school physics teachers use a computer provided by our District Grant to study simulations of common physics experiments. The combination of computers, projectors and simulated experiments is highly effective for teaching large, over-crowded classrooms. This equipment is also useful for showing Youtube videos.
Having completed an in-depth Needs Assessment, we are now preparing a Global Grant application which will be submitted to TRF in late May. The main objective of this program will be to support science and English education in two high schools. This program will build on experience we have gained through four Global Grants carried out in Senegal.
Supporting English language instruction is a new goal for our program. French is the national language in Niger. Little English is spoken. Yet, a country can be part of the modern world only if a substantial part of its workforce speaks English.
We are looking for clubs to help us in two ways. Of course, we will appreciate financial support. You can also help by hosting a small group of English teachers for a week in the summer of 2019. These teachers speak English, but have never visited an English-speaking country, such as England or the US. We plan to provide a month of practical training in English, but need Rotary Clubs to host the group for a week.
For more information, please contact David Smith (email:; tel: 970 264 6647)