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About Rotary

Rotary International (RI) (www.rotary.org)

Rotary International is the world's oldest and most international service organization, with over 1.2 million members in 32,000 clubs, in almost 200 countries. Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self", and Rotarians live their lives in accordance with this motto. The Rotary Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share Rotary’s vision of a better world. The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

While Sustainable Cambodia is an independent nonprofit organization and is not formally affiliated with Rotary International or The Rotary Foundation, active Rotarians are key founders and make up a majority of Sustainable Cambodia’s Board of Directors. Sustainable Cambodia purposefully aligns its values with those of Rotary International, including RI’s ideals of empowerment, peace through understanding, world service and community service. We apply Rotary’s effective “Four-Way Test” to ethical issues.

Many of our Cambodian staff are Rotarians, and our National Coordinator in Cambodia was Charter President of Rotary Club of Pursat. The videos which are viewable on the Sustainable Cambodia website were produced by volunteer Rotarians and partially funded by a grant from Rotary International. Many of Sustainable Cambodia’s projects – especially water-related projects – are funded through Rotary clubs around the world and in conjunction with matching grants from The Rotary Foundation. Rotarians have served onsite as international volunteers with our organization. In 2007, Sustainable Cambodia co-founder/director Richard Allen received Rotary International’s Service Above Self award, the highest public service recognition award given by the organization, for his work with Sustainable Cambodia. Sustainable Cambodia as an organization is dedicated to furthering the vision of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

Since The Rotary Foundation was established in 1947, it has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion, and its donations to projects around the world has grown to more than $100 million annually. To date, more than one million individuals have been recognized as Paul Harris Fellows – honorees of Rotarians who have given $1,000 or more to the Rotary Foundation’s Annual Programs Fund. The Rotary Foundation’s major programs include the Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants program, Rotary Volunteers, PolioPlus (dedicated to the eradication of polio), and Peace and Conflict Studies Programs.

Among the Rotary Clubs that have worked with Sustainable Cambodia on major projects are:

  • The Rotary Club of Gainesville, Florida (District 6970) - Members of the Rotary Club of Gainesville were among the founders of Sustainable Cambodia, and the club has been a major supporter of Sustainable Cambodia water and education programs through grants and active participation of Rotarian members. The club has provided funding for dozens of water wells, and has an active "Sister Village" program, providing wells, agricultural training, fishponds, education and microloans to families in the sister village. Rotary Club of Gainesville co-sponsored the Pursat Rotary Club upon its formation, and members of the Rotary Club of Gainesville have visited Pursat, filming documentaries and working with Sustainable Cambodia staff and villagers on numerous well and education projects. Most recently, the club raised more than $30,000 in matching funds and was awarded a $300,000 3-year Rotary 3H Grant in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Pursat.

  • The Rotary Club of Calgary, Canada (District 5360) - The Calgary club has been a major supporters of Sustainable Cambodia, providing major District Matching Grants with wells, biosand filters, irrigation, latrines and related water and sanitation projects to thousands of villagers through grants with Sustainable Cambodia. Rotary Club of Calgary members have visited Pursat to provide training and assistance through Sustainable Cambodia, and continue to be active in training for Sustainable Cambodia's management team. The Rotary Club of Calgary, Canada has spearheaded a three-year, two-tier Safe Water Project with Sustainable Cambodia that is transforming the lives of families. Through the Calgary Rotary grants, village families have worked together with Sustainable Cambodia to install multi-use wells and BioSand Filters (BSF).  So far to date, the Calgary club, along with special funding from the Wild Rose Foundation of Canada, has supported the installation of 916 BSF filters, directly benefitting nearly 5,000 people, and 220 multi-use wells which have benefitted 1,257 families for a total of more than 6,000 people.

  • Rotary Club of Locust Valley, Glen Cove, NY (District 7250) - The Rotary Club of Locust Valley has provided Save-a-Child grants through Sustainable Cambodia, targeted at providing training and assistance to the families of at-risk children to help the families become economically independent while maintaining their children in the Sustainable Cambodia school programs. The Locust Vally club has also provided Matching Grants and Club/District grants to create sustainability in five villages. Through the development of farming associations in each of the five villages, community families have learned how to practice self-governance and accountability as well as how to collectively market and sell their crops. Families have been empowered to grow nutritious food, cash market crops and raise and pass-on livestock. Special workshop trainings in crop rotation, bee ecology, beekeeping, and composting have increased the quality and quantity of harvests while introducing environmental conservation practices. A biogas digester project is in the works to empower families to cook without burning wood or charcoal, allowing the families to switch from costly and non-sustainable wood and charcoal in a country struggling with deforestation and widespread respiratory health issues from family wood fires and charcoal production. The cow/buffalo pass-on project provides not only the animals, which are then passed-on from family to family, but training in Self-Help Group formation, management and animal husbandry/raising techniques. Overall, the Rotary Club of Locust Valley projects increased sustainable income generation, quality of life, empowerment and self-reliance for more than 2,000 people in these rural villages.

  • The Rotary Club of Salt Lake City, Utah (District 5420) - The Salt Lake Club was organized in 1911, and has a strong international committee that meets regularly to discuss opportunities for service in other countries. At any given time the Salt Lake Rotary Club is funding 7-10 projects throughout the world. SLRC is committed to Sustainable Cambodia. On a recent visit to Pursat, Cambodia, the SLRC witnessed first-hand that “Service above Self” is a guiding principle Sustainable Cambodia. In January 2009, the Salt Lake Rotary Club funded an Animal Pass-On program through Sustainable Cambodia. Through the grant funding, cows, pigs and chickens were purchased for the pass-on program. 50 families, totaling 245 people in the villages of Chrey Krim, Ptash Rong and Chung Ruk were the recipients of this grant. The indirect perpetual benefit is immeasurable, as the families pass on to other families, and then those families pass on to others. Prior to receiving the animals, the villagers receive resources and attend training workshops on animal husbandry. The content of the training included building animal houses, feeding, animal health management and marketing. Village families benefiting from the program will share and teach neighboring villages the value of this program. This participatory approach creates unity among villages and empowers people with confidence and a perpetual source of nourishment and food.


  • Australian Rotary Clubs & Rotary of Western Australia - A group of Western Australian Rotarians visited Cambodia in 2008 and were moved by the poverty of the rural Cambodian village people. They returned home determined to do something about it. When they learned of all the other Rotarians involved in the empowerment model of Sustainable Cambodia, they joined forces. Various clubs in Western Australia's District 9470 - including the Rotary Clubs of Rossmoyne, Kenwick, Como, Victoria Park, Mill Point and Wanneroo - banded together and created Sustainable Cambodia Australia (SCA). The effort has brought great results, and two other Australian Rotary districts may soon join in the effort, as the Rotary Club of Lismore West, in northern New South Wales, and the Rotary Club of Summerlands Sunrise on the Eastern side of Australia in Queensland have joined the SCA coalition. The SCA programs with Sustainable Cambodia today include a self-help project which funds a high protein nutrition meal for pre-school children in five rural villages, helping nearly 200 children get what might be the only nutritious meal they get all day. The SCA has also helped sink wells of all types, multi-purpose wells, deep wells and shallow wells. And they are helping with a new Rainwater Harvesting Project to alleviate water problems during the long dry season, and related animal pass-on and family education and empowerment programs through a Sister Village project in the village of Beung Sadok. They bring in donations from individual Western Australian sponsors as well, and many Rotarians at Club level have committed to helping through their International Avenue of Service. Our Rotarians in the Australian clubs want to let you know they say, "Avagooday!"

  • The Pursat Rotary Club, Pursat, Cambodia (District 3350) - The Rotary Club of Pursat is the partner for all the projects of all the Rotary clubs above. Originally sponsored by the Rotary Club of Gainesville, Florida, the Pursat Rotary Club grown to be a very active club. It is especially challenging for a Rotary club to become sustainable in a developing country, as the international and district dues required of the members is not adjusted for the cost-of-living in the developing country, and dues which seem affordable to someone living in a developed country can be 10% of annual income in the developing country. But through the sponsorship of the Gainesville club, Rotary Club of Pursat has excelled. Its members are highly active in their community, and have provided assistance to the poorest families in and around the town of Pursat, including providing clean water through biosand filters to the Kandiegn School (>1,000 students), rebuilding homes of the elderly and widowed, and cleaning up local springs and waterfalls.