Rotarians don’t need to be in large clubs to make a difference in the world and in our home communities. Since the pandemic, Rotary Club of Gig Harbor North is down to thirteen members, but we just completed a four-month project to build toilets and a water system for a small village in Sokoto, Nigeria.
The project came about because one of our members, Abubakar Binji, currently lives in the Midwest and participates in our Rotary Club via Zoom. Binji came to the United States as a high school exchange student in 2002. After returning to Nigeria, Binji was encouraged by his host family in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to return and attend a community college there. He successfully completed BA and MA degrees in health-related subjects and is now completing his doctorate while raising a family.
Binji had a long-time goal to support his local village (coincidentally, the village is also named Binji). Nigeria has surpassed India for having the largest amount of outdoor defecation in the world, so toilets are uncommon in the village and the need for them is great. Outdoor defecation is clearly a major long-term health issue. After working with experts to develop plans for the toilet project, Binji and our Rotary Club sought and secured funding through a 5020 Rotary District Grant in February. Under Binji’s leadership, the project was completed in May.
While completing four toilet stalls and a watering system for sanitation may seem small for a country of 218 million persons, we hope that it can serve as a model of what can be done as Rotary reaches across the world. We encourage Rotary and other service clubs to follow our example and find ways to support those who are impoverished in the world.
Special thanks to Rotary District 5020 for providing $3,500 as an incentive for our $8,000 project.