By Arnold R. Grahl
Rotary International News -- 16 June 2010

The Rotary Foundation has approved the first global grant under the Future Vision pilot, set to begin on 1 July, for a project to combat the spread of dengue fever in Indonesia.

With a total project budget of roughly US$39,000, Rotarians in districts 7980 (Connecticut, USA) and 3400 (Indonesia) aim to help disrupt the breeding cycle of the mosquitoes that transmit the disease in Kadipiro, a community of 49,000 factory workers on the outskirts of Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia.

Dengue fever is a painful and debilitating disease that is particularly prevalent in tropical and subtropical urban settings. With no vaccines available to halt its spread, the illness affects 50 to 100 million people annually, according to the World Health Organization, and causes about 22,000 deaths a year.

The global grant includes $15,660 from the Foundation, which will be combined with $7,740 in District Designated Fund (DDF) allocations from the two districts, and another $15,844 raised by participating Rotary clubs. The project supports the disease prevention and treatment area of focus.

Most of the funds will go toward hiring contractors to install white ceramic tiling on the interior surfaces of Indonesian-style cement bathtubs in 900 homes, making it easier to spot gray mosquito larvae spawned in the tubs.


The Rotary Club of Solo Kartini, which came up with the project idea, will work with local health officials and health care groups to educate the community on prevention measures, including emptying and scrubbing the tubs twice a week, closing the lid on water containers, and burying waste that can collect water. Rotarians will also oversee a group of monitors, who will be paid a small stipend to visit the participating homes weekly, checking on compliance and keeping records.

"To be the first [global grant approved] was a very satisfying result, for both us and the host partner," says Paul Spiekermann, a member of the Rotary Club of Westport who heads up the grant committee for District 7980. "We chose this project because of its measurability and public health benefits. Whatever the results are, it will carry us a step further in handling dengue fever."

Spiekermann is a physician specializing in tropical diseases and has worked with Indonesian clubs on Matching Grant projects. He says that the data from this latest effort will be handed over to the mayor of Surakarta, and that the project is expected to serve as a model throughout Indonesia.

One hundred districts are participating in the Future Vision pilot, a three-year test of the new grant structure offered through the Foundation's Future Vision Plan.

Global grants are one of two types of grants under the plan. They support large, international projects with sustainable outcomes in the areas of focus, which correspond to the Foundation's mission.

Clubs and districts can use DDF or cash contributions to fund global grant activities and receive matching funds from the Foundation. In addition, clubs and districts can sponsor packaged global grants developed by the Foundation with its strategic partners.

As of 11 June, the Foundation has received 71 proposals for global grants.

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