Skip to main content

You are hereGroups / International / Mali - water survival boxes aid 3,300 refugees - urgent appeal for funding

Mali - water survival boxes aid 3,300 refugees - urgent appeal for funding

By Stella Almond - Posted on 27 January 2013


This week’s news has drawn international attention to a manmade disaster that has been unfolding in the West African country of Mali for several months. One of the effects of the Islamist insurgency in the north of the country has been to create a flood of refugees that have moved south to avoid the conflict. We were initially alerted to a natural disaster caused by abnormal rains and at the end of October sent a consignment of WSBs to Mali where Rotary District 9100 undertook to organise distribution in partnership with the Malian Government. The aid was used for refugee families that had already reached the south of Mali and were in camps between Bamako and Konna. The importance of our aid was indicated by a handover ceremony in which Rotary was joined by two Government ministers, the head of the Catholic church in south Mali and Rotarians representing the District and five local clubs. Onward transport was provided by the Malian authorities and involved a journey of some 450 km north east of Bamako to Tominian in the District of Segou with the convoy having to pass through a series of military checkpoints along the way. The distribution hub is less than 80km from Konna, the nearest area of conflict.

The northern half of the country is already in the hands of the insurgents and international military aid led by the French, with logistical support from UK, has now been sent to assist the Malian army to hold the line and seek to push the insurgents back to the north. Our aid went to the area shown by the red star.

Since mid-November we have been kept informed of progress of the operation mounted to get our aid to those most in need, but it has taken until this week for our Rotary contact (President Nafanga Dembele of the Bamako – Koulouba Club) to receive details from the other agencies involved to enable him to compile the final report covering the distribution of our aid. The report (prepared for us in English rather than French which is the business language in Mali) is attached as a separate document and is, by any standards, a remarkable account of the care and thought involved by Rotary, the Malian authorities and Caritas (Catholic NGO) in assessing the needs of the refugees and other displaced families and matching the range of donated items to best cater for those needs. Two montages of photographs are also attached to help illustrate the report. The last paragraph of the report reads as follows:The District 9100, the 12 Rotary Clubs of Mali in their own names and those of Malian authorities and all the 3,300 beneficiaries thank warmly the Rotary Club of Chelwood Bridge and WorldWaterWorks for their spontaneous initiative that has restored hope for thousands of Malian and hold very high the torch of Rotary in the country.

 Most of what we do as a Rotary charity is done without much hullabaloo – in the true spirit of ‘Service above Self’ – and for so long as we continue to receive funding support to keep our warehouse stocked with boxes ready to send ‘to the next disaster’ that’s as it should be.

 However, during the past two years we sent out a total of 2,960 Water-Survival Boxes in response to 10 disasters and received funds that equate to the cost of just 1,400. We now need to generate at least £200,000 before the end of the Rotary year if we are to restock and continue to respond to future disasters. The total represents just £120 per Rotary Club in RIBI. Whilst we are delighted to acknowledge the 228 Clubs that have already supported us during the current Rotary year we now need to appeal to the other 1,700 for their help. £150 pays for the cost of a standard WSB and £350 a multi-pack of five (water purification kits only) both including the cost of air freight to ensure the boxes get to those in need as quickly as possible. Remember that as a pure Rotary charity all the management of the Water-Survival Box project and the practical work involved in getting boxes packed is done by members of our Rotary Club with hands-on help from other volunteers from Rotary, Inner Wheel and our local schools and community groups.* We have no paid employees and every pound donated goes directly to pay for the boxes, contents, our fixed costs and air freight. Donations can be made by cheque to Worldwaterworks Limited and sent to our registered charity office, Westfield Business Centre, Second Avenue, Westfield Trading Estate, Midsomer Norton BA3 4BH.

Please take the time to read this account of our recent aid to Mali and ask your Club if you can help us to sustain and grow our ‘Rotary Humanitarian Aid Service’.
*Special thanks to President Chris Benton and six other members of the Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs of Fordingbridge who packed 35 boxes on Thursday afternoon 17th and presented us with a cheque for £1,500 – a great encouragement to my team.
Yours in Rotary Service
Hugo Pike PHF
Director of Operations – Worldwaterworks Ltd –
PP RC Chelwood Bridge – D1200

Join a Rotary club

Find out how you can become part of this unique community.