Dwight Leeper, West Chester resident, and member of the Rotary Club of West Chester, and Sam Lowry, of the Downtown Rotary Club of Huntsville, Alabama, wrote a proposal to The Rotary International Foundation requesting a Global Grant to provide Deep-Water Hand Pumps to improve the health and quality of life in five, small, rural communities in Senegal, West Africa. In January 2021, the West Chester club was awarded a $131,215 Global Grant for the project.
 
The ultra-deep pumps (LifePump) are capable of operating more efficiently than hand pumps currently in use in Africa, going three times deeper, with a projected life span of 30 years.  Pumps currently in operation don’t reach potable water, resulting in villagers’ drinking water from dirty runoff, mud puddles, and ponds that livestock wade through. Consequently, people face chronic illnesses that prevent children from attending school, adults from working, and perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
 
To assure sustainability and measurable outcomes, the men engaged the Rotary Club of Dakar-Soliel, Senegal, as partners in the project.  Along with training on maintenance, the grant provides for education in proper water usage, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The pumps being purchased for Senegal are produced by Design Outreach, a non-profit company that manufactures hand pumps that go deeper, and are easy enough to be operated by a child.
 
The Rotarians also engaged Partners for Global Health (PGW), an organization that collects used and overages of medical supplies for needy countries. PGW will provide transportation for Leeper and Lowry when they go to Senegal, hopefully in May, COVID permitting. 
“Working with the government of Senegal, the Office of Rural Bore Holes, and the Office of Rural Drilling, we will demonstrate to the Senegalese we have a better mousetrap,” said Leeper. “The Senegalese government has funds that could be invested in additional pumps in local communities. With 80 million refugees, whose numbers may double in the coming years and reduce arable land, there are opportunities to reach out to Zimbabwe and Uganda, which are in need of clean water also,” he added.
 
The grant requires $80,000 in matching funds, so the West Chester club and members have donated $5,250 to the three year project; Rotary District 7450, has contributed $5,000. Contributions have also been made by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. Companies, organizations and individuals interested in donating to the project can contact Leeper at 908-400-9431 or dwight.leeper@gmail.com. Donations made before June 1st, 2021 will be matched 50% by Rotary International (RI). With RI’s matching, a donation of $5,000 will cover the full cost of pump hardware for an entire village.
 
“Being awarded the Global Grant is like grabbing the brass ring of Rotary,” said Leeper.