What is the ‘water buffalo project’?


The mysterious “water buffalo project” mentioned at several recent club meetings obviously has piqued the interest of several new Rotarians wondering about the origin of the topic.

To fill them in on this bit of lore, we hereby repost this report from 1998. Enjoy.


“Thank you for contributing to this worthy project. It will definitely help in changing lives of many underprivileged families, as the first pilot project has already done. I am glad that we have such true Rotarian friends who have been helping us in providing support to the poor and the underprivileged.”

Rotarian Shehzad Ahmed,
Rotary Club Lahore Garrison, Pakistan

Picture 4Ten Rotary Districts pooled resources to apply for a $97,755 matching grant from The Rotary Foundation. That was enough to purchase 139 water buffalo cows for Pakistan, each of which provides milk, butter, cheese and income for a family of 10. The application was submitted in December of 2007.

But, the grant is not just about the water buffalo. It will have an impact far beyond the 1,390 villagers directly served. This is because the water buffalo will be owned by 10 new Rotary Community Corps (RCCs) set up in 10 villages. Like a Rotary Club, the new Rotary Community Corps will seek to improve their villages. Each RCC will adopt the Rotary ideal of “Service above Self.”

Picture 5The water buffalo will provide a permanent source of funding for these Rotary Community Corps. Each time a calf is born, the value of the calf is shared equally between the recipient villager and the Rotary Community Corp. Thus, the 139 water buffalo will earn approximately $25,000 a year as far as can br projcted. That is about $2,500 per RCC.

This is a substantial amount of funding in a land where $15 is a decent weekly wage, where $50 pays for a wedding, and $600 pays for knee surgery.

Possible uses of the proceeds by each RCC include potable water, medical supplies, school supplies, libraries, lavatories, waste pickup, sewing machines, scholarships and other items. It is a venture that brings prosperity and self-sufficiency to villagers. Perhaps best of all, the spirit of Rotary is promoted by supporting RCC.

This grant was made possible when District Governor Julia Phelps suggested converting the one-village pilot project into a Zone-wide project. District 7930 suggested that each of the districts in Zones 31 and 32 contribute. District 7930 led the way with a donation of $10,000 in District Designated Funds. The districts that answered the call are, in numerical order:

D7190, DG Harriet Noble, NY
D7210, DG James Yarmus, NY
D7230, DG Bob Cucinell , NY and Bermuda
D7390, DG Dennis Kovacevich, PA
D7500, DG Kathleen “Boots” White, NJ
D7850, DG John Morgan, VT, NH and Quebec
D7910, DG Gregory Roche, MA
D7930, DG Julia Phelps, MA and NH
D7980, DG Ernestine Luise, CT

The clubs that volunteered to add additional funding:

Southern Rensselaer County
Delmar
New City
Glenville
Niskayuna
North Creek
Danvers, MA
Lahore Garrison, Pakistan

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