Merritt is located in the Rotary International district 5060. This is an international district with 60 clubs and over 2900 active members. The district spans the border between British Columbia and Washington state, and includes communities from Clearwater, (B.C) to Prosser, (WA)
District 5060 was first formed in 1919, with its first club being chartered in Yakima, Washington. Since that time clubs have sprung up where ever there are enough people to host one, and with great success have overcome the difficulties that an international district presents.
According to the Rotary International website, more than one billion people world wide live without access to clean drinking water, twice that many without access to basic sanitation systems. This creates several layers of problems, as communities suffer through disease driven by poor water quality, and economic depression when women are forced to forego education and occupation so that they can dedicate their days to fetching clean water for their families. For several years local Rotarians have been working along side the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group to bring clean drinking water to Ethiopia.
Look for Rotarians on March 22, World Water Day, when they will be commended for their efforts in raising over 6 million dollars internationally to support water projects world wide.
Three years ago, district 5060 sponsored a water diversion project near the Rift Valley in Ethiopia. The purpose of the project was to bring clean drinking water to a community with limited access to any amenities. The success of that project served to highlight other areas in which the community was suffering. Since then, the district has formed an agreement with the Ethiopian government that allows them to support a medical centre that services the area.
PolioPlus is perhaps one of Rotary International’s best known and most ambitions programs. It was started in 1985, and has grown to include nearly every Rotary club world wide. The program, designed to fill volunteer requirements in a global effort to eradicate polio, has become recognized the world over as being the model for public/private cooperation in achieving a humanitarian goal. Rotarians have lead the field, and have grown to fill the roles not only of volunteers, but also of advocates for the case of ridding the world of this crippling disease.