Partner, Innovate, Evaluate: Increasing Rotary’s Impact


Partner, Innovate, Evaluate:

Increasing Rotary’s Impact



By Quentin Wodon



Copyright 2017 Quentin Wodon



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Table of Contents



Foreword to the Series


Case Study 1: Eradicating Polio in Nigeria

Case Study 2: Fighting Malaria and Ebola in Mali

Case Study 3: Providing Water and Sanitation in Uganda

Case Study 4: Saving Mothers and Children in Nigeria

Case Study 5: Transforming Teaching and Learning in Nepal

Case Study 6: Investing in Disadvantaged Youths in the United States

Case Study 7: Promoting Peace through Peace Fellows




About the Author

Connect with the Author




FOREWORD to the series



This book is published as part of the Rotarian Economist Short Books series. The books in the series are short, typically at 15,000 words or less. They provide rapid and practical introductions to topics related to volunteer work, service clubs, nonprofits, and the six areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. These areas of focus are promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies. Other topics will be considered as well.

The book series is associated with the Rotarian Economist Blog launched in October 2014 on World Polio Day. The aim of the blog and its book series is to provide analysis that can help readers make a positive difference in the life of the less fortunate. If you would like to receive email alerts of new posts and resources made available on the blog, please provide your email through the widget at https://rotarianeconomist.com/.

The editor and main author for the book series works at the World Bank. Although some of the books in the series may relate to topics that the author and co-author(s) may occasionally work on at the World Bank, the opinions expressed in the books are solely those of the individual author(s) of each book in the series and do not represent the views of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent. This book series is not associated in any formal or informal way with the World Bank.

If you would like to contact the author(s) of books in the series for a question or to provide feedback, please do not hesitate to send an email to the editor of the series through the “Contact Me” page of the Rotarian Economist blog.






Service work through volunteering or projects is at the heart of what Rotary and other service club organizations are all about. Membership surveys suggest that the main reason why members join and remain in Rotary is the opportunity to serve. Fellowship and networking are also very important, but service is first (Wodon et al., 2014).

Rotary is highly decentralized with at its core the club, or rather 35,000 of them. Rotarians come in many shapes and forms, beliefs and passions. There is amazing diversity in the types of service work that Rotarians engage in. This is a strength as members choose to contribute to the causes they are passionate about.

Most of the service work that Rotarians engage in is done through volunteering, not through projects that benefit from financial support from the Rotary Foundation. In addition, many projects implemented with support from the Rotary Foundation are small. These projects may not rely on partnerships, be especially innovative, or be evaluated in-depth. As long as it is clear to clubs and local communities that the projects are helpful, lack of partnership, innovation or evaluation may not be a major drawback.

At the same time, if Rotary is to have a larger impact globally, there is also a need to put together more projects that rely on partnerships, are innovative, and are evaluated properly.

Partnerships help to implement larger projects and benefit from the expertise of organizations that are among the best in their field. Partnerships also generate visibility and media coverage for Rotary (polio is probably the best example). Partnerships have a cost, since efforts are required for collaborations to work. But if partnerships deliver scale, expertise, or visibility, the gains often outweigh the costs. This is the case for the organization as a whole, but it is also the case at the level of Rotary clubs and districts.

Innovation is even more important than partnerships to achieve larger impacts and discover better ways to serve communities. Without innovation, the contribution of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, while significant, is still only a drop in the large bucket of development assistance. The Foundation has a respectable size, but in comparison to development funding, it is small. As an example, annual giving by the Rotary Foundation represents less than 0.5 percent of what the World Bank, just one donor, provides annually for development. But if Rotary experiments and innovates, pilot projects that prove successful can be scaled up by other organizations with deeper pockets, thereby achieving much larger impact.

Without in-depth monitoring and evaluation, innovation does not help as much to achieve impact because results on the ground must first be demonstrated at the pilot stage for a promising intervention to be scaled up. Innovation and evaluation are like twins: they work best as a pair. Monitoring and evaluation are also needed for Rotary International as well as clubs and districts to learn internally from both highly successful and less successful projects.

All three ingredients, namely partnerships, innovation, and evaluation, are needed to increase the impact of Rotary’s work. In order to encourage clubs and districts as well as Rotary International to move in that direction, this book suggests with case studies how increasing impact through partnerships, innovation, and evaluation can be done.

The first case study is about polio eradication, the largest corporate priority for Rotary International. In August 2015, the Africa region achieved one year without polio, following a similar success one month earlier in Nigeria. While cases of polio were found in Nigeria a year later, so that the country and the region as a whole are not yet polio-free, major progress has been achieved over the years. The case study looks specifically at the buy-down mechanism, an innovative partnership financing scheme that helped fund Nigeria’s polio vaccination campaigns. After providing background on Rotary’s role in polio eradication and the importance of polio vaccination campaigns, the case study explains how the polio buy-down mechanism actually works.

The other six case studies are about the areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International apart from polio. These areas are 1) fighting disease, 2) providing clean water, 3) saving mothers and children, 4) supporting education, 5) growing local economies, and 6) promoting peace. One case study is provided for each area of focus.

The second case study is about fighting malaria and Ebola in Mali. Malaria kills more children than any other disease in Africa. Rotary clubs and districts have partnered with Muso, a nonprofit organization, to improve access to health care in Mali through networks of community health workers. The program has reduced under five mortality by a factor of ten in its intervention area and it has received several international awards. Muso has also helped the Ministry of Health to fight the Ebola epidemic, and its model is now being replicated nationally by the Ministry. This case study explains how this was achieved, and the contribution of Rotary to the program.

The third case study is about the Uganda Rotary Water Plus (URWP) project, an example of efforts by Rotary to invest in larger projects to achieve impact. The URWP team has established partnerships with multiple NGOs as well as USAID and the Ministry of Water and the Environment. It has been innovative in project design to promote sustainability. In addition, in one area (Apac district), extensive data collection has been conducted on water and sanitation community assets and needs to inform the prioritization of future investments, which should also help in achieving higher impact.

The fourth case study is about another large project which provides training and resources to reduce the risk of complications from obstetric fistula in Nigeria hospitals. The team established multiple partnerships for both funding and implementation. The project relies on an innovative quality assurance mechanism and data collection process to improve the quality of obstetric care. An evaluation suggests that the project helped generate a reduction in the maternal mortality rate in participating hospitals of 60 percent. Given its success, the project has now been scaled up to many more hospitals.

The fifth case study is about two innovative training programs aiming to improve teaching and learning in Nepali classrooms through better pedagogy. The programs provide continued support to teachers after an initial training to increase the likelihood of success. But there are also differences. The first program aims to improve teaching with the resources available in schools. The second aims to integrate technology in the classroom. This yields an additional layer of issues to be dealt with in order to ensure that the laptops and digital resources are used well. Both programs are implemented in partnership with nonprofits and the Ministry of Education, and for both quantitative and qualitative monitoring and evaluation data suggest positive impacts.

The sixth case study is about a program aiming to improve research and writing skills for seniors in public schools in Washington, DC, in the United States. Directly or indirectly, programs of this type are essential in order to enable youth to acquire the skills that are needed for their professional success and more broadly economic development. The program has expanded substantially in recent years thanks to a partnership with District of Columbia Public Schools as well as a number of charter schools. It is innovative in the design of the curriculum it follows and the resources it provides for teachers and students. And it has been evaluated through pre- and post-intervention assessments of student writing skills, as well as feedback from both teachers and students.

The seventh and last case study is about Rotary’s Peace Centers in partnership with leading universities. Rotary provides scholarships for Peace Fellows to complete Masters and Certificate programs. This is clearly an example of partnership with some innovative elements. Data on impact are only partial, but surveys of Peace Fellows after graduation suggest satisfaction with the program, and positive impacts on their careers.

Together the case studies provided in this book cover polio eradication as well as the six areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation. It is hoped that the book and its case studies will prove useful to Rotarians and others interested in those topics. They are meant to inspire Rotary clubs and other service organizations to harness the promise of partnerships, innovation, and evaluation.



Eradicating POLIO IN nigeria


In August 2015, the Africa region achieved one year without a single case of polio, following a similar milestone achieved in Nigeria the previous month. While a few cases of polio were still found in Nigeria the next year, so that the country and the region as a whole are not yet polio-free, major progress has been achieved. This case study tells the story of how an innovative financing mechanism played a role in this success.

Polio eradication is Rotary’s flagship program. PolioPlus, the first global campaign aiming to eradicate polio through mass vaccination of children, was launched thirty years ago in 1985 by Rotary. In 1988, Rotary became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a public-private partnership in which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and a number of national governments are also engaged and contributing. Rotary has also played a leading role in the area of advocacy in the case of polio.

Polio eradication campaigns have achieved impressive results. Polio used to be a devastating disease affecting 30,000 children per year in the United States alone in the mid-1950s. Thanks to vaccines and mass immunization, the number of polio cases worldwide has dropped to almost zero. In 2016, according to GPEI, only 42 cases of polio were confirmed worldwide versus about 1,000 cases per day in the 1980s.


Rotary’s Contribution


According to data from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States have been the largest contributors to polio eradication campaigns, with a total of $2.9 billion in contributions and pledges from 1985 to 2019 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and $2.6 billion from the United States government. Rotary International comes third with $1.5 billion in funding. In addition, more than a million Rotarians have given their time and/or personal resources towards polio eradication, including by participating in vaccination campaigns.

Rotarians are familiar with the award-winning public awareness campaign “This Close” launched by Rotary in 2013 and suggesting that we are on the verge of polio eradication. The high profile individuals that have appeared in the campaign include among others Bill Gates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu (pictured below in the Rotary International advertisement campaign), actress Archie Panjabi, actor Jackie Chan, golf star Jack Nicklaus and Korean pop-star Psy.

It is important however to keep in mind that polio outbreaks continue to occur. In 2014 the wild poliovirus spread in central Asia (from Pakistan to Afghanistan), in the Middle East (from the Syrian Arab Republic to Iraq) and in Central Africa (Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea). As a result, in May 2014 the World Health Organization declared that the spread of the virus constituted an “extraordinary event”. Today the situation looks more promising, but polio outbreaks remain a threat. The case of Nigeria mentioned earlier is another example of the importance of continued effort. After a full year without any new cases of polio in the country, a few cases were again observed the next year.

Funding for polio vaccination campaigns also remains an issue, as funding gaps remain to complete the task of eradicating polio. Private partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International have been stepping up to the plate, in terms of both providing resources and advocating for polio eradication towards governments and international organizations.


Cost Effectiveness


Does it make sense to spend that much money on a disease that seemed to affect only a few children worldwide? The available research suggests that it does, not only from an ethical point of view, but also as an economic or investment. This is because the cost of a spreading virus could be much higher.

A 2014 brief by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (2014’ see also Tebbens et al., 2011) suggests that previous investments of $9 billion since the creation in 1984 of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) may have already generated $27 billion in net benefits out of $40-50 billion in potential benefits estimated by researchers in an economic analysis of the GPEI. While investments in polio eradication campaigns have higher initial costs than routine immunization, they have long term payoffs.


Polio in Nigeria


Only three countries have not yet been able to stop transmission of the wild poliovirus: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Less than a decade ago, hundreds of cases of polio were still observed annually in Nigeria. In July 2015, Nigeria achieved for the first time the milestone of one full year without any case of polio. Unfortunately, a few cases of polio were found in Nigeria during the following year, so that the country and the Africa region as a whole are not yet polio-free. Still, major progress has been achieved.

Eradicating polio in Nigeria requires unusual courage and commitment. In some areas, professionals and volunteers who are leading the polio campaigns risk their life. Boko Haram assassinated nine polio vaccinators in 2013 in the north of the country. In some areas vaccinators have had to rely on “hit and run” tactics to reduce exposure to risk, vaccinating children quickly in the morning and leaving these areas by the afternoon.

Nigeria’s polio immunization campaigns also require substantial efforts and persistence from multiple agencies, ranging from the Ministry of Health of Nigeria to UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). What is perhaps less well known is the fact that Nigeria’s gains were also achieved in part through an innovative buy-down financial mechanism implemented by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rotary International through the United Nations Foundation.


Polio Buy-down Mechanism


Eradicating polio costs money. In order to maximize the impact of every dollar provided for polio eradication, an innovative buy-down mechanism was put in place more than a dozen years ago so that the cost for Nigeria of borrowing from the World Bank for its polio eradication campaigns could be offset at a discount by funds from Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the case of Nigeria, two World Bank projects worth $285 million (including additional financing) were implemented using the buy-down mechanism over the last dozen years or so. The projects were funded by IDA (the International Development Association), which is the concessional arm of the World Bank for poor countries. The projects included clauses that allowed the loans to Nigeria to become grants (thereby waving repayment for the country) if Nigeria achieved a high level of polio immunization coverage.

In other words, if immunization targets indicated in the loans were achieved by the government and verified through audits by independent third party observers, the government of Nigeria would receive grant funding for polio eradication without the need to repay any loan.

For the government of Nigeria, this was a great deal if the immunization targets could be achieved. For the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and for Rotary International, this was also a good investment. Indeed, due to the concessional nature of IDA loans (long-term zero or low-interest loans with grace repayment periods), for every dollar contributed to the buy-down, the actual amount of resources that could be transferred to the government for the polio campaigns was about twice larger.

The buy-down funds were transferred by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International (through the United Nations Foundation) to a trust fund managed by the World Bank at the start of the project. As Nigeria did succeed in achieving the immunization targets, the loans were cancelled and transformed into grants.

As a result of the innovative buy-down mechanism, every dollar invested in the Nigeria polio immunization campaigns by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International generated about $2 in grants for the World Bank.

The buy-down mechanism also had innovative built-in incentives to encourage strong implementation performance by the government of Nigeria since the loans would be transformed into grants only if specific immunization targets were achieved. These targets were set in order to be achievable, but not without some effort. The same buy-down mechanism has been used in Pakistan for polio eradication, but unlike Nigeria, Pakistan has not always been able to meet the required immunization targets.

Finally, it is worth noting that the buy-down mechanism included a rigorous monitoring and evaluation framework whereby an independent third party (a consulting firm) had to verify if the immunization targets claimed to be met by the Government of Nigeria were indeed met. This certification was required before the polio credits (loans) could be bought down and thereby transformed into grants.


Potential for Replication


At the time of the creation of the first buy-down mechanism for polio, then-World Bank President James. D. Wolfensohn stated that: “The partnership to buy-down loans to grants on the basis of good performance is an example of the innovative thinking occurring in the private sector and the World Bank about how to increase finances for the fight against global diseases. This financial innovation is bringing the goal of a polio-free world one large step closer to becoming reality.”

A number of conditions have to be met for buy-down mechanisms to be successful. But in the case of polio eradication in Nigeria, the mechanism has been successful.

Could similar buy-down mechanisms be applied in other areas? This was certainly the hope when this innovative mechanism was created for polio a dozen years ago. It was thought that it could potentially be used for other areas in global health. It is, however, unclear whether the idea has been replicated in other development areas, even though it has been mentioned in a number of reports, including for education (Burnett et al., 2014).




While Nigeria is not yet polio-free, the buy-down mechanism has been instrumental in helping the country make substantial progress towards polio eradication over the last dozen years. It is a great example of a Rotary investment based on partnerships, innovation, and evaluation.

The partners included the Nigerian authorities, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Foundation through which Rotary’s funds were channeled, and other partners from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (including UNICEF and the World Health Organization).

The financial mechanism was innovative, serving both the needs of Nigeria and the desire of donors to maximize the impact of their funds.

A rigorous monitoring and evaluation mechanism was put in place to certify that the immunization targets agreed upon were achieved before transforming the credits into grants.

Even if the buy-down mechanism itself is perhaps not as well-known as it should be as a financial innovation, it has been beneficial to Rotary and the partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The mechanism has helped in mobilizing resources and expertise from partner organizations.

It has also helped, at least indirectly, in making the contribution of Rotary to development better known. Polio eradication milestones are often covered in the media, including with stories by TIME, the BBC, National Public Radio, and prominent newspapers. Many of these stories often mentioned Rotary as one of the key partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and several of the stories rely in part on interviews with Rotarians, thereby bringing visibility to Rotary’s contribution.





Mohammad, a three-year-old boy, lives in Yirimadjo, a community in Mali. One day, he woke up feeling ill with a high fever. That same morning, Kumba, a community health worker with the nongovernmental organization Muso, visited his family’s home during her daily door-to-door active case-finding visits. On discovering that the child had a fever, she administered a rapid diagnostic test for malaria, and he tested positive.

Kumba administered free Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapy on the spot, counseling Mohammad’s mother on how to take the oral pills the following two days. Mohammad was able to start curative treatment for malaria within four hours of falling ill. Kumba visited him the next day, and the day after that, to make sure that he was taking his medication and that his health was improving.

Because most children who die from malaria are killed within 48 hours of symptom onset, speed matters in providing treatment. Mohammad’s treatment was more effective and less expensive than might have been the case if he had started treatment at a later, more severe stage. Early, proactive health care may have saved Mohammad’s life. This case study, which is based on Wodon et al. (2014) tells the story of Muso, a great program saving lives in Mali which has benefitted from the support of Rotary.


A New Approach to Providing Care


More than three billion people, or close to half of the world’s population, are vulnerable to malaria. Every year, more than 200 million cases of malaria occur, and close to 700,000 people die from those episodes. Many of those deaths occur among children under the age of five. More generally, more than six million children under five die every year worldwide from curable diseases that can often be prevented through simple tools such as bed nets or easily treated by oral medications at home if caught early enough.

Muso is a nonprofit organization at the frontlines of providing timely, proactive health care to poor and hard-to-reach populations in Mali. Its interventions have been proven effective in reducing malaria-related deaths.

As Dr. Ari Johnson, co-founder of Muso explains: “Most children killed from malaria die within 48 hours of the moment they say ‘Mommy I’m sick.’ We already have the tools to avert nearly all deaths from malaria, but they are not reaching the children who need them early enough. Our idea is simple but powerful: if we reach every child early, we could avert nearly all child deaths from malaria. But to reach every child early in the world’s poorest communities is a big challenge. To make this happen, we had to challenge the conventions of traditional health systems. Traditional health systems are reactive. Medical providers like me are expected to wait for patients to come to us. Muso’s health system takes a proactive approach, deploying Community Health Workers to search actively for patients door to door.”

Muso works in communities through a four-step approach. The first step consists of mobilizing the existing health care delivery system and making sure that illnesses are diagnosed early. Muso selects, trains, employs and supervises local individuals – community health workers – who go door-to-door and identify children sick with malaria and other illnesses. The community health workers diagnose malaria in the household and treat simple cases. They provide a package of life-saving health care services in the home itself. When care is needed from a doctor, they refer patients to government health centers.

The second step consists of removing barriers that prevent people from accessing healthcare when needed. As in Mohammad’s parents’ case, most families in the areas of interventions covered by Muso are poor and do not have enough money to pay for hospital fees. In addition, many are not able to get to the hospital in time for treatment. Even when families can scrape enough money together to go to the hospital, they fear they will be diagnosed with an illness or disease which would cost a lot of money for medication. By eliminating point-of-care user fees as needed, Muso ensures that even the poorest can benefit from life-saving comprehensive and universal care at home, in community health centers, or in referral hospitals.

The third step consists of creating rapid referral networks by training communities in identifying health risks, prioritizing rapid treatment, and navigating the health system. These networks are essential for community organizers, religious leaders, and educators to help families in need and bring children and adults suffering from malaria to community health workers or to centers where care is provided.

The fourth and final step consists of clinical capacity building. As Muso removes access barriers to achieve universal health coverage, it also reinforces the capacity of the public sector to provide quality care to patients in health facilities. This includes expanding infrastructure and training health care providers, as needed.


Ten-fold Reduction in Deaths


How do we know that Muso is successful? A study by Johnson et al (2013) documents a ten-fold reduction in child mortality in Yirimadjo, Mali, after the launch of the Muso model. At baseline, the child mortality rate was 15.5 percent. After three years, it plummeted to 1.7 percent. During the same period, the study documented a ten-fold increase in the number of patient home and clinic visits; a doubling of the rate of rapid access to malaria treatment for children in need; and a reduction by one-third in the share of children becoming sick with fever. Because the study was not based on a randomized controlled trial, but on repeated cross-sections in Muso’s area of intervention, it is important to exercise caution in assigning causality. Still, the results are very encouraging.

The Muso team has received substantial recognition in recent years. The 2013 GSK Global Healthcare Innovation Award recognized Muso as one of five effective new models for better chances of child survival. The Caplow Children’s Prize named Muso one of eight finalists for its global award that identifies high-impact new models for saving children’s lives.


Scaling Up


Some great pilot interventions in health are implemented without ever being scaled up, so that their benefits for a country’s population as a whole may be limited. This is not the case for the Muso pilot. In addition to implementing and evaluating its new model, Muso worked from the start with the Malian Ministry of Health as well as other partners to explore opportunities to expand its model nationally.

In 2014, the Division of Community Health Systems of Mali’s Ministry of Health announced a five-year plan to scale up professionalized community health workers throughout the country. Just a few years ago Mali’s public health sector had no paid community health workers. Soon, they could very well be present in all regions.

How did this transformation happen? Muso and other partners have been actively working with the Ministry of Health for seven years. The partnership was launched in 2008. The collaboration has been not only operational, but also scientific, with support from university researchers. Though this partnership, Muso has been able to provide technical assistance to help the Ministry develop a national plan for scaling-up the community health worker model.

Four factors contributed to the success of this partnership and to the scaling-up announcement according to Dr. Ari Johnson, the co-founder of Muso (interviewed in October 2014). “First, we started the partnership early on. By setting an operational research partnership at the design phase of the project, we were able to ensure that the pilot would focus on the priorities of the Ministry of Health, which meant a focus on child survival and disease-specific targets, including early effective treatment for malaria.”

A second factor for success was the ability to work with other NGOs to test the robustness of the community health worker model in different parts of the country. “The Ministry of Health worked simultaneously with several NGOs on operational research to test community health workers models. This included, but was not limited to Muso with the operational research study in Yirimadjo and Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières) with another study in Kanbaga. These experiences with multiple partners in several locations provided the Ministry of Health with converging evidence for scaling up paid, professionalized community health workers,” explains Dr. Johnson.

The third factor for success was the support of other organizations. Multilateral and bilateral global health institutions are all trying to strengthen health systems in Africa. In Mali, Dr. Johnson explains that UNICEF and the Global Fund provided important support for the adoption and expansion of the community health workers model by the Ministry of Health.

Finally Dr. Johnson insists that operational research partnerships must be long-term to succeed. “Longitudinal operational research partnerships take time to implement, but over time, they help build relationships between public sector policy makers and hubs of research. These relationships become avenues for translating research into evidence-based policy change at scale.”

Dr. Johnson adds that “the long view is critical, and often neglected in global health work. Short-term funding cycles push organizations to move on after a few years and abandon the foundations of a strong partnership. A long term partnership for iterative and ongoing research is crucial to support Ministries in their strategic plans and thereby achieve scale.” On the occasion of the announcement of the national plan to scale up professionalized community health workers throughout the country in 2014, Dr. George Dakono, the Ministry’s Director of Community Health Systems, noted that “Muso is at the vanguard” and invited Muso’s Health Systems Director, Dr. Djoumé Diakité, to present the plan at the Ministry of Health.


Relevance for Ebola

Apart from their role in preventing and treating malaria and other common illnesses, community health workers can also play a role in the fight against epidemics. In October 2014, a two-year-old girl who had traveled with her grandmother from Guinea died In Mali. Mali became the sixth West African country with a confirmed Ebola case.

Why are community health workers important for the fight against epidemics like Ebola? They tend to be trusted members of their communities. They can not only help in providing information about Ebola and promoting appropriate behaviors, but they can also help to trace and monitor those who have been in contact with the virus. This must be done for at least 21 days – the period during which symptoms do not yet emerge, and monitoring must be continued after that period if individuals become sick.

In the other countries affected by the virus – including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, community health workers already played those vital roles. In Mali, as noted in Muso’s 2014 annual report, the NGO was able to build a new curriculum for frontline health workers, assemble a national team, and train them in partnership with the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Malian Ministry of Health.

These frontline workers monitored hundreds of people at risk, found new cases of Ebola early, and connected them with treatment quickly. Muso also provided technical support to government partners to craft the national Ebola education messages. The team deployed cell phone technology to share these messages rapidly in high-risk areas, to help get patients to care quickly. At the end of 2014, Mali’s first two Ebola survivors completed treatment and came home. In January 2015, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization declared an end to Mali’s Ebola outbreak.

As Dr. Johnson explains, “there is huge potential for community health workers to accelerate efforts to stop epidemics like Ebola, by supporting epidemiologic surveillance, contact monitoring, returning traveler monitoring, community engagement, and prevention counseling.”


Rotary’s Contribution


How has Rotary helped? Thanks to fund raising among a large network of Rotarians in Mali, the USA, and India led by Maria Nelly Pavisich, then at the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill in District 7620, Muso benefitted from a $60,000 grant from Rotary.

This was a Future Vision grant with matching funds from the Rotary Foundation and initial contributions from the Capitol Hill club (as international club) and several other districts and clubs, including the Rotary Club of Bamako-Amitié of Mali. In Mali, a number of Rotarians, including Sunny Akuopha, played key roles in helping the project.

The focus of this first grant was on malaria prevention and treatment for the community of Yirimadjo. The funds were used to buy 3,061 high quality insecticide bed nets, thereby serving more than 6,000 people (in most families two people sleep under the same bed net).  The funds also provided diagnosis and treatment for more than 3,500 patients, in many cases saving the lives of young children.

During the course of this project, Muso grew substantially with new partnerships among others with the Against Malaria Foundation and CHF. This allowed the team to reach universal coverage of the interventions for the Yirimadjo population. As noted earlier, even if one needs to be careful about causality, the intervention has been associated with a large drop in the mortality rate of children under five in the community.

In March 2014 the Rotary Foundation awarded Muso an additional $151,500 Global Grant to expand its work. The project, put together by the Rotary club of Washington, DC, is called Thrive for Five: Improving Child Mortality and Survival in Mali. To date, more than 15 Rotary Clubs in 11 Districts, seven countries, and four continents have supported Muso’s important work in Mali. While Rotary has of course not been the only supporter of the Muso model, it has played an important role in its expansion.




Muso has piloted an innovative new model of health care delivery that appears to have contributed to reducing under five mortality in its area of intervention. The model has also proved valuable in fighting the Ebola epidemics. Rotary provided crucial support to Muso when the NGO was still small and not as well-known as it is today, with fewer resources. Some Rotarians and Rotaractors have volunteered with Muso in Mali, and others have contributed to making the project better known internationally.

As I corresponded with Dr. Johnson in November 2016, he mentioned that Muso was in the process of rolling out a major expansion to eight new sites in rural Mali, on track to connect nearly 300,000 people with care by early 2017. Muso is also providing intensive technical support to the Malian government to build and roll out its national plan for Community Health Workers scale-up. Finally, Muso is planning a rigorous impact evaluation through a randomized controlled trial to measure its effectiveness.

While many organizations and individuals have contributed to Muso’s success, especially the Muso team working on the ground, at times taking substantial risks to help the population as was the case during the Ebola epidemics, Rotary and Rotarians have played a small supporting role as well.






Access to water and sanitation remains limited in low income African countries, especially for the poor. This case study is about a large Rotary project to provide access to water and sanitation in Uganda. Before describing the project, on the basis of recent World Bank studies (Tsimpo and Wodon, 2017a, 2017b), a rapid diagnostic of the sector is provided using nationally representative data and qualitative fieldwork. Findings from this diagnostic help set the stage for understanding the approach undertaken by Rotary.

Basic statistics on access are sobering. Less than one in five households has access to piped water through the residential network or through public standpipes. By standard definitions, three in four households have in principle access to an improved water source, but for many the quality and/or cost of the water they have access to remains problematic. For example, some households with access to improved water sources choose instead to rely on other sources of water due to cost, long distances to the safe water sources, or perceptions that open water is safe enough.

Only a small minority of households have access to improved sanitation. Due to multiple factors, the use of toilets, waste disposal techniques, and other sanitation facilities has not improved enough over the last decade. In addition, survey data suggest that less than one in seven households have a facility in their dwelling to wash hands, and only half of those facilities in household dwellings have soap.


Lack of Functionality


Some communities in Uganda have experienced gains in access to water and sanitation. Yet in many communities, issues remain with community leaders suggesting that water and sanitation are not affordable. In the case of water for example, when households in urban areas are not connected to the network and rely on water providers, they often pay a higher unit price for water than households connected to the network. This is the case not only for tankers or street vendors, but also for public standpipes.

In rural areas especially, multiple factors contribute to poor access to safe water. One such factor is a lack of functionality, which refers to the fact that facilities are not working properly whether this is due to (among others) aging systems, poor maintenance, or the inability to repair broken down equipment.

Drilling a well may be relatively easy. Maintaining it, less so. Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment publishes an annual sector performance review. These reports suggest that a fifth of water points are not functioning. Major causes for non-functionality include technical breakdowns and low yield. Shallow wells tend to have the lowest functionality rates (protected springs have the highest). Some water sources are considered as abandoned, having been non-functional for five or more years. Only about half of community-level Water Source Committees function well. Functionality is improving in urban areas, but gains in rural areas are weaker.

Lack of maintenance is sometimes due to lack of spare parts, inadequate repairs, or lack of funds for repairs. It may also be hard to find well trained technicians. Power shortages and lack of fuel to run generators also play a role. Other factors, including lack of training for hand pump mechanics and limited interactions with district water offices may also play a role.

In one village visited for qualitative fieldwork, the community had six tap stands. Due to poor workmanship and usage of small pipes coupled with low pressure the tap stands did not last for three months. In another community the only functional tap located at the health center was not reliable because the water was always on and off, and the other three available taps had broken down years ago. In another village, the peak waiting time to collect water from the water point was one hour due to a non-functional borehole. Still in another village, two boreholes were available, but one stopped being functional four years ago, and the remaining one was so hard to pump than in servicing the pump, the mechanic’s fingers were cut off. Many households ended up collecting water from swamps two kilometers away.


Other Constraints to Access


Apart from a lack of functionality of the infrastructure, other constraints to access to safe water and sanitation include a lack of responsibility to maintain water and sanitation assets, scarcity of water in some areas, and cultural factors.

Lack of responsibility refers to poor organization or leadership at the local level that prevents communities from investing in improving water supply, and leads to poor maintenance and a lack of incentives for households to keep water sources clean. Scarcity refers to the fact that in some communities, water is not easily accessible – it has to be brought into the community from distant sources. This also means that families, including children, must spend significant time fetching water, thereby reducing the time available for productive market work (for adults) and schooling and study (for children).

In the case of sanitation, cultural traditions and behaviors, attitudes, and lack of affordability are among the main reasons for limited latrine/toilet coverage in communities. But inadequate landscape, terrain, or soil type also play a role, as does lack of land to build latrines. Inadequate hygiene habits such as not washing hands are also related to cost, attitudes, and at times ignorance or at least cultural norms.

Households and communities are aware of what constitutes safe water and sanitation. They recognize that boiling water may be needed to ensure safety. There is recognition of the need to build latrines sufficiently far away from water sources. At the same the pressure of daily life and common practices come in the way, due to both affordability issues and cultural factors. As an example of affordability constraints, buying charcoal or firewood to boil water may be too costly for some households. Lack of affordability is also related to the opportunity cost in terms of time of fetching water that may be safer, but located further away from dwellings.

As for cultural factors, in some areas perceptions that the population used to be fine in terms of health outcomes without having to protect its water sources may lead to sub-optimal outcomes when contamination risks have increased due to population growth and other factors. For some, there may also be a perception that if water that looks clean, it can (erroneously) assumed to be safe.

Private latrines are not affordable for many. When public latrines are available, there is often a consensus that in order to ensure maintenance, fees should be charged to those using the latrines. Yet enforcing the fees is hard, and often public latrines fall in disrepair. Bye laws state in many urban communities that households should build their own latrines – but again enforcement is difficult. Technological alternatives to traditional latrines have also been proposed, but these are often not seen favorably by households, and may also fall in disrepair. Similar issues are at play for waste removal.


Uganda Rotary Water Plus


Rotary is playing an important role in helping to meet some of the water and sanitation needs of Uganda’s population. A first important initiative is the Uganda Rotary Water Plus (URWP) program. UWRP coordinates work on water and sanitation done by 78 Rotary clubs (virtually all the clubs in Uganda). The program was launched by the Ugandan Minister for Water and Environment in October 2011. It promotes effective service delivery to rural and less privileged communities.

Survey data and qualitative fieldwork both suggest that the constraints faced by households and communities are complex, often requiring solutions that must be context and community-specific. Clubs develop projects for the communities they wish to serve. For this purpose, they must first build strong relationships with the community and develop a needs assessment. Having identified needs, clubs then select partners to meet those needs, including other Rotary clubs for fund raising, non-profits and/or business partners for implementations, and local authorities. Co-funding is typically provided by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and in some cases other funding agencies.

The design of projects must be based on adequate technologies for the community context, with attention paid to gender and environmental issues. Clubs are encouraged to link the projects to other areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation, for example by providing water and sanitation to schools or health clinics. The idea is that water and sanitation alone can’t transform a community; the “Plus” in URWP refers to other areas of focus of TRF such as supporting education or fighting disease.

The model also encourages local management committees to oversee facilities cost recovery through tariffs so that funds are available for maintenance. In practice, projects must be designed and implemented following an eleven-step approach in order to promote sustainability. The steps are: (1) Create project teams; (2) Understand community needs; (3) Estimate lifecycle costs and ensure affordability; (4) Select technologies (design/plan project); (5) Prepare a capacity building plan; (6) Build, construct, and implement; (7) Establish links to commercial channels; (8) Develop management systems; (9) Set up micro-banking facilities; (10) Hire key members/resources; and (11) Sign agreements with stakeholders.

URWP aims to raise $7 million for more than 30 projects. Rotary International is also partnering in Uganda with USAID to invest $4 million over four years through additional projects, following previous successful similar collaborations in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and the Philippines (this broader partnership is referred to as the International H20 Collaboration).

Beyond the mobilization of funds, the URWP initiative has also succeeded in uniting 4,000 Ugandan Rotarians, more than 3,000 Rotaractors and many members of Rotary Community Corps behind countrywide water and sanitation initiatives. Many have volunteered their time and financial resources to support the projects.


Community Needs Assessments


Another interesting initiative that is part of URWP has been the implementation of a detailed diagnostic of water and sanitation facilities in communities of Apac District located 250 kilometers north of Kampala. The District has a population of around 350,000, many of whom live in poverty.

The idea behind the water and sanitation community needs assessment was to prepare an inventory of resources as well as gaps to be used by the Ministry of Water and the Environment as well as Rotary and other funders for the prioritization of investments. Teams visited communities. After an initial meeting in each community, data collection involved implementing a survey, conducting interviews and focus groups, establishing an inventory of all water and sanitation assets in the community, and conducting community mapping exercise.

Data were collected using the FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch) system developed by Water for People. The application relies on Android cell phones together with GPS data and Google Earth software to document water and sanitation infrastructure as well as its functionality.

The community needs assessments was implemented with support from the Apac government and 16 organizations. Rotaractors served as field enumerators. Data were collected for communities as well as public institutions such as schools and health centers, with ratings provided on the quality of facilities and the satisfaction of users. Tests of water quality have also been conducted in some of the areas.




URWP represents a prime example of efforts by Rotary to invest in projects that have a larger impact through partnerships, innovation, and monitoring and evaluation. The URWP team has established partnerships with multiple NGOs as well as USAID and Ministry of Water and the Environment. It has been careful, and one could say innovative in project design in order to ensure a higher likelihood of sustainability. Evaluations of the projects are not yet available (many projects are still at the design or implementation stage), but monitoring systems are being put in place.

Finally, in the case of Apac district, extensive data collection has been conducted on water and sanitation assets and gaps at the level of communities in order to inform prioritization of future investments. This should also help in achieving higher impact through targeted interventions.





Too many women die when giving birth in Nigeria. According to the 2013 Demographic and Health Survey, maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbearing accounted for a third of all deaths among women age 15-49. For the seven-year period preceding the survey, the maternal mortality rate was 1.05 deaths per 1,000 woman-years of exposure. Another often used statistics is the maternal mortality ratio, at 576 deaths per 100,000 live births for the seven years preceding the survey. These statistics are high, and the maternal mortality ratio is not decreasing fast enough over time. As a result, one in every 30 women in Nigeria are likely to die due to pregnancy and childbearing over their lifetime, making Nigeria a major contributor to maternal deaths worldwide.

Many factors contribute to high rates of maternal mortality, but a key risk factor is obstetric fistula (a hole in the birth canal). The World Health Organization estimates that each year between 50,000 and 100,000 women suffer from obstetric fistula which by obstructing labor can lead to maternal death. Some two million young women live with untreated obstetric fistula in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa today. The risks of obstetric fistula could be reduced by delaying the age at first pregnancy, delaying the age of first marriage, stopping harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, and providing timely access to obstetric care.

This case study is about the role that better obstetric care in hospitals together with awareness and advocacy campaigns in surrounding communities can play in reducing maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity. The focus is on how quality assurance mechanisms implemented in hospitals can improve the quality of obstetric care.


Improving Obstetrics Services


Quality assurance mechanisms can help improve obstetric services and can thereby contribute to reducing maternal and fetal mortality. This was the premise of a series of Rotary projects aiming to reduce maternal (and fetal) mortality in Nigeria led by the Rotarian Action Group for Population Growth and Sustainable Development (RFPD) between 2005 and 2010.

With support from RFPD and some 200 Rotary, Rotaract and Inner Wheel Clubs, Rotary implemented a project to improve quality assurance mechanisms in ten hospitals in Kano and Kaduna States in Northern Nigeria. The project aimed to improve maternal health through the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula. Apart from funding from Rotary club and the Rotary Foundation, funding and support were also provided by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Aventis Foundation and the International Association for Maternal and Neonatal Health (IAMANEH). The project was implemented by Nigerian Rotarians.

Conceptually, reducing maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality can be achieved through and an improvement in the quality of the infrastructure and other inputs used to provide treatment (availability of medicine, better hospital facilities, etc.) as well as improvements in the process of providing treatment (more experienced health personnel). The project team worked on both fronts.

In terms of improvements in infrastructure, a number of investments were made, including two specialized fistula wards (one for each of the two Nigerian states) with rehabilitation facilities. Medical equipment was provided to the ten hospitals and some of the hospitals were equipped with better water supply and solar energy. Hospitals also received intrauterine devices for women requesting them for family planning as well as drugs preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

To improve the capacity of hospital personnel, seven doctors were trained as fistula surgeons and 15 ward nurses were trained in fistula care. Many more doctors, nurses and midwives, and other health personnel such as traditional birth attendants were also trained on how to improve obstetric services. Hospital teams were trained in emergency obstetric care including (among others) in the use of magnesium sulfate to manage eclampsia and the use of an anti-shock garment to treat postpartum hemorrhage.

Apart from providing support to the hospitals participating in the project, support was also given to communities in the hospital’s catchment areas. Mosquito nets were provided to reduce the risk of contracting malaria. Awareness and advocacy campaigns were held using radio, television, print media, and even drama (public plays on the streets) to inform the population about obstetric fistula, its causes and how to prevent it, and its impact on maternal and fetal mortality. These awareness campaigns enlisted the support of traditional and religious leaders who have substantial influence on behaviors in the community.

Perhaps the most important innovation was the development of a quality assurance mechanism that involved setting standards and systematically collecting data on the quality of the care being provided and the outcomes in terms of maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity. This was done through a “quality circle” process to monitor, review, and improve performance over time. Data were collected in participating hospitals, analyzed statistically, discussed by the teams, and used to assess improvements and take corrective measures as needed.


Evaluation of the Project


An evaluation based on the data collected by the hospitals as part of the quality assurance mechanism before, during and after the intervention suggests that the project achieved a 60 percent reduction in maternal mortality in participating hospitals and 15 percent reduction of newborn mortality (Galadanci et al., 2011).

Overall, as noted in a brochure from RFPD (2013), the project’s achievements have included: (1) Awareness raised at the grassroots level through radio serials and community dialogues; (2) Establishment of quality assurance in ten hospitals, achieving a 60 percent reduction of maternal mortality and a 15 percent reduction in fetal mortality in the hospitals; (3) Establishment of two specialized fistula wards with rehabilitation facilities and provision of needed hospital equipment; (4) 50 doctors, 400 nurses and 400 health workers and traditional birth attendants trained; (5) 1,500 fistula patients treated and rehabilitated; many benefited from vocational training and micro credits satellite programs to help build up their own small businesses; (6) Hospitals lacking water and solar energy provided with these facilities; (7) 24,000 mosquito nets distributed to hospitals and nearby communities; (8) Midwives and traditional birth attendants equipped with clean birth kits and anti-shock garments; and finally (9) Hospitals provided with drugs to prevent transmission of HIV from the mother to her child.




RFPD’s obstetric fistula project combines all three ingredients of a winning combination for impact: partnerships, innovation, and evaluation. The team established multiple partnerships for both funding (the investment for the pilot project in the ten hospitals amounted to one million Euros) and implementation (securing buy-in from the hospitals, the state authorities, the communities, and even traditional and religious leaders). The project included Innovative components In the Nigerian context, especially the quality assurance mechanism and data collection process to improve the quality of obstetric care. Finally, the project was evaluated using data from the quality assurance mechanism and the evaluation was published in an academic journal. The evaluation suggested that the project helped generate a reduction in the maternal mortality rate in participating hospitals of 60 percent.

Given its success in reducing maternal and fetal morbidity and improving overall health in communities surrounding participating hospitals, the project has been considered a success by stakeholders as well as by the Kano and Kaduna state governments. This led to a subsequent project to continue to build capacity in the original 10 participating hospitals, and extend the model to 15 more hospitals (five rural hospitals in FCT Abuja, five hospitals in Ondo State, and five more in Enugu State).

Additional scaling up is now being implemented by the RFPD team. A follow up project for Nigeria was approved by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in the summer of 2016. The aim of the project is to support and accelerate the implementation of the Nigerian Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response guidelines with Obstetric Quality Assurance. The project benefits from support from the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the Ministries of Health of participating states.





Many developing countries have made substantial progress towards improving education attainment (the level of education attained by students) over the last two decades. At the same time, the instruction provided by teachers to students often remains of limited quality. This results in less than stellar education achievement (how much students actually learn) as measured through performance on national or international assessments. While students may do well enough on portions of examinations that rely for the most part on memorization, they tend to do less well when asked to think creatively or solve complex problems. In order to improve the performance of students in school and how much they learn, training teachers is key.

In-service training programs serve existing teachers. Pre-service programs are part of the training provided to those studying to become teachers. Because pre-service programs reach only new cohorts of teachers, in order to improve education systems, in-service programs are especially important. Indeed, outstanding in-service teacher training programs can make a major difference in how teachers teach, how much students learn, and how much they learn, especially among disadvantaged groups.

Many factors influence student achievement, including factors that are beyond the control of schools such as a student’s socio-economic context. But teachers are clearly the most important factor under the control of education systems to improve learning. Teachers also account for the bulk of public spending for education in developed and developing countries alike. For these reasons, there is increasing interest in finding ways to attract, retain, develop, and motivate great teachers.

The tasks of attracting, retaining, and motivating teachers fall squarely within the scope of the mission of Ministries of Education. Developing teachers is also a key responsibility and priority for these Ministries. But in this area as in many others, there is also scope for nonprofits and organizations such as Rotary clubs to play a role by helping to create great in-service training programs for teachers.


Characteristics of Great In-service Programs


The importance of in-service training and professional development to improve instruction is recognized by practitioners and policy makers. Three lessons emerge from the literature (World Bank, 2013).

First, opportunities for teacher training and professional development should be made available. But not all programs achieve the same results. When in-service programs focus on changing pedagogy, the evidence suggests that they can improve teaching and as a result student achievement. By contrast, programs that merely provide additional teaching materials for teachers do not generate substantial gains.

Second, the contents of training programs aiming to change pedagogy matter as well. In-service training programs that expose teachers to best practices in instruction and actually show teachers how to implement these practices are more likely to generate positive change. Promoting collaboration between teachers, among others through teacher networks where teachers can exchange ideas is useful. Mentoring programs whereby junior teachers benefit from the guidance of experience teachers also tend to be effective. Other approaches tend to be less successful.

Third, it is important that in-service training and professional development programs target in priority the teachers who need help the most. Teachers who are struggling may benefit more than already great teachers from various programs. Similarly, students from disadvantaged backgrounds or living in poor areas also tend to benefit more from a higher quality instruction than better off students who have more help from their family at home. Identifying priority pockets of needs is most beneficial when implementing and teacher training programs.


Two Programs in Nepal

The above features of successful in-service training programs are at work in the experience of two innovative Nepali teacher training programs. The first program, PHASE-NTTI, is implemented by PHASE Nepal, a local NGO, with support from Nepal Teacher Training Innovations (NTTI). The second program, OLE (Open Learning Exchange) Nepal, was launched in 2007 by a Rotarian. Both programs take the need for opportunities for professional development for teachers seriously, emphasize pedagogy in their training, and work in public schools, often in poor and remote areas. This case study briefly describes how the two programs work, how much we know about their effectiveness, and how Rotary is hoping to expand the programs with global grants.




Traditional instruction in Nepal relies on lecturing by teachers and memorization by students. PHASE-NNTI aims to train public schools teachers to make the classroom more interactive by coaching them on how to lead classroom discussions, facilitate group work, and ask questions to students to encourage individual thought. Instead of relying on punishment and at times shaming in the classroom to control student behavior, teachers are trained to use dynamic inquiry-based instruction methods and provide positive encouragement to motivate the students to learn. As the classroom becomes more participatory, students engage in their own learning.

A story can perhaps best help explain the dynamics at work. During a pre-training PHSA-NTTI classroom observation, a teacher taught a lesson on animate and inanimate objects. She entered the class. Students stood up. When she greeted them with “Good morning class,” they responded in unison “Good morning Ma’am” and sat down. “Today we are going to learn about animate and inanimate objects,” the teacher said, writing the words animate and inanimate on the board but not explaining their meaning. “Is it ok?” she asked. “Yes Ma’am”.

These are animate and inanimate objects, the teacher continued, pointing to various objects. “Copy them down and read from your book about this.” She returned to her desk. Her only further interaction with students was to hush them to silence and respond to a question about a definition.

Three months after participating in the training, the same teacher taught the same lesson to a different class. After the morning greeting, she pointed to a chair and a plant. “What is the difference between these two objects?” she asked. Hands shot up and she wrote student responses on the board. An explanation of the two terms followed. Then students were asked to discuss examples of animate and inanimate objects in pairs. Lastly, the teacher took students outside to look for more examples of animate and inanimate objects in the schoolyard.

One student approached the teacher with a live ant in her hand: “This is animate object, yes Ma’am?“Yes” she confirmed. The child then squashed the ant and asked: “Is it still animate object now Ma’am?” Dumbfounded, the teacher asked the rest of the class what they thought and an animated conversation ensued.

The PHASE-NTTI model does not rely on one-off training. Instead it involves a cumulative cycle of trainings and intensive follow-up support to individual teachers. The aim is to help teachers move from an awareness of effective teaching practices to actual implementation of the practices in their own classrooms. The training model includes a series of teacher development courses: Introduction to Best Teaching Practices; Girls’ Sensitivity Training; and a Training of Trainers for those selected as Mentor Teachers.

The model includes pre- and post-training classroom observations, individual feedback received by teachers from Master Trainers, and follow up individual teacher support by Mentor Overall, the program is implemented over a two-year period in each school. While no impact evaluation is yet available to measure the impact of the program, quantitative data obtained through pre- and post-training classroom observation are encouraging. In contrast to teacher-driven and student-silent classrooms, classrooms with trained teachers seem to be closer to functioning as hubs of learning (Hager and Wodon, 2017).

Instead of only lecturing trained teachers lead classroom discussions, facilitate group work, and ask questions to encourage individual thought. Students learn how to make their own novel connections and think critically about what they hear and read. Qualitative data suggest that the program is appreciated by teachers and students.

There have been challenges to which the program has had to adapt. The program did not work as well in secondary schools, so it now focuses on primary schools. Support from principals for teachers changing their pedagogical approach is needed, but not guaranteed. Distances to schools in rural areas make it hard to maintain regular contact after initial trainings. Lack of time for teachers to prepare lessons as advocated by the program is also a constraint. The structure of classroom time may limit creativity and inquiry-based teaching. The persistence of traditions harmful to girls in parts of the country is a major challenge to keep girls in school.

The PHASE-NTTI program does not have all the answers to these challenges, but it does have the key features that tend to be associated with successful in-service training programs.


OLE Nepal


OLE Nepal was founded in 2007 by a Rotarian, Rabi Karmacharya. Rabi co-founded OLE Nepal after a decade as a software engineer in California and technology entrepreneur in Nepal. Rabi had experienced firsthand as the founder of his own tech company that Nepali graduates were smart, but that they often did not question how things were done.

The graduates seemed not to be inclined to experiment and innovate much. Rabi attributed this in part to the fact that Nepal’s education system emphasizes technical knowledge and memorization rather than exploration and experimentation. He thought that he could help transform the prevalent culture and modes of teaching in schools through the introduction of technology, especially at the primary school level.

How does OLE Nepal work? The NGO provides laptops to school it supports under a shared model whereby students and teachers from various grades can take turns in using laptops for one lesson per grade per day. Offline servers provide access to a wealth of digital resources. Solar panels are used in schools without access to electricity.

In rural public schools many children do not have enough textbooks. When textbooks are available, they may not be very engaging. OLE Nepal helps to solve this problem through a digital library (E-Pustakalaya) that hosts more than 6000 books, audio books reference materials, educational videos, and other resources that students and teachers can use freely both in class and after class.

Yet providing laptops, servers, and digital libraries is not enough. The key is to ensure that these resources are used, and used well. For this the teacher is the key. Over the years, OLE Nepal has refined its implementation model to better support teachers in their use of the digital resources it provides. Initially, teachers were trained through a one-week induction program. Nowadays, additional training and support is provided long after that initiation.

From the start, the idea was to adapt digital resources to the curriculum (including through E-Paath) to ensure that using the resources provided would not result in too much additional work for teachers who often feel overworked. A volunteer program has been put in place to provide additional support to teachers who need it. Again, the role of teachers cannot be overstated. If teachers are not on board with the program, the introduction of technology in the classroom is not likely to improve teaching and learning.

How do we know whether the program is achieving results? Two evaluations of the program are available (Kamacharya et al., 2917). An initial quantitative impact evaluation suggested that the program did not succeed in raising student performance on test scores. But the data also suggested high levels of satisfaction with the program among students and teachers alike. Field observations and feedback from teachers and students suggested that the program was making a difference, but perhaps in a different way than what was measured in the quantitative evaluation through test scores. A subsequent lighter qualitative evaluation also suggested positive effects.


How Has Rotary Helped?


Apart from the fact that one of the two Nepali programs was created by a Rotarian, Rotary is helping PHASE-NTTI and OLE Nepal in two ways.

First, a US-Nepal Rotarian team is putting together global grant proposals for the Rotary Foundation in order to support the extension of the two programs. At the time of writing of this study, the grants are not yet approved, but the team is hopeful that they will soon be.

Second, in order to prepare the global grant proposals, the team has conducted an in-depth analysis of how the programs work and a review of the evidence to date on their effectiveness in improving teaching practices and student learning outcomes. Detailed case studies for the two programs have been written using quantitative and qualitative data and are in the process of being published. Apart from informing the design of the Rotary global grant proposals, it is hoped that the case studies will be used to inform programs for teacher training in Nepal and other countries.




Both programs emphasize pedagogy in the classroom. Both provide continued support teachers after an initial training to increase likelihood of success. But there are also differences. PHASE-NTTI aims to improve teaching with the resources available in schools, OLE Nepal does too, but it also aims to integrating technology in the classroom. This yields an additional layer of issues to ensure that the laptops and digital resources are used, and used well.

The two programs remain small in comparisons to needs, but they have achieved some level of scale. PHASE-NTTI has trained close to 1,000 teachers. OLE Nepal has deployed 5,000 laptops in over 100 schools, and trained over 600 teachers. Both programs have almost a decade of experience on the ground. The two programs also exemplify the principles of partnerships, innovation, and evaluation that can increase impact.

On partnerships, both programs from the start worked in public schools in cooperation with the Ministry of Education which approves the trainings and in the case of OLE Nepal the deployment of the technology. This has led to benefits beyond the programs. For example, OLE Nepal raised awareness in the Ministry about the use of information and communication technology as a tool, and not just a subject to be taught.

On innovation, both programs are innovative in their own way, especially in the context of a country where traditional modes of teaching still dominate.

On evaluation, both programs have tried to assess their effectiveness, collecting quantitative and qualitative data. Evaluations sometimes suggest large positive impacts, and sometimes they do not, but they should not be seen as a potential threat. In the case of OLE Nepal, what is important is that results from the initial quantitative evaluation did not lead to the demise of the program. They helped improve and strengthen the program. Witnessing firsthand positive changes in classroom dynamics and student engagement brought about by the program, donors continue to provide support to the program.






Growing local economies requires many different ingredients, but one of the most important ones is a skilled workforce, especially among youth. Skills tend to be acquired through the education system. In that sense, sustainable growth, whether at the local or national level, and policies supporting education are often intrinsically linked.

The United States benefitted for decades from one of the most skilled workforce in the world, but there are concerns that this is not the case anymore. Today, among OECD and other countries, the US ranks low for the performance of its students in mathematics, reading, and science. This is evident in the latest round of results from the internationally comparable Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) database for 2016. PISA measures skills for reading, mathematics and science literacy among 15-year-olds. The latest round of data collection took place in 2016. A poor performance for the United States has been observed for many years now, despite the fact that we spend more per student than most other countries.

Within the United States, the District of Columbia has been struggling according to data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The District often ranks at or near the bottom of the NAEP league tables in comparison to other states for most subject areas. There are many reasons for the poor performance of the District. In spite of major improvements in economic development in the last decade, a substantial share of its population remains poor, and poverty is one of the main drivers of poor performance in school.


Tutoring and Training Programs


Responses to poor academic performance and drop-outs must be multi-faceted. Impact evaluations suggest that gains can be made through various types of interventions. One possibility is to invest more in well-designed tutoring and skills acquisition programs that take place outside of normal teaching hours. Other programs provide support to students both during and after normal school hours.

The literature on out-of-school-time programs (see for example Heinrich and Burch, 2011) suggests that, in order to achieve impact, it is important for programs to:

p<>{color:#000;}. Provide consistent and sustained instructional time, for a total of at least 40-45 hours;

p<>{color:#000;}. Provide tutoring to small groups of students, preferably less than ten at a time;

p<>{color:#000;}. Follow a curriculum that is rich in content and takes into account the specific needs of students while being also closely related to what students learn during the regular school day;

p<>{color:#000;}. Ensure that tutoring sessions are active and varied (ex. combining structured and unstructured instruction, as well as individual and collective work time). These should also target the development of specific skills;

p<>{color:#000;}. Foster positive relationships between tutors and students; and

p<>{color:#000;}. Foster the collaboration between teachers and tutors with support of administrators, including constructive evaluation.


Programs in Washington, DC


In the District of Columbia (also referred to as the city of Washington, DC), several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are implementing intensive tutoring program. Consider, for instance, Higher Achievement, which operates in Baltimore, Richmond, Pittsburgh, and DC. Students meet three days a week during the school year: they first complete homework, then have dinner, and work on a specific subject in small groups of two or three with a trained volunteer mentor.

This is a rigorous program – overall, students spend a total of 650 hours a year in the program between fifth and eighth grade. Data suggest that enrolled students improve their grade point average (GPA) and virtually all graduate. The program has been evaluated by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. The evaluation suggested statistically significant positive impacts after one year in the program on mathematics proficiency and reading comprehension. The mathematics impacts lasted four years after enrollment in the program. The program also increased the probability that the students would enroll in high performing private high schools.

Another program operating in DC and evaluated by MDRC is Reading Partners. The program serves more than 7,000 students in over 130 schools in California, Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, Maryland, South Carolina, Texas, and DC. Reading Partners works in (large) part with volunteers, which helps in keeping costs down. An evaluation, conducted in 2012-13 in a subset of the schools where the program operates, suggest reading proficiency gains. While this evaluation was not about STEM, it suggests again that tutoring programs can make a difference.

Other interesting initiatives include NGOs such as the Urban Alliance that helps High School students remain in school, gain internships in the greater Washington, DC area, and plan for college, as well as the Latin America Youth Center which has programs that provide sustained individual support to students and youth at risk. These and other NGOs are starting to invest more in impact evaluations for their programs.


One World Education


Some NGOs work directly with public schools, both during and after normal school hours. One World Education trains teachers and helps students improve their writing skills, and think about their college options at the same time.

One World Education was created in 2006 by two teachers, Eric Goldstein and Emily Chiariello, who taught at one of the charter schools in Washington, DC. Their idea was to use students’ reflective writing as the foundation for what was discussed in the classroom. The model proved successful as students became more engaged and, in turn, started to develop better research, writing, and analytical thinking skills. The non-profit was launched in 2007 and has been growing. One World Education signed two years ago an agreement with DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) to expand its programs in all public high schools in the city. As a result, the organization has become the largest nonprofit writing program operating in the District’s public schools.

The program focuses on writing skills and is adapted to various grades. For example, the Grade 12 program helps students analyze, research, write argumentative essays, and lead presentations about the college and career issues that await them after graduation. It includes a comprehensive seven week coaching period. Essays written by students can serve as their Senior Project. Selected student essays are published on the One World Education website, providing recognition for students and creating a cycle of peer-to-peer learning.

More generally, for all grades where the program is implemented (Grades 8, 10, and 12), students and teachers can access a number of resources provided by One World Education, including the following:

p<>{color:#000;}. Common Core Aligned Lesson Plans: All lesson plans are created by teachers, for teachers, and are aligned to multiple research, writing, and presentation Common Core State Standards that outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. Lessons are accompanied by rubrics for teacher evaluations and peer-to-peer reviews;

p<>{color:#000;}. Student Writer’s Notebook: the notebook leads students to analyze exemplary, peer-authored essays before guiding them through researching, outlining, drafting, and revising their own argumentative essays.

p<>{color:#000;}. Student and Educator Portals: Students and teachers will have access to easy-to-access lesson plans, rubrics, research sources, and related resources for teachers and students are available online.


Evaluating Program Impacts


Randomized controlled trials have not yet been implemented to assess the impact of the programs run by One World Education, but available data suggests that the program is having an impact. In 2016, in order to assess gains in the quality of the writing of participants, a sample of students participating in the program took a writing test before the start of the program and at the end of the program. The test was graded by university professors. Results suggest important gains after program participation in both public and charter schools (Comstock and Wodon, 2016a, 2016b).

Feedback from teachers – and more importantly students who participated in the program, is also highly positive (Comstock and Wodon, 2017). These positive evaluations of the program based on impartial analysis in partnership with local universities have been a key factor in the agreement reached by One World Education with DCPS to substantially expand the program, especially in grades 10, and 12. All public high school students in the District in those grades now have the opportunity to participate in the program, and many charter schools also benefit from the program.


How Has Rotary Helped?


Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, have supported the project in various ways. The club has donated funds to, and volunteered with, One World Education for several years. In 2015-16 the club’s donation will be matched with a district grant using so-called district designated funds from the Rotary Foundation.

Each year student essays are assessed by a panel of judges at a College and Career Writer’s Challenge each year. This enables students to learn how to make an argumentative pitch to a panel. One student from each school is eligible to earn a college or vocational training scholarship, and every participating school can nominate a number of seniors to participate in the event. In 2016, funding provided by the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill and Rotary District 7620 allowed One World Education to provide small scholarships for college to 10 students who had written especially good.

In addition, Rotarians have participated in One World Education’s programs in a number of volunteering capacities, including as judges for the essay competitions taking place at the College and Career Writer’s Challenge, and as board members for the organization.




Enabling students to better succeed in school and acquire the skills that they will need in professional life can have a major impact on their life. Better educated youth also generate positive externalities for communities, and help the economy grow.

In supporting One World Education, Rotary builds on the potential benefits from partnerships, innovation, and evaluation. One World Education itself has partnered with District of Columbia Public Schools to substantially expand the reach of its program. The program is innovative in the way writing skills for students are being developed using a range of resources and mechanisms. Evaluations of One World Education’s program have shown that the program generates measurable gains in middle and high school students’ writing skills, and in their self-confidence. The program not only improves students’ writing, but it also helps in preparing them for college and career-level writing.

For Rotarians, One World Education’s program has offered unique opportunities to personally support students from disadvantaged backgrounds by contributing in various ways. This had been done through donations, but also through volunteering.





In terms of global grants, promoting peace is one of the smallest portfolios among the areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. However, there is one relatively large program for promoting peace that Rotary invests in outside of the global grant or future vision model. Rotary provides funding for six Peace Centers established in leading universities around the world as well as for 100 Peace Fellows each year to obtain Master’s degree or undertake a Certificate program at one of those Peace Centers.

The Peace Centers and Peace Fellows program is clearly an example of partnership (with universities), with components that are innovative (especially the Certificate program for professionals working in the area of peace and conflict prevention and resolution), and for which at least some monitoring and evaluation data have been collected through tracer studies of graduates of the program as well as assessments of the perceived quality of events organized for Rotary’s Peace “Community of Practice”.


Peace Centers and Peace Fellows


Up to 100 Peace Fellows are provided with a Rotary scholarship each year among a pool of applicants recommended by Rotary clubs and districts. Rotary provides funding for the scholarships given to the Peace Fellows as well as part of the operating costs of six Peace Centers at which the Peace Fellows undertake their training. The scholarships currently provide a full-ride, paying for all fees related to the studies of the Peace Fellows. This includes matriculation fees, transportation, travel, room and board, and insurance.

Five of the six Peace Centers and associated universities offer Master’s degrees, with up to 50 Peace Fellows selected each year to enroll (10 students for each university). These Peace Centers are affiliated with Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States (this is a joint Peace Center between the two universities which are located nearby each other), International Christian University in Japan, the University of Bradford in England, the University of Queensland in Australia, and Uppsala University in Sweden. The fellowships are for Master’s programs that take 15 to 24 months to complete. The programs normally include a practical internship of two to three months during the summer break.

The sixth Peace Center is affiliated with Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. It offers a three months Certificate program for up to 50 Fellows per year. Candidates for the Certificate program are typically mid-career professionals. By contrast, candidates for the Master’s programs tend to be younger, but they must have a few years of professional experience at the time of their application for the program.

Rotary has a long tradition of providing scholarships for graduate students, but the Certificate program at Chulalongkorn University is somewhat different. It is cheaper to administer per person than the Master’s degree program, and targeted to individuals already working on peace and conflict prevention and resolution since it serves professionals in those fields. The Certificate takes eleven weeks to complete and it includes two to three weeks of field study. The program aims to provide Peace Fellows with a comprehensive overview of peace and conflict studies with four modules of study:

p<>{color:#000;}. Concepts and Values of Peace and Conflict Studies (introduction to the field);

p<>{color:#000;}. Diagnosis and Analysis of Conflict (assessment of conflict and peace interventions);

p<>{color:#000;}. Conflict Resolution Skills, Approaches, and Strategies (including negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and communication); and

p<>{color:#000;}. Conflict Transformation and Building a Sustainable Peace (ways to move from conflict to peace with proper stakeholder participation in society).

Two practical field studies experiences are included in the program, one after the third module in Thailand, and an international field study at the end of the fourth module. The program relies in large part on guest lecturers with governmental, NGO, corporate, and security backgrounds.


Tracer Studies


In-depth evaluation of the Peace Fellows program have not yet been conducted, but results from tracer studies (studies collecting data on program graduates after their graduation) suggest a high level of satisfaction with the program among graduates. In addition, the tracer studies suggest that most graduates appear to be working on peace and conflict resolution broadly defined (that is, including the field of development).

Since the first class of peace fellows graduated in 2004, close to 1,000 alumni have graduated from the program, with a larger share having a Master’s degree than a Certificate because the Certificate was launched later. Virtually all Fellows have reported their post-graduation area of employment to Rotary through tracer studies at least once.

Interesting findings emerge from the data. Most Peace Fellows appear to find appropriate employment after their graduation. In the case of Certificate students, about half return to their employer before the program. Four in five fellows mention that the program has helped them to realize their career aspirations tremendously or quite a bit. This is true for both Master’s and Certificates. Most graduates work as practitioners in peace, conflict prevention/resolution, and development. This includes working for NGOs, a government agency or the military, a United Nations agency, police or law enforcement agencies, and organizations such as the World Bank. About one fourth of the Fellows engage in research, teaching, or further study. Some work as lawyers, journalists, and other professional occupations. Few are unemployed and looking for work.

Program alumni work and live all around the world, including in North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and Oceania, South America, the Middle East, and Central America and the Caribbean. This provides a potentially impactful worldwide network or community of practice of individuals committed to peace, conflict prevention/resolution, and more generally development. The question, then, is how to mobilize this network, including in collaboration with Rotary and Rotarians.


Building a Community of Practice


Rotary is investing in building a community of practice among Peace Fellows and Rotarians interested in promoting peace and development. One tool is the Rotarian Action Group (RAG) for Peace. Another is the organization of Rotary Peace Symposia typically every three years. The last and fourth triennial Symposium was held just before the Rotary International convention in São Paulo in June 2015. This was an occasion for Rotarians and Peace Fellows to discuss collaborations and potential service projects together.

The event was held for two days. It was attended by 354 participants, including 72 Peace Fellows, Rotarians (some of whom are members of the RAG for Peace), representatives of the six Peace Centers, and leaders of NGOs working on peace and conflict resolution. Oscar Arias, the former President of Costa Rica and a Nobel Peace Laureate, was a keynote speaker. Nine in ten attendees surveyed after the Symposium were satisfied or very satisfied with the event, suggesting potential for such events to help build a community of practice.

As another example of efforts to build a community of practice on peace in Rotary together with Peace Fellows, Rotary International held in January 2016 a World Peace Conference in Ontario, California. An evaluation of the conference (Wodon, 2016) suggests that the quality of the conference was deemed high by participants. The conference was considered better than previous conference attended by participants.

Questions were asked about whether participants are engaged in peace related work and whether attending the conference was likely to lead them to be more engaged in such work in the future. About half of participants stated being engaged in Rotary or other volunteer work related to peace, and for one in five peace or conflict prevention and resolution are topics on which they are engaged at work and in a volunteer capacity. Almost one in two participants stated that due in part to the conference they would be likely to be working more on those topics in the future.




Issues of conflict, fragility, and violence are at the forefront of the development agenda. They are also major concerns in developed countries, as witnessed by recent events in the United States. To be able to serve as effective agents for conflict prevention and resolution in often difficult contexts, leaders for peace at all levels of responsibility must be properly trained. While studying peace and conflict resolution through university programs is neither a necessary, nor a sufficient condition for working on peace and conflict resolution, a knowledge of core issues in the field is typically required.

Rotary International has made an important investment in leaders for peace over the last dozen years through its Peace Centers and Peace Fellows program. Each year Rotary selects up to 100 individuals worldwide to receive fully funded fellowships to study at one of six Rotary Peace Centers. Half of the scholarships are for Master’s degrees. The other half are for mid-career professionals to earn a three months certificate.

Aspects of the program – especially the Certificate track – are innovative. The program is implemented in partnership with leading universities. And monitoring and evaluation is taking place through tracer studies of former graduates as well as satisfaction surveys for current students. Overall, this is again a good example of an initiative that combines partnerships, innovation, and evaluation to achieve higher impact.





Through a series of case studies, this short book aimed to make the case for both the importance and the feasibility of strengthening partnerships, innovation, and evaluation in Rotary projects in order to increase their impact.

Not all projects need to include partnerships, innovation, and evaluation. But the organization and the communities its aims to serve would be better off if more projects did. This is because partnerships, innovation, and evaluation can increase the quality, scope, and reach of our work, thereby helping clubs, districts, and Rotary as a whole to achieve its mission of service above self.

The case studies told the story of projects in each of the six areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International as well as eradicating polio. The projects included an innovative financing mechanism for polio eradication; an award winning project reducing under five mortality in Mali; a program that is transforming teaching and learning in Nepali classrooms; a project to save the life of mothers and children in Nigeria; a program to invest in the writing skills of disadvantaged youth in the United States and thereby foster economic development; initiatives to improve access to water and sanitation in Uganda; and work done by Rotary International with Peace Centers and the financing of Master’s degrees and Certificate programs for Peace Fellows.

Some of the case studies included in the book document the achievements of relatively large projects. Others are about smaller initiatives. But all the projects are in one way or another innovative. They are all leveraging partnerships to crowd in financial resources as well as expertise. And they all have at least some elements of a strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism.

The projects featured in this book are great examples of what can be achieved. Many other examples of wonderful projects could have been included, and some of those will be documented in subsequent books in this series with a focus on specific areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation. Rotarian Action Groups have also accumulated substantial experience that can be tapped by clubs to design successful projects. But let me end this book here to keep it short, hoping that the case studies shared through the book will inspire Rotarians and others to harness the promise of partnerships, innovation, and evaluation.





Burnett, N., N. Elias, R. Hecht, P. Isenman, J, Schweitzer, and M. Thomas, 2014, Final Report on Buying Down Loans for Education to the Global Partnership for Education, Washington, DC: Results for Development Institute.


Comstock, E. and Q. Wodon, 2016a, Evaluation of the One World Cornerstone in DC Public Schools: Improving the Research and Writing Skills of Students, Innovations in Education in DC Note No. 2, Washington, DC: The World Bank.


Comstock, E. and Q. Wodon, 2016b, Evaluation of the One World Education Program in DC Charter Schools: Improving the Research and Writing Skills of Students, Innovations in Education in DC Note No. 4, Washington, DC: The World Bank.


Comstock, E. and Q. Wodon, 2017, Argumentative Writing and the Common Core in the DCPS: A Qualitative Analysis of Student and Teacher Perceptions, English Journal, forthcoming.


Forward, D. C., 2016, Doing Good in the World: The Inspiring Story of the Rotary’s Foundation’s First 100 Years, Evanston, IL: Rotary International.


Galadanci, H., W. Künzel, O. Shittu, R. Zinser, M. Gruhl, and S. Adams, 2011, Obstetric quality assurance to reduce maternal and fetal mortality in Kano and Kaduna State hospitals in Nigeria, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 114: 23–8.


Global Polio Eradication Initiative, 2014, Economic Case for Eradicating Polio, Geneva: World Health Organization.


Hager, A. and Q. Wodon, 2017, Nepal Teacher Training Innovations: Improving Teaching Practice in Public Schools, Working paper, Washington, DC: The World Bank.


Heinrich, C. J., and P. Burch, 2011, Implementation and Effectiveness of Supplemental Educational Services: A Review and Recommendations for Program Improvement, Paper prepared for the Tightening Up Title I conference sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC.


Johnson, A. D., D. R. Thomson, S. Atwood, I. Alley, J. L. Beckerman, I. Koné, D. Diakité, H. Diallo, B. Traoré, K. Traoré, P. E. Farmer, M. Murray, and J. Mukherjee, 2013, Assessing Early Access to Care and Child Survival during a Health System Strengthening Intervention in Mali: A Repeated Cross Sectional Survey, PLOS One 8(12) – e81304.


Kamacharya, R., U. Sharma, and Q. Wodon, 2017, Open Learning Exchange Nepal: Improving Learning through Technology in the Classroom, Working paper, Washington, DC: The World Bank.


National Population Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ICF International, 2014, Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2013, Abuja, Nigeria and Rockville, Maryland, USA.


Pavisich, M. N., D. Wodon, N. Wodon, and Q. Wodon, 2014, Muso in Mali: Fighting Malaria and Reducing Child Mortality, Rotarian Economist Brief No. 2014-20, Washington, DC.


Rotarian Action Group for Population and Development (RFPD), 2013, Save the Mothers–and the Children! A Comprehensive Approach Including Quality Assurance to Improve Maternal and Newborn Health, Hamburg: Rotary Verlags GmbH.


Tebbens, R. J. D., M. A. Pallansch, S. L. Cochi, S. G.F. Wassilak, J. Linkins, R. W. Sutter, R. B. Aylward, and K. M. Thompson, 2011, Economic Analysis of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Vaccine, 29: 334-43.


Tsimpo, C., and Q. Wodon, editors, 2017a, Water and Sanitation in Uganda, Washington, DC: The World Bank


Tsimpo, C., and Q. Wodon, editors, 2017b, Residential Piped Water in Uganda, Washington, DC: The World Bank.


Wodon, Q., 2016, Evaluation of Rotary’s 2016 World Peace Conference, Working paper, Washington, DC: Rotarian Economist.


Wodon, D., N. Wodon, and Q. Wodon, 2014, Membership in Service Clubs: Rotary’s Experience, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


World Bank, 2013, What Matters Most for Teacher Policies: A Framework Paper, SABER Working Papers Series, Number 4, Washington, DC: The World Bank.




Rotary service work is teamwork. This short book could not have been written without the support of many individuals who contributed to the service projects and other activities mentioned in the book and provided information for the case studies.

There is no way to name all of those who contributed in one way or the other to the book here, but let me mention a few: Robert Oelrichs and Brian Pascual on financing polio eradication; Ari Johnson, Maria-Nelly Pavisich, Sunny Akuopha, and my daughters Divya and Naina on fighting malaria and Ebola in Mali; Nicholas Mancus, Sam Mutono, and Clarence Tsimpo on providing water and sanitation in Uganda; Robert Zinser on saving the lives of mothers and children in Nigeria; Ashley Hager, Rabi Karmacharya, and Uttam Sharma on transforming teaching and learning in Nepal; Eric Goldstein and Edward Comstock on investing in disadvantaged youth in the United States; and Sarah Cunningham, Jill Gunter, Peter Kyle, and Kathleen O’Brien on Peace Centers and Peace Fellows.

In addition, Tom Thorfinsson and Peter Kyle provided valuable comments on an earlier draft of the book.

Any potential errors or omissions in the book are mine only.



about the author


Quentin Wodon is a Lead Economist in the Education Global Practice at the World Bank where he leads work programs among others on equity and inclusion in education, child marriage, out-of-school children, and the wealth of nations. Previously, he managed the World Bank unit on values and development, served as Lead Poverty Specialist for West and Central Africa, and as Economist/Senior Economist in the Latin America region.

Before joining the World Bank, he worked among others as Assistant Brand Manager with Procter & Gamble, volunteer corps member with the International Movement ATD Fourth World, and (tenured) Assistant Professor of Economics with the University of Namur. He has also taught at American University and Georgetown University. A lifelong learner, he holds graduate degrees in Business Engineering, Economics, and Philosophy, as well as PhDs in Economics, Environmental Science, Health Sciences, and Theology and Religious Studies.

Quentin has more than 500 publications. Books published since 2014 include Water and Sanitation in Uganda (World Bank), The Economics of Faith-based Service Delivery (Palgrave Macmillan), Climate Change Adaptation and Social Resilience in the Sundarbans (Routledge), Investing in Early Childhood Development (World Bank), Infrastructure and Poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (Palgrave Macmillan), Education in sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank), Faith-Based Schools in Latin America (World Bank), Climate Change and Migration (World Bank), and Membership in Service Clubs (Palgrave Macmillan).

A recipient of the Prize of Belgium’s Secretary of Foreign Trade, a Fulbright grant, and the Dudley Seers Prize, Quentin has served on several advisory boards for non-profit organizations and university programs, and as Associate Editor for academic journals. A past President of the Society of Government Economists, he is currently serving as President of the Association for Social Economics.

Quentin is actively involved in Rotary with his club (currently serving as President), District (former Evaluation Adviser and Interact Chair, among others), and Rotary International (committee member for the Rotary Foundation and other roles). His father was a Rotarian. His daughters founded the Interact Club of their High School. Quentin launched the Rotarian Economist blog in 2014 on World Polio Day and the Rotarian Economist Short Books series in 2017.

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Partner, Innovate, Evaluate: Increasing Rotary’s Impact

If Rotary clubs, districts and the organization as a whole are to have a larger impact, they need to put together more projects that rely on partnerships, are innovative, and are evaluated properly. Not all Rotary projects need to include partnerships, innovation, and evaluation. But the organization and the communities its serves would be better off if more projects did. This is because partnerships, innovation, and evaluation can increase the quality, scope, and reach of our work, thereby helping clubs, districts, and Rotary as a whole to achieve its mission of service above self. Partnerships help to implement larger projects and benefit from the expertise of organizations that are among the best in their field. Partnerships also generate visibility and media coverage. Partnerships have a cost, since efforts are required for collaborations to work. But if partnerships deliver scale, expertise, or visibility, the gains often outweigh the costs. This is the case for the organization as a whole, but it is also the case at the level of Rotary clubs and districts. Innovation is even more important than partnerships to achieve larger impacts and discover better ways to serve communities. If Rotary experiments and innovates, pilot projects that prove successful can be scaled up by other organizations with deeper pockets, thereby achieving much larger impact. Without in-depth monitoring and evaluation, innovation does not help as much to achieve impact because results on the ground must first be demonstrated at the pilot stage for a promising intervention to be scaled up. Innovation and evaluation are like twins: they work best as a pair. Monitoring and evaluation are also needed for Rotary International as well as clubs and districts to learn internally from both highly successful and less successful projects. All three ingredients, namely partnerships, innovation, and evaluation, are important to increase the impact of Rotary's work. In order to encourage clubs and districts as well as Rotary International to move in that direction, this book suggests with case studies how increasing impact through partnerships, innovation, and evaluation can be done. Together the case studies provided in the book cover polio eradication as well as the six areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation. It is hoped that the book and its case studies will prove useful to Rotarians and others interested in those topics. They are meant to inspire Rotary and other service organizations to harness the promise of partnerships, innovation, and evaluation. The book is published as part of the Rotarian Economist Short Books series. The series provides rapid and practical introductions to topics related among others to volunteer work, service clubs, nonprofits, and the areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International (promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies). The book series is associated with the Rotarian Economist blog.

  • ISBN: 9781946819017
  • Author: Quentin Wodon
  • Published: 2017-02-15 19:20:12
  • Words: 16663
Partner, Innovate, Evaluate: Increasing Rotary’s Impact Partner, Innovate, Evaluate: Increasing Rotary’s Impact