Emma Bodwell (2nd from left) and Rick Welchel (2nd from right), are pictured with the administrative staff of a prospective school project.
By:  PDG Peter Johnson, Member DISC, RC of Yarmouth
Rotary Project Fairs offer a unique opportunity for members to interact with Rotarians in another part of the world to discuss potential collaboration on International Service Projects, most frequently leveraging contributions via Rotary Foundation Global Grants.  Our travelers, Emma Bodwell and Rick Whelchel, RC of Bridgton-Lake Region, along with Peter and Carolyn Johnson, RC of Yarmouth, reviewed the success of projects from earlier years with site visits in Barranquilla, Medellin, and Armenia, renewed prior friendships and made new acquaintance with Rotarians from Colombia, Canada, and several US states.
During the actual conference, approximately 60 different projects were presented, each one seeking an International Partner and funding sources.  By attending Project Fairs in person, attendees enjoy the benefit of spending time with the people behind the scenes who will actually implement the project on the local level.  Experience tells us this is invaluable in assessing how quickly and effectively the proposed project can be implemented.
Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club will most likely take the lead as International Sponsor on a project, and several projects are currently being reviewed with that in mind.  Is your Club perhaps interested in a new International Project but doesn’t know where to start?  Contact Emma or Peter and they can give you thoughts on projects already in the early stages of vetting.  Or perhaps there are unallocated dollars in your club’s international service bucket looking for a home? Or perhaps your club could use a presentation on both the specific scope of the Colombia Project Fair and Rotary Project Fairs in general? Reach out to Emma or Peter for more information.
The Colombia Project Fair is but one of several held annually around the world.  D7780 members plan to return to Colombia in 2024 (Feb 1,2,3), so why not think about traveling to a warmer spot next February?  Or reach out on your own: most fairs are annual, and dates and other countries can be tracked here.