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Partners on an international mission 

Central Coast Rotary Clubs have teamed with Cal Poly’s Engineering Department to make clean, potable water more available in countries where supplies are scarce. According to Rotary International, 32,000 children younger than age five die each day from preventable diseases, most of which, the club said, are caused by contaminated water. The local Rotary Clubs are raising funds for the project and Cal Poly engineering students in a competition are designing a simple, inexpensive manual pump that could be readily built by small shops in poor, developing countries.

click to enlarge BEEP BEEP! :  SLO Monday Rotary Club will raffle a Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe to fund the development of water pumps for poor regions. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SMART CENTER SANTA BARBARA
  • BEEP BEEP! : SLO Monday Rotary Club will raffle a Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe to fund the development of water pumps for poor regions.

The clubs will present $25,000 to the university engineering department in September to be used for materials and tooling. If the students produce a viable, proven design to manufacture, a second phase of the project would deliver the tooling with trainers to selected sites. The tooling would be made available for purchase by an entrepreneur at each site with a micro loan from the clubs.

“We’ve done research and found it’s important for a community receiving charity to have ownership over a project, otherwise it tends to fall apart,” said SLO Monday Rotary Club President Bob Hather. “When you give people a chance to make money from a charitable project, it’s amazing how well it carries on.”

The Monday Rotary club is selling raffle tickets for a Smart Fortwo car. The proceeds will be given to Cal Poly for the project.

“We’re very happy to be part of this project,” said Cal Poly’s Director of Project Based Learning Dr. Zahed Sheikholeslami. “Sustainable projects like this get our highest support. It gives students a chance to be creative and get involved in inter-national issues,” he said. Tim Cleath, a geologist and Rotary member who is also the treasurer of Lifewater International, is a project advisor. Lifewater International is a SLO ecumenical organization that sends advisors to developing countries to enable well drilling, with assistance from USAID and private donations.

The SLO Monday Rotary Club meets every Monday for lunch at the Madonna Inn. Raffle tickets for the Smart car are available through October 27, 2008 and can be purchased via their Web site at

“Whether you want the car, support our cause, or just like Cal Poly, there’s a lot of reasons to get involved in this clean water project,” said Hather.



Intern Patrick R. Barbieri compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send your business news to

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