By Eric Liswaniso, Programs Manager, Malaria Partners Zambia
On September 8th, 2023, the Rotary International President Gordon McInally announced that Rotary and its partners World Vision and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be implementing the Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge which will build on the successes of the Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia project and scale that work to 3 other countries.
As my colleagues and I reflect and celebrate a monumental milestone in our mission to combat malaria, I am humbled and honored to share the incredible journey that has brought us to this point. The Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia project, which began with a $6 million vision, has now grown to an astounding $30 million initiative, spreading its wings to three additional countries: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mozambique. This expansion is a testament to the relentless dedication of our team and the unwavering support of Rotarians and Rotaractors across Zambia, the United States and beyond.
Behind the scenes of this success story, are countless untold sacrifices; long hours, late-night meetings, and weekends devoted to the cause. There have been nights spent in the field, sleeping in hospital wards, and enduring some pretty harsh conditions to ensure that health services reach the underprivileged. It is these moments of perseverance and resilience that truly define the spirit of our team. These experiences are our medals, proudly worn on our chests as symbols of our unwavering commitment to the fight to end malaria and create hope in Zambia.
I want to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to my family, particularly my wife and our 4-year-old toddler Xaria, who have been the pillars of support throughout this incredible journey. They have patiently endured my extended absences and sacrifices, knowing that the reward lies in the smiles of the many communities we serve. Their understanding and unwavering encouragement have been my greatest source of strength.
This endeavor has given me the unique privilege of being the eyes, hands, and feet of Rotary and its partners. I have witnessed first-hand the transformative impact of our work, and it is nothing short of extraordinary. The ripple effects of our efforts are evident in the lives we have touched, the communities we have empowered, and the hope we have ignited. We are not just ending malaria; we are creating a legacy of change that we hope will resonate for generations to come.
As we reflect on this remarkable journey, we also look ahead to the next chapter of service. This moment of celebration to us is not the end but a new beginning, an opportunity to engage more deeply with Rotarians and our broader community of partners in the fight to end malaria. We remain confident that together, we will achieve even greater heights and continue to make a profound difference in the lives of those we have the privilege of serving.
In closing, I want to say that I stand among the most decorated of all, not in terms of personal glory, but in the collective triumph of our mission. Each smile we bring to the face of a child, each life we save, is a medal of honor that shines brighter than any accolade. And we wear these medals with pride and continue our march toward a malaria-free world.
Thank you for your unwavering support and dedication to our cause. Together, we can eliminate malaria.
Yours in Rotary Service,
Malaria Partners Zambia