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Rotary International President Jennifer Jones Visits Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia

By Jenny Andrews, Executive Director, Malaria Partners International

Last month, Rotary International President Jennifer Jones traveled to Zambia to experience first-hand the amazing work being done by Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia, Rotary’s first Programs of Scale recipient. Throughout this work, MPI has served as the “grout” convening and coalescing the many partners to help train, equip and sustain 2,500 Community Health Workers, who will provide community-based healthcare to 1,250,000 Zambians. Because of this, MPI was invited by Rotary International to travel with President Jen on the August Imagine Rotary Impact trip and I represented MPI on this journey.

President Jen and her husband, Nick, (a primary care physician and District Governor Nominee in their hometown of Windsor, Ontario) had two primary goals for this trip. The first was to immerse themselves in Rotary’s first Programs of Scale grant to showcase Rotary’s impact and inspire Rotarians in Zambia (and all of Africa) to accelerate that impact. Their second goal was to capture photos, videos and stories from the field that exemplify Rotary’s power to change the world for good. These assets will be used throughout Jen’s presidential year and beyond to bring attention to Rotary’s potential to change the world for good.

Because of this, we traveled with a sizeable team of photographers, videographers and producers to record what Jen experienced and most of the photos I captured look like this one, with Jen and Malaria Partners International’s Executive Director, Martha Lungu, surrounded by photographers and with a big microphone hanging over their heads.

The influence and hard work of many Zambian Rotarians, like Rotary International Director Patrick Chisanga, filled the trip with incredible opportunities to raise awareness not only of Rotary but also Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia. Let me give you an example. On their second day in Zambia, President Jen and Nick, along with our very own Martha Lungu, spent 90 minutes with the President of Zambia, His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema. In the room were five of his cabinet ministers, all of whom are Rotarians! They covered a wide range of subjects but spent much of their time discussing the ongoing challenges around access to commodities for our trained CHWs. These challenges were very concerning to President Hichilema and he asked RID Patrick to convene a group of experts to solve the problem immediately, as the country is entering the budget season soon.

 

Alongside RIP Jennider Jones in this photo are Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Martha Lungu, Jen’s husband, Nick, the security lead, Gome, also a wonderful Rotarian!

President Jen asked me to work with our partners to put together a list of people to serve on that taskforce and we provided a list of high-level “representational” leaders as well as a group of technical advisors who are deeply involved in the technical and data aspects of the work. Alongside RIP Jen in this photo are Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Martha Lungu, Jen’s husband, Nick, the security lead, Gome, also a wonderful Rotarian!

Finally, on the last night, the local Rotarians held a gala dinner to raise funds for The Rotary Foundation. They expected 200 people to attend and had to move quickly to accommodate the 420 people who registered. There were two guests of honor, RIP Jen of course and the Zambian Vice President, the Honorable Mutale W K Nalumango. Both inspired the crowd with their passion for how Rotarians are improving the lives of people not only here in Zambia but around the world.

MPI received many kudos on this trip, and that has everything to do with the wonderful work done by our board members and supporters over many, many years. The Global Grants executed in the Copperbelt were constantly showcased as the inspiration for Rotary’s first Programs of Scale award. People at the highest levels of Rotary know and respect MPI’s work. It was an honor to represent all of you on this journey.

 

 

 

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