March is Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Month. This is one of Rotary’s 7 Area of Focus. It is also on the list of 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is the aim of the UN to have universal access to safely managed water and sanitation by 2030. But we have a long way to go. Every 2 minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies as a result of poor hygiene or unsafe drinking water. 
While considerable progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people-mostly in rural area, still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of sanitation, hygiene and adequate access to clean water for preventing and containing diseases. Hand hygiene saves lives. According to the World Health Organization, handwashing is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. Yet billions of people still lack safe water sanitation, and funding is inadequate. (This information is published on the UN website). In many third world countries, teenage girls drop out of school if there are not toilet facilities.
Many of our District Clubs participate in water related projects. To find out more about water projects, contact the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group.  A major contributor and lead in water and sanitation efforts on behalf or Rotary is Ron Denham of Toronto. Ron has been internationally recognized for his efforts and is still active.
DEI- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
This past year has been a sad milestone for humanity with outbreaks of racism, hatred and violence. The Black Lives Matter movement and subsequent articles, rallies and demonstrations have been frequent items in the news. The tragic deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who was unarmed and killed by a police officer who had arrested him for allegedly using a counterfeit bill as well as the shooting Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin, show us that systemic racism is real. In late February, a Rotary Webinar, chaired by a well- known Rotarian from upper New York State, Todd Bow-tie Jenkins, provided some excellent information and insight into this issue. Exploring the Black Experience featured four black Rotarians sharing their stories and describing how we can all help to address this important issue. This presentation was to be posted on You Tube but has not arrived yet. There is no space in Rotary for racism or for any “ism”. RI President, Holger Knaack says, “Injustice and racism are simply not acceptable; equally, those who counter with violence, that too is unacceptable.”
Rotary’ DEI Statement
As a global network that strives to build a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, Rotary values diversity and celebrates the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, colour, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Rotary will cultivate a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture in which people from underrepresented groups have greater opportunities to participate as members and leaders. A quote from Ijeoma Pearl Okoro, from Nigeria, “Diversity is inviting everyone to the party - Inclusion is getting everyone up to dance.”
Are you wondering where on the DEI spectrum your club fits? Be sure to register for our next Membership Webinar on March 24th at 7:00PM.  RI Vice President Elect Valarie Wafer will speak to this important topic.
Miscellaneous Messages:
  • March 18 @ 7 pm the Environment presents Herbert Sinnock – Environmental Journey- From Campus to Community- Be sure to register through our District calendar. 
  • Our magazine Rotary (formerly the Rotarian) is now 110 years old with a new look and new format. The timely articles focus on an amazing breadth of material. The magazine is also available online at:  (Login is required.)
  • Our District Foundation Chair, Norm Bindon, has taken several recent opportunities to update us on the changes in District Foundation grants. The most notable change is that the TRF match to DDF drops from 100% to to 80% effective July 1, 2021.
  • Congratulations and best wishes to the Presidents Elect as they will be completing their PETS training early in March. Under DGE Rudy Habesch we are looking for even greater things for our District, our partners and programs.
  • Rotary Foundation Virtual Gala: From RI Director Valarie Wafer: The online Gala event, "Celebrate our Foundation!" will be held Wednesday, May 12, from 8-9 pm ET (5-6 PT). It will be a fast-paced 60-minute variety style show featuring Rotary dignitaries, celebrities, musicians, entertainers and more. Details are at the event website . The ticket price is $110 USD, of which only $10 goes to the event itself. The Foundation supporter will get a charitable tax receipt for the $100, along with 100 Paul Harris Recognition points. You will get credit towards your District’s Foundation goals. And if the Foundation supporter chooses to donate more, either at registration or during the event, then all of those extra funds are credited to your District and your members.