GUEST SPEAKER:  RICHARD MEWHINNEY – WATER PROJECT IN ONGUTOI, UGANDA

Kris Sachdeva introduced Richard Mewhinney. Richard was born in Toronto and grew up in Scarborough where he attended Public and Secondary school as well as University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.  Richard graduated in 1981 with a major in economics and a minor in computer science.  Richard married Elizabeth in 1985 and now lives in Newmarket.  Richard and Elizabeth have also hosted 7 international exchange students for a year at a time. Richard is currently self employed as a licensed Mortgage Broker with Homeguard Funding Ltd. and primarily specializes in residential and small commercial financing.  Prior to the mortgage industry, Richard spent 31 years in the insurance and reinsurance market, Richard was the Assistant Vice President of Administration for a small reinsurance company in Toronto specializing in US Medical.

Richard has always been passionate about community involvement serving as a member of the Scarborough campus Alumni association, worked on multiple political campaigns at all levels of government and taught the Boating Course for the Canadian Power Squadron in Newmarket.  Richard also served as the Ontario Regional president for AFS Intercultural programs facilitating International student exchange throughout Ontario. 

Richard has since served on many municipal committees and the community liaison committee for York Regional Police in District 1.  In 2004 Richard was asked to join the inaugural board of directors for INN from the Cold an emergency homeless shelter in Newmarket.  Through the support of the Rotary Club of Newmarket, Richard joined Rotary in 2007 and became President of the Newmarket club in 2009.  Richard was an Assistant Governor for District 7070 from 2011 – 2014 and is currently the District 7070 Water and Sanitation chair 2015-present previously the District 7070 Literacy Chair for 2014-2015.  Richard is now a member of the District 7070 Leadership team in 2020-2022 in the role as Action and Partnership Committees Coordinator to oversee and assist all of the Rotary Area of Focus Committees.  Richard has also participated with RADAR (Rotary’s AIDS action group).

In 2009 Richard made his first trip to Uganda and has returned to Uganda 24 times, most recently December 2019. This was Richard’s twenty fourth time to Uganda to continue implementing  a unique rain water collection system for drip irrigation in an orange orchard where the revenue generated will provide long term free health care for this community and region.   Richard believes that experiences working in Africa provide great insight into how to serve his clients with respect and understanding throughout the process and with integrity.

Awards & Recognitions:

2005 – Town of Newmarket 125th Anniversary - Community Volunteer Ambassador Recognition

2009 – Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Service Award

2011 – Rotary District 7070 – Council of Past District Governors Award

Water Collection for Sustainability is a project in North Eastern Uganda located on the site of the Ongutoi Health Centre.  The principle is easily understood, create a rainwater collections system for drip irrigation to an orange orchard where the revenue will return to the Health Centre for free health care long term.  We are currently in pilot phase and are closing in on the completion but, we need your help. Amazing progress over the current Rotary year where the water collection platform was expanded to twice the original size and 5 additional 16,000 litre Crestanks were installed increasing water storage to 244,000 litres of water.

Amazing progress over the current Rotary year where the water collection platform was expanded to twice the original size and 5 additional 16,000 litre Crestanks were installed increasing water storage to 244,000 litres of water.

In the Rotary Year 2020-2021, we will be applying for a District Grant to complete the development at the pilot site so we can move towards developing the Global Grant Proposal.  We need the assistance of clubs to achieve that goal, the budget is $22,500.00 however, an Anonymous Rotarian Donor has stepped forward to match cumulative club contributions up to $6,500.00. If your club can contribute $500.00 or $1000.00 towards the $8,000.00 required from clubs’ we can achieve that goal.

With the current COVID-19 challenges the District Grant may or may not materialize but, the project is scalable with the budget may alter and will proceed regardless with a minimum objective of completing no less than 60 percent of the proposed objective.

This project received the spotlight in the May 2020 WASRAG Newsletter, for more information you may refer to the article below and follow the links.

Ongutoi Health Centre Water Collection for Sustainability 

International Partner - Rotary Club of Newmarket

Since 2009, the Rotary Club of Newmarket has been supporting the Ongutoi Health Centre, located in North Eastern Uganda through a variety of projects. They have completed one phase of a water collection system, and now are embarking on a planned further expansion of this important water resource for this medical facility. Information on their project can be found here .

The excellent video they produced in conjunction with their partner High Adventure highlights the work they have completed and the work that is planned. They are looking for partners to help them with the next phase of the project. For more details and to get involved contact Richard Mewhinney .

Be sure to read this link for more details on this water project in Uganda and the Ongutoi Health Centre. Here is a link: 

https://rotary7070.org/stories/water-collection-for-sustainability-project-in-uganda-%E2%80%93-pilot-needs-district-7070-rotary-clubs-help-in-2020-21/

Richard Mewhinney

For more information contact;

Rtn Richard Mewhinney

Rotary Club of Newmarket

416-418-6646 or rmewhinney@roger.com

President Sue closed meeting at 8:00 pm.

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