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“If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day. If you teach me how to fish you have fed me until the river is contaminated or the shoreline seized for development. But if you teach me to organize then whatever the challenge I can join together with my peers and we will fashion our own solution.”

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Gaspar Zarat walks towards us with a spring in his step exuding a sense of pride and integrity. “Welcome, welcome!” His wife whisks us over to three plastic seats, and brings us cool beverages, a nice relief from a 90-degree day.

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Curt Bowen, Executive Director of Semilla Nueva, goes from the air-conditioned offices of Guatemala’s Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA) to the tropical heat of coastal Suchitepequez and notices one thing: the innovative agricultural techniques discussed by the government are not reaching the eager minds of smallholder farmers. But there is new hope.

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We sat eating our freshly steamed elote while Alfredo spoke of the planting season underway in his community of Nuevos Bracitos. But rather than speaking with the excitement of an impending harvest, he spoke with hesitance and uncertainty—sentiments mirrored by campesinos across the country. He looked across the table to Trinidad Recinos, Semilla Nueva’s Program Director, for answers to an unprecedented question: Why has Guatemala’s usually dependable rainy season suddenly become irregular?

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What is a Global Grant?

Individual Rotary clubs are helping communities help themselves all over the world in a number of incredible, impactful projects. Then along came Rotary International’s (RI) Global Grant – a new idea that combines the contributions of several individual clubs, matches those contributions at the Rotary District and International level, and creates significant financial support for a project.    (more…)