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John Meyer, PE "Working Together In Tanzania"

Posted on Aug 28, 2017

John W. Meyer, P.E. is a “mostly retired” professional civil engineer. His career included 22 years working for various cities in Iowa as a city engineer/public works director and 20 years working for a 25-person engineering and surveying consulting firm in Fairfield, Iowa, retiring as president of the firm in 2014. This work included helping small communities with a wide variety of projects including water supply, waste water treatment, streets, and about any other type of municipal project one can imagine. John now works part time for the city of Waverly, Iowa and with the non-governmental organization (NGO), Empower Tanzania, Inc. and the Rotary Club in Ames, Iowa on water supply projects in Tanzania.

Program Highlights for August 28, 2017

John introduced the geography and culture of a rural region in Tanzania.  He discussed the water needs of this rural region and described how Rotary International and the NGO, Empower Tanzania are collaborating on providing solutions to the water needs in this area.  Tanzania is 365,000 square miles with 47 million people as compared to the United States which is 3,700,000 square miles with 307 million people.  Kilimanjaro is a region within Tanzania. 

Some statistics of this region:

Kilimanjaro has a population according to the 2012 census of 1.7 million people.

73% of Kilimanjaro residents do not have electricity.

91% of Kilimanjaro residents use wood/charcoal for cooking. 

75% of the residents of the country of Tanzania do not have a water source within 8 blocks of them.

Although John is not a Rotarian, he has been a part of a Rotary Global Grant Team working with the Rotary Club in Ames, Iowa on a six-part water supply project in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. Each of the six projects costs between $240,000 and $400,000.  Fifty percent of the funding comes from the of the USA project partners and Tanzania.  The remaining 50% of the funds come from the Rotary International Foundation.

Empower Tanzania is a 501(c)3 developed by these groups to assist with issues beyond water in this region.  Empower Tanzania employs 6 full time residents of Tanzania and 2 part time residents of the United States. Some of the projects include improving women's healthcare, English education for young people, and integrated farming. 

This relationship has developed over the past eight years from his interest in local water supply and the development of personal relationships with some local government officials, church members in the Tanzanian communities, and Tanzanian staff with the NGO, Empower Tanzania, who happen to be Rotarians at the local club in Same, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

Program for September 11, 2017

Shawnie Rechtenbaugh, 9-1-1 Coordinator for South Dakota