The importance of the sustainability of a Rotary Club Project is paramount to its establishment and its suitability for a District Foundation Grant.  So, it was great to receive news from Gombe, Nigeria of the continuing success of a Rotary Glenferrie project established way back in 2015 in conjunction with Swinburne Rotaract Club and the YMCA in Gombe. 
In 2015, the newly formed Swinburne Rotaract Club established its first International Project working with the experienced Glenferrie Rotarians. The project was the establishment of a Basic Literacy & Vocational Training Centre in Gombe, Nigeria. A proposal was put forward by Ishaku Lemu Haruna, a double Masters student at Swinburne who later returned to Nigeria. 

Ishaku, who is a Biotechnologist with an interest in Sustainability and Global leadership, completed his further studies at the end of 2014 and returned to Nigeria, where he continues to work at the Gombe University. Swinburne Rotaract President Nkem Gatt-Rutter, together with Ishaku, met with Glenferrie's Foundation Chair Don Heath who prepared an International District Grant application which was successful. Yarra Bend Rotary Club also supported the project financially and the three Clubs contributed $3,000 each. This attracted a Foundation Grant of $4,500 and met the project cost of $13,500. 
The establishment of the training centre, under the project management of Ishaku, was completed and commissioned on 7th May, 2015 by His Royal Highness, Dr Abdu Buba Maisheru II, other Nigerian dignitaries and the President of the Rotary Club Club of Kaltungo, the Nigerian Rotary partner for the project attended the event. The project entailed acquiring premises, furniture, equipment, tools etc and recruiting four qualified tutors to provide their services for a small monthly token. The project was managed jointly by Swinburne Rotaract and Rotarian Don Heath with the Centre managed by the Gombe YMCA.

There is a great need in so many parts of Africa for education in basic trades and the aim of the centre was to provide basic literacy knowledge as well as vocational skills/training to prepare young men and women with an opportunity to start up businesses of their own, improve their standard of living and combat the high level of unemployment and poverty in Gombe state, Nigeria. 
And was the project sustainable?  Indeed it was.  The first graduation ceremony for the first set of participants in the tailoring and design unit was on 27th February 2016. Eight participants graduated having been found worthy in character and in learning. And in 2017, Glenferrie Rotary received news from the YMCA in Gombe that its local zone leaders had paid a courtesy visit to the Centre and were suitably impressed by the work being carried out there. And just this week, I received an update from Ishaku providing the great news that the Centre continues to operate successfully. He has promised to keep us up-to-date in the future. 
So, if anybody asks you: "where does the money raised at the Farmers' Market go?". Well here is your answer: the combination of a Foundation Grant, contributions from two Rotary Clubs and a young group of Rotaractors have set up a vibrant, sustainable community project in an impoverished part of the world.
Opening of Education Centre with Ishaku on right of pic
Ishaku with some of the beautiful products at the Centre
Ishaku with the first graduates in February 2017