By building on a proven concept — such as efforts to stamp out malaria in Zambia — Rotary’s new multimillion-dollar Programs of Scale grants help make good better.
As part of the polio eradication campaign, Rotary and its partners have trained millions of health care workers and volunteers and vaccinated nearly 3 billion children. Polio cases have dropped 99.9 percent since Rotary took up the cause in 1985, and the number of countries with endemic wild polio has dropped to two: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“What you’ve done with polio is remarkable,” says Larry Cooley, a well-known international development consultant. “But it shouldn’t be a study of one.”
Rotary is stepping up to that challenge through Programs of Scale, a new Foundation program awarding grants to Rotary clubs or districts with evidence-based interventions that are ready to scale. The first such grant, announced in February, will provide $2 million to Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia, a member-led program focused on fighting malaria. Co-funders World Vision US and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are also involved in malaria mitigation efforts and will each contribute $2 million to the program. This $6 million program will train and equip 2,500 community health workers in Zambia to support the government’s work to eradicate malaria in that country.
What you’ve done with polio is remarkable, but it shouldn’t be a study of one.Larry Cooley
A well-known international development consultant
The concept of Programs of Scale dates back to 2013, when global grants, introduced through The Rotary Foundation’s updated grant model, expanded the scope and size of Rotary projects with the aim of increasing their impact. After a 2016 evaluation of the grant model, the Foundation Trustees requested that a new grant type be developed that would fund “scalable” grant projects in the areas of focus — meaning projects that were planned in a way that allowed them to be expanded, built. upon, and further developed.
The Programs of Scale grants are the result: a way to fund large-scale, high-impact projects that can attract partners while tapping into Rotary members’ capacity and enthusiasm. “While global grants and district grants have been very successful, we want to give opportunities for projects with even more impact,” says Foundation Trustee Sangkoo Yun, who was on the Programs of Scale selection committee. “We want to better quantify that impact and share what we learn with all Rotarians engaged in international service.”