Nancy Gilbert, a lawyer by profession, is vice president of Calliope Consulting Inc. and works as a WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) consultant.  She currently is the Executive Director of a new NGO, Transform International (TI) which develops and supports a network of in-country Community Transformation Centres across the developing world to build local capacity and address issues of sustainability in water, sanitation and hugiene and other development interventions.
Having been the Manager, Appropriate Technology Enabled Development program for PIND, an NGO in the Niger Delta for the past 5 years, Nancy is currently transitioning out of that role by providing coaching to the team in Nigeria.  She is also the Project Manager for Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG) in its latest WASH in Schools collaboration with Procter and Gamble, H2O for Life and implementing partners for WASH in Malawi and the Niger Delta.  The partnership is working with 5 schools in Malawi and 30 in southern Nigeria to facilitate behaviour change, and improved and reliable water supply, toilets and handwashing and other hygiene facilities.  
Currently, Nancy is a doctoral candidate at Royal Roads University focused on sustainable sanitation in Niger Delta riverine communities.
Pieta Van Dyke introduced Nancy Gilbert who currently lives in Cook Street Village.
Nancy reminded us of the seven major areas that the Rotary Foundation supports:
  • Polio
  • Basic Education and Literacy
  • Disease Prevention and Treatment
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Economic and Community Development
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Water and Sanitation
Nancy has worked in the Niger Delta for 5 1/2 years.  180 million people live in Nigeria and there are the VERY rich and the VERY poor.  The Niger Delta has the highest rainfall and lots of rivers, but also sea water mangroves with many small isolated villages.  In the 1950s, oil companies started to provide services to help the villages, but the villages are very remote and there are a lot of women living mostly on their own with no education and no options to provide for their families.  There is a lot of water, but it is hard to access FRESH water.  The cheapest and best and long-lasting water filters are Biosand filters (gravel, smaller gravel and sand in appropriate proportions) but they do require FRESH, not SALT water.  WASRAG is working with local Rotary Clubs to help them with Global Grants.  Besides, the Biosand filters, they are working in schools to teach basic hygiene because what children learn in schools, they take into their homes and influence behaviour there too.  
They are looking for some local Rotary Clubs to also get involved in the programs as there is still a lot of support that is needed, including funding for composting toilets. The Canadian government matches monies donated to the Rotary Foundation; but, they won't fund buildings without an expensive environmental impact study and, unfortunately, toilets are considered buildings.
Oil companies want to help but there was a lot of problem with corruption and money not getting to where it was needed.  Therefore, they are now working with PIND and have pledged $50M for 5 years and $30M for another 5 years.
Mary Coward thanked Nancy and presented her with the thank you card and the certificate about providing glasses for someone in India or Africa.  Mary also suggested that we should try the strategy of painting footprints on the floor to direct people through the breakfast buffet!