Rotary Club of Oak Bay
Bulletin, 7 July, 2020
by Heather Aked
President Steve Sharlow opened the meeting ably assisted by Past President Joan, our zoom expert. The National Anthem was performed on screen by Walk of the Earth with few words but an entertaining format.  Chris Kershaw delivered the invocation.
Recognizing that a quorum existed Joan Firkins introduced the proposed new Club Constitution and Bylaws. These had been circulated to all members through email on the 15 June, 2020. There were no questions or objections since that date and so Joan asked for a motion of acceptance. Tav Macpherson moved acceptance and Chris Kershaw seconded. The motion was unanimously carried.
Celebrations Master Krista extracted a number of dollars from an array of finable offences, happy- sad dollars as well as birthday and anniversary dates.  Krista suggested that anyone who hasn’t donated in the last month cough up $5.  Past president Joan will send out an e-mail link to the donation page.
John Jordan introduced our speaker, Rotarian Jamie Kyles.  Jamie has an engineering degree from Queen’s University and is married (49 years) with 2 children.  He spent 30 years with Shell Oil in a variety of roles before retiring.  Bored with retirement, he spent time in 2007 as a consultant to the peace keeping force in Western Darfur, Sudan.  In 2008 & 2009 he accepted a series of 4-month placements with VSO and CUSO, performing as a volunteer business advisor with various organizations in Uganda and Kampala, a result of which was a smallholder coffee project that is now in its 9th full year of operation.
Jamie talked to us about the Tanzania Coffee Project which is enriching many small producer’s lives in that country. 
The $100,000 U.S. project has 6 to 1 leverage but is still approximately $2,000 short of the needed funding. The Harbourside Club has contributed $7,500 to the project and continues to support the project to ensure that it moves forward.  Harbourside is hoping to get additional funding from other Clubs.
The project is for smallholder Coffee Enhancement in Northwest Tanzania supporting about 300 subsistence farming families in the Village of Kigaze.   Key organizations involved with the project are The Harbourside Club (sponsor), Bukoba Kagera-Uhurr (Host Club) and a cooperating organization, The Kolping Society of Tanzania.
The vast majority of the residents in NW Tanzania are subsistence farmers who intercrop coffee with food plants.  Coffee is their only cash crop but is an ‘orphan’ business due to historical and political circumstances.  It vastly underperforms its potential.  A typical day’s income for a family is less than $1.00 U.S.
The objectives of the project include providing training in the following areas:
  • Improved agronomic practices.
  • Improved harvest and post harvest handling practices (farmer-trainers are used extensively).
  • The value of quality and understanding the coffee value chain.
  • Gender equality and women’s rights.
  • Group dynamics and basic business skills.
  • Financial management for SACCOS (Savings and Co-op Society) staff.
The project plan provides for the following:
  • Purchase of materials & equipment including
    • 300 tonnes of manure for 2 years.
    • Manure processing tools
    • Pruning tools
    • Raised drying tables
  • Regulatory Approvals/Marketing
    • Kigaze Coffee Farmers’ Association
    • SACCOS operating certificate
    • Negotiate direct export sales agreement.
Jamie graphically showed us the increased revenue impact that this project is having on the community. The improved yields and quality of the coffee being produced has allowed the farmers to enter into a direct sales contract with a European company thus by-passing local corruption. 
Questions included one about the impact of climate change and another about the role of women in the coffee project.  Jamie noted that 50% of the Coffee Board are now women and women now have a more equal partnership role with men.  He also noted that women feature prominently in the quality control of production and consequently the financial side of the equation.
Atam thanked Jamie for his interesting and informative talk.
President Steve closed the meeting with a video of a fundraising effort at his former club. Steve committed to lose 100 pounds which, with pledges per pound, raised about $7,500.
Meeting Adjourned.
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