Posted by Clark Kolterman on Sep 20, 2018

Seward Rotary Club and Jones National Bank & Trust partnered together this summer to raise $1,000 in support of Lincoln East Rotary's Zambia Global Project. 

The Seward Rotary Club and the Jones National Bank and Trust of Seward partnered together, each donating a matching gift of $500 to raise $1000 to be donated to the Lincoln East Rotary's Zambia Global Project.  Max Wake, President of the Jones National Bank and Trust Company challenged the Seward Rotary membership to a dollar for dollar match with the proceeds donated to support the work accomplished by Rotary in Zambia-and each agreed to donate $500 for the project.  Local Seward Rotarian Chuck Matzke has been an instrumental leader involved with this massive international effort.


The Rotary Zambia project began with a $500 gift in 2003 from Lincoln East Rotary that used to purchase sinks for the Bindi (pediatric ward) at Livingstone General Hospital in Zimbabwe. Over time the Zambia Global Project has burgeoned into a massive Rotary project involving many Rotary District 5650 clubs.  Leaders from clubs throughout the District, including Rotarians Ozzie Gilbertson, Dorothy Zimmerman, Sharon and Dan Wherry, Chuck Matzke, Dan Martin and Bob Perrin, have helped make the project a success.


Historically, various Zambia related grant initiatives over time have 1) supported orphanages, 2) helped to establish a medical clinic and 3) helped to drill over 30 water wells.  Other related projects have provided books, hospital equipment and food supplements.  Non Rotarian partners such as the UNL chapter of “Engineers Without Borders” is currently planning to build a bridge over the Kalomo River to provide access to a clinic and other resources during the rainy season when the river is impassable. 


Because of the relationships and partnerships it is realized that the need is to focus more on sustainability if there is a hope to make a lasting impact.  Volunteers need to help villagers survive and thrive eventually without outside help.  It is also increasingly clear that 1) access to water and 2) agricultural produce were critical.  


Dr, Charles Erickson, MD and Rotary Project Leader, personally has seen children die from malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition and motivated local area Rotary Clubs of Nebraska and Iowa to prevent or arrest these diseases.  As a point of clarification, the starvation he witnessed is different than that experienced in war torn countries, but rather a chronic form leaving kids immune systems suppressed and bodies stunted.  Research in the past 15 years shows that children who are stunted in the first two years of life will never achieve maximum functioning as adults.   Immune suppressed children are more likely to die from the diseases noted above. 


As a result of Dr. Erickson’s observations over time the Zambia Project has added nutritional education to their project.   This three-pronged approach is what we call a Rotary Pyramid- 1) water, 2) agriculture and 3) nutritional education.  There is a cry out of individual components and the need to eliminate early childhood nutritional deprivation, but few programs that are successful in combining all three components into one. 


A number of things Dr. Erickson still wants to accomplish and is actively seeking other volunteers who share our concern for vulnerable Zambian families and children.  If you would like to have a speaker at a meeting or you would like to consider partnering with the Zambia Project, please contact Dr. Erickson at or 402-420-3088, Dr. Jim Griesen at or Dorothy Zimmerman at