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for the Presidential Citation for
member of the
Maine, USA, is
a past governor
of District 7780,
Action Group, and a member of
The Rotary Foundation Cadre of
Technical Advisers specializing
in basic education and literacy.
Formerly a primary school
principal, she left her job in 2007 to
develop a teacher training program
for a multiyear global grant project
in Guatemala. We sat down
with Johnson to talk about what
Rotarians need to know to develop a
sustainable global grant.
Rotary Leader: What is the most
common mistake clubs make in
putting together a global grant
Johnson: A lot of grant ideas
come about because somebody
went somewhere and had a good
experience, but they looked around
and saw a need. So they came
back home and got all excited
and wanted to develop a grant to
address this perceived need.
One of the questions we ask first is,
Did you do a needs assessment?
Get in and start talking to that
community to find out — do they
see it as a need? Maybe whatever
you’re thinking of doing is miles
beyond their capacity to maintain.
Or maybe it is something they
already have and you just didn’t
see it, but what they really need is
an intervention three steps down
HOW DO YOU MAKE
YOUR GLOBAL GRANT
RL: What should the needs
assessment process be like?
Johnson: With a literacy project,
a needs assessment should include
talking to teachers, community
members, principals, kids, and
the parents. But it can take a lot of
different forms. You could set up a
meeting and have a conversation.
Visiting and observing in classrooms
is helpful and enlightening. You can
do surveys — find out what materials
are in classrooms, whether literature
books are available in addition
to textbooks, what professional
development is available, and what’s
the curriculum? It’s talking with the
minister of education and getting
the support of local officials. And
involving the host Rotary club to
make sure anything you want to do
fits in with their interests.
RL: The literacy project in
Guatemala was built over two
decades. How important is it to
take a long-term approach to a
Johnson: Particularly in
education, you can’t do a one-shot deal: bring materials and
conduct a training session and
expect it’s going to work. You have
to have follow-up. Build that into
your project so it’s an essential
component, not an add-on.
Rotarians from a district in Canada
went to Guatemala in February
on a vocational training team
and spent four weeks in a village,
modeling, working with teachers,
and spending intensive time in the
schools. I can imagine they made
huge progress. But when I talked
with the team leader, she said, “The
other thing we set up is that, over
the next year, we are going to have
Skype calls with the teachers on a
monthly basis. We didn’t come to
do this intensive intervention and
disappear.” So, whether it’s through
technology or local Rotarians or a
lead teacher you can communicate
with, you need to build in
opportunities for follow-up.
Are you planning a professional development event for young leaders,
Rotaractors, or the community? Leadership in Action includes suggested
curriculum, a marketing flier, and a customizable brochure in the Brand
Center that you can use to promote the event and connect these young
leaders to Rotary.
The Grant Management Seminar Leader’s Guide has been updated to
reflect recent changes to A Guide to Global Grants.
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