For more information on LIFT, contact:
Rick Heidick (Program Team Lead)
Stillwater Sunrise Rotary Club 
SUPPORT THIS DISTRICT PROGRAM: (Click the Donate button above)
Club Support and Donations:
Recommended pledge for every district club to pledge $15 per member per year
Send payments (check) from your club to:
District 5960
1700 West MN-36
Suite 820
Roseville, MN 55113
< > 
Personal or Private Business Support and donations (Same as club donations).
Same as club donations
NOTE:  If personal donations require a tax deduction for the donation, contact Kathy Hughitt at the District 5960 office for donation information.
Instagram - rotary5960_lift 
Reading List:
Toxic Charity by Bob Lupton
Charity Detox by Bob Lupton
The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs
The White Man’s Burden by William Easterly
If I Had a Water Buffalo by Marilyn Fitzgerald
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Finkert
Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo
The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
Ending Global Poverty by Stephen C. Smith
Long Walk On A Dry Road by Jon Kaufman
     Poverty Inc.
      Reynaldo CAPS  
      Moving Tank
     El Corozo
     OI – facilities (plant, school, Pacaya)
     EC Water Project

Welcome to the NEW District 5960 LIFT website!

Learn about the new LIFT program:
  • What is LIFT
  • What is the philosophy of LIFT?
  • What have we done in the past?
  • Who are our partners in Nicaragua?
  • What are we working on now?
  • What is our plan for the future?

What is LIFT?
LIFT is an acronym that stands for:  Listen, Inquire, Facilitate, and Transform.  This is the basic process that the LIFT program operates by.
LIFT is a District 5960 program focusing on communities suffering from extreme poverty.  LIFT puts ownership and advancement from poverty on the community itself.  The current area of operations for LIFT is Nicaragua.
LIFT is a continuous operation whose funding relies entirely on donations and support from the District 5960 club membership.
What is the philosophy of LIFT?
LIFT is a process that uses significant time spent in the community to build the community’s own leadership, governance, and capacity to grow prior to initiating projects.  When this growth in the community happens, the community can better define its own path and priorities. It can sustain the improvements that happen in the community itself.

LIFT Mission Statement

Fostering the means to end extreme poverty and sustainably improve lives

The extremely poor communities in developing countries have many needs, and much work with these communities focuses on the need.  If a person needs water, it is good to be able to provide water.  LIFT differentiates “emergency” need from “systemic” need. 
  • EMERGENCY OR CRITICAL NEED is when someone is in dire need due to a catastrophic event or if there is an imminent risk of safety, injury, or loss of life.  At these times, it is most important to address this need as a priority directly.
  • SYSTEMIC NEED is when people may be extremely poor, but their situational need does not create an imminent risk of safety, injury, or loss of life, and their needs have been the status quo for a long period.  In these cases, it is more important to address the CAUSES of the need and work towards a solution. 
Traditional projects can address a community’s need. But LIFT process starts and ends with the causes of the need with a focus on the community itself – the community’s ability to grow, address their own needs, and sustain the improvements themselves.
Listening and Inquiring:  LIFT addresses a systemic need in poor communities by focusing on the causes of their needs.  In developing countries, this can be very complex and can have many factors (local government, availability of resources, lack of education, etc.).  The LIFT process works with the community to understand their specific issues, causes, resources, and opportunities that are unique to them.
Facilitating:  LIFT then provides guidance for the community to grow in areas that will give them a better capacity to understand, determine, and address their needs.  This can be in many forms, such as community leadership formation and training, understanding community governance, strategic planning, resource optimization, skills development, etc.).  This step also lays out a path for projects that the community may prioritize (i.e., water, infrastructure, education, etc.) Rotary will help provide grant support and funding for these projects when they happen. 
Transforming:  At this stage, the community is ready to own its improvement project and has the capability to sustain the project when it is completed ideally, with little or no external funding or control. “Transform” is not complete, however, until the community has demonstrated its ability to sustain the project for the future.
NOTE:  This “transform” process then creates a new level of leadership, governance, resource management, and economic growth within the community that enables the community to continue to grow and address other needs of the community for the future.
What have we done in the past?
We have been working in the small, rural Nicaraguan community of El Corozo for the last eight years.  This has been valuable time learning the process and applying the principles.  The District program started over 20 years ago as Fast for Hope.  For the last eight years, the focus in El Corozo has been on developing its leadership group and planning the community’s path forward.  Through the planning and prioritization by the community, Rotary has assisted the community in enhancing their health care by developing a community pharmacy and providing opportunities for education and youth by establishing a children’s after-school program and a children’s reading program. 
Much effort was also spent to develop a road project, but the project did not advance due to a lack of funding availability and local government support.
Who are our partners in Nicaragua?
PCF:  Our main partner in Nicaragua for facilitating the LIFT program is an NGO named Planting Change Foundation (PCF).  PCF has a history of working with Nicaragua communities, focusing on community development, environmental issues, and youth programs.  PCF has been the overall project manager for our current water project in El Corozo.  In this capacity, PCF was instrumental in organizing and training the community water governance committee, collaborating with local governments, exploring and quoting various contractors, and managing timelines and payments.
Learn more about PCF here:
EWB:  We have worked very closely with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) (Nicaragua) on our water project in El Corozo.  EWB has served as a technical consultant contributing to, reviewing, and approving all water system designs and specifications.
OI:  Opportunity International is an organization with a broad footprint in Nicaragua.  They are a large international organization that works in many countries but has a unique “pilot” program for community economic development in Nicaragua.  They are working with about 30 communities of their own and have a well-established process for assisting poor communities in developing economies.  Rotary LIFT is collaborating with OI to assist them with their community work and learn from each other and share best practices.
What are we working on now?
Since early 2021, we have been working on a water project in El Corozo.  This project will provide clean water to the community of about 500 residents (with a future system capacity for up to 700 residents).  The community had no reliable water source for over ten years, and residents had to travel about two miles to get water when needed. 
This project started with a year of organizing and developing the local community water governance capabilities.  Then, the design of the water project included piping to every home in the community, with water meters, so that residents would pay for their own water usage.  This community structure, governance, and payment structure gives the community the capability and create revenue from the system and to sustain and maintain the system for the long term.
Our local leading partner, Planting Change Foundation (PCF), was instrumental in organizing and advancing community development and governance capabilities.  PCF has also provided all overall project management for the project.  The local Nicaraguan Engineers Without Borders (EWB) was also enlisted for the project as a technical consultant to verify all designs and construction.
The project required about $140,000 in funding through District and Global grants.  As of December 2022, the project is nearing completion with all the drilling done, electrical power upgrades completed, infrastructure established, and water storage tanks purchased and installed.  Final pump installation and wiring are ongoing, and the final piping distribution network to the homes in the community is scheduled for January 2023.
What is our plan for the future?
LIFT has developed a strategic plan with PCF to implement our program and engage new communities.  Following is an overview of the plan:
Even with community governance established and the water project completed in El Corozo, we are following up with an analysis intended to scope out specific areas where economic opportunities can be opened in the community, further stimulating community growth.  The analysis has been completed, and a follow-up will be in 2023.
PCF has scoped out three new communities near Granada to work with starting 1/1/23.  These communities will employ the LIFT process to start with community organization and governance. Simultaneously, an economic development program will be initiated to empower local women to form co-ops for new forms of crop production along with the development and distribution of marketable products.
As the LIFT process evolves and communities achieve their initial steps for organizing and development, new communities in Nicaragua will be investigated and scoped, and the LIFT process will be initiated in those communities.  This cycle for communities is intended to carry into the future.
Club Support and Donations:
Recommended pledge for every district club to pledge $15 per member per year
Send payments (check) from your club to:
District 5960
1700 West MN-36
Suite 820
Roseville, MN 55113
< > 
Personal or Private Business Support and donations (Same as club donations).
Same as club donations
NOTE:  If personal donations require a tax deduction for the donation, contact Kathy Hughitt at the District 5960 office for donation information.
Want to discuss LIFT or need more information?
Rick Heidick
LIFT Chair
Dave Newman