August 9th 2021

Alan Harrison

Our speaker today (9th August) is our member Eamonn Allen.

Forthcoming Speakers and Events
Aug 16th Heritage Week
Aug 23rd President Alexander Kopf, Rotary Fellowships and Action Groups
Aug 30th Alan Gilmore, Designer Harry Potter Theme Park Orlando
Sep 6th Business Meeting
Sep 12th Annual Duck Race on River Dodder at Milltown.

President Elect David Booth was in the Chair last week, as President Alexander was absent on holidays.

Visitors and Apologies
Hon Sec. Tony had received apologies from Patrick White, Delma Sweeney, Eamonn Allen, David Horkan, Poonam Sood and President Alexander Kopf. We welcomed three guests including Vasily Ogievsky, Cormac Trant, and Thomas Molloy. Our guests were introduced by PP Bernadette Mulvey.

There were 18 Members in attendance.

Rotary Rangers’ Schedule

Aug 3rd Sugar Loaf, Kilmacanogue
Aug 10th Deserted Village, above Lough Dan
Aug 17th Greystones To Kilcoole & return
Aug 24th Lough Brays (2), Glencree Valley
Aug 31st Carraig Gollergan, Shankill.

There are two very easy walks on the 10th and 17th that should suit our injured walkers. Please make sure you bring plenty of water on all walks this month. Also be sure to bring wide brimmed headgear to protect faces and necks from the burning sun (or rain as the case may be – Ed).

Thought for the day
PP Brian George gave the thought for the day. It was:
I slept and dreamed that life is all joy, I woke and saw that life is all service, I served and saw that service is all joy.
President’s Announcements
• President Alexander has received an invitation for our members to join the London club as they celebrate the 110th anniversary of their foundation on August 3rd. As it happens, he cannot attend.
• The annual duck race this year will be on September 12th. Please put this in your diaries.
• There will be a joint on-line meeting with the Tours and Bonn clubs on the 13th of September. The Tours club have suggested the word “trielle” to describe the three-way link between the clubs. President Alexander had sent a message (in German) to the Bonn club following the recent calamitous floods in their region which has been acknowledged.
• Most members have paid their annual subscriptions, but some people have not yet done so. President Alexander asked that those who have still to pay do so soon as we have already had to send money to District for each member.
• Still on finance, President Alexander thanked Rotarian Roger Owens who has succeeded in obtaining a tax refund on a recent donation to the club’s charity account. Roger said that he was just the person in the hot seat when this happened. The spade work had been done by former Hon Treasurer Randal and others over a period of time.
• President Alexander noted at our meeting of 19th July that Willie Widmer had joined the club 50 years ago this week. We heard last week from Honorary Secretary Tony McCourt that our member Jonathan Pim had completed 45 years of service with Rotary this July.

Members wishing to speak
• PE David Booth noted for our incoming members that our club was the oldest outside of North America, but that this claim had, for a long time, been disputed by the London club. Some years ago, the London club had graciously acknowledged that we sat down to dine first.
• PP Brian George asked if it would be possible to get a full list of members. Hon Sec. Tony said that he was waiting until all subscriptions had been paid and that he would then circulate the list to all members.
• There was a discussion on whether the Grand Canal Hotel would be able to accommodate a return by the club to having lunch and meeting on Mondays on a regular basis. Past President Alan Davidson suggested that we should continue to have at least one meeting a month on Zoom for those members who find it difficult to get to the lunchtime meeting. President Elect David Booth is to follow up and is also anxious that any members who might like to meet outside socially over the next week or two should contact him (David). The Sandymount Hotel was suggested.

Last Week’s Meeting
Our guest speaker last week was Gavin Walker who introduced us to the concept of micro-finance. Gavin introduced the subject with the assistance of our tech wizard Rotarian Mary O’Rafferty. The basic concept is that lenders provide small amounts of assistance to entrepreneurs in developing countries to enable the entrepreneurs to get a start, usually where credit facilities are not available locally. Across the world it helps ideas find credit. So, “lend with care” has been developed. What is the problem? More than two billion people require access to basic financial services but are not able to access it. It is therefore the poor who are excluded from credit. The solution is the provision of financial services to low-income borrowers. This takes the form of micro loans, savings, micro insurance, money transfers and financial trading.
CARE, as an organization, believes that fair and effective financial services are the solution to addressing poverty.
What is the Loan Cycle ? The Loan Cycle is to lend with an intention to lift from poverty - The charity CARE International UK (www.lendwithcare.org) connects lenders with entrepreneurs to lend to. Some lend as little as £15.00 but others may lend up to the full amount required to capitalize the new business. It is not a donation, but rather a loan which is to be repaid. Gavin explained that the lending and repayment rate is very good, they have about a 1% default rate.
What are the next three steps for Rotarians:
1. Consider investing in Lend With Care.
2. Agree that the Club would invest Club funds although it needs to be decided who would administer this.
3. Consider vouchers as gifts to family and friends, which in turn provides finance to borrowers.
Gavin then demonstrated to us the Lend With Care website. Look at the dashboard. It provides details as to what has been provided by Rotary members in Ireland so far. The number of loans is 392. The number of entrepreneurs helped so far is 2,349. The site provides details of a number of people across the world who are looking for assistance. It is possible to view their applications. There is a local partner who assists the applicant in submitting the application.
Gavin then asked for questions. He explained that the leaders of this are within our Rotary District, Rotary Clubs and individuals such as Gavin himself. The questions included:
PP Tom O’Neill: Is the lender linked to an individual borrower (applicant)? Yes, the lenders can choose the type of borrowers. More than one borrower can be supported.
Is there a need for this in Ireland? Gavin replied that he was aware of at least one other organization supplying entrepreneurs with seed funding in Ireland.
PP Ted Corcoran: sought confirmation that the Club as well as individuals can support. Yes, the club can open an account in the same way as an individual.
PP Kevin McAnallen: Kevin asked about the organization. Gavin Walker explained that it is part of CARE International based in the UK. Their trustees are responsible for funds and partnered with small organizations in local countries. Lend With Care does not charge interest, but invites individuals to make a subscription payment to the organization to assist with costs.
PP Bernadette Mulvey: What benefit is there to the Club, is it another type of service? For individuals it is service but members can purchase Lend With Care vouchers for family and can give these to children and others to provide a sense of what is involved.
PP Paul Martin agreed on the potential benefits and would like the Club and all Rotarians to support this idea. It allows angel investors, such as during the Pandemic, to make a donation to charity without seeking repayment. He suggested using Revolut to make payments in other currencies without exchange rates.
PP Alan Davidson asked Gavin to send details for the International Committee.
Rotarian Frank Bannister related the name of the founder of a similar organization by the name of Mohammed Younis in 2004 who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his idea in 2006.
President Elect David Booth recalled working in Nigeria and the difficulty faced by the people he was working with in accessing credit. He began a small version of the micro-finance idea there.
Rotarian Roger Owens provided the thanks to Gavin Walker, showing that the popularity of the scheme is proof that it is required and is working and advocated that we should all support it.