Background of the Project

The Belize Literacy Program is a partnership which includes Rotary District 5370, The Rotary Club of San Ignacio, other Rotary clubs in Belize, and the Ministry of Education and Youth, Government of Belize. Prior to the involvement of District 5370 the program had been initiated and offered in San Ignacio by the Rotary Club of Nisku-Leduc, in cooperation with the Black Gold Local of the Alberta Teachers' Association and the Rotary Club of San Ignacio. 

The objectives of the program are:

  1. Professional development for teachers
  2. Establishment and maintenance of technical and communications capacity designed to improve teacher support in teaching methods, curriculum and access to information
  3. Improve the educational experience in Belize schools
  4. Reduce the student dropout rate by 10% and improve the student pass rate on government grade eight exams by 25% by 2011
  5. Introduce a Distributed Learning, a pilot program, as an alternative mode of providing access to educational experiences.


Phase One

The first phase began in the summer of 2007, when several teachers from District 5370 offered summer workshops to colleagues in San Ignacio. This phase kicked into high gear in the summer of 2008, with the approval of our 3-H grant from the Rotary Foundation. Twenty-four teacher facilitators from District 5370 travelled to Belize and offered two week workshops in elementary school language arts, math and science to more than 250 of their Belizean colleagues.

Another set of workshops was offered in the summer of 2009. More than 300 Belizean teachers attended the workshop in the first week. During the second week 120 of these teachers offered a workshop for 1700 of their colleagues, with the assistance of our District 5370 facilitators. In addition, a one week workshop was provided for more than 300 school principals. 

We have also assisted the Belize Ministry of Education and Youth in revising the elementary school language arts, math and science curricula by sending curriculum experts from District 5370 to work with Belize ministry personnel.

A major component of the first phase has been the refurbishing and shipping of more than 1,000 desktop computers. These were distributed to teachers attending the workshops, schools and other institutions.


Phase Two

The second phase of the program is the distributed learning phase. As part of this phase we have been providing assistance to the Belize ministry in reviewing high speed network capacity and negotiating with network providers. Several schools have been supplied with class sets of computers for us in distributed learning and a server has been provided for the Ministry of Education and Youth. Relevant educational materials were identified and secured.

An important adjunct of the program has been the identification of several ancillary projects which have provided for direct involvement of our District 5370 clubs. These include scholarship programs, provision of school supplies, playgrounds, latrines etc.



Program funding has come from a variety of sources.Contributions from Rotary District 5370 clubs are vital in order to obtain matching grants from other funders as well as to cover costs which are not covered by other sources, such as travel costs for our teacher facilitators who travel to Belize to present workshops.

For phase one of the program, we were fortunate to obtain a 3-H (Health, Hunger, Humanity) grant of USD $295,000 from the Rotary Foundation, for the period of July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2011. We have also been fortunate to receive an annual matching grant of $25,000 from the Wild Rose Foundation (now Alberta Culture and Community Service International Development Grant).

Thank you to our clubs and organizations who have donated. They include:

  • Athabasca Rotary
  • Barrhead Rotary
  • The Battlefords Rotary
  • Camrose-Daybreak Rotary
  • Camrose Rotary
  • Dawson Creek Rotary
  • Dawson Creek-Sunrise Rotary
  • District 5370
  • Drayton Valley Rotary
  • Edmonton-Avenue of Nations
  • Edmonton-Gateway Rotary
  • Edmonton-Glenora Rotary
  • Edmonton-Mayfield Rotary
  • Edmonton-Northeast Rotary
  • Edmonton-Northern Rotary
  • Edmonton-Riverview Rotary
  • Edmonton Rotary
  • Edmonton-South Rotary
  • Edmonton-Strathcona Rotary
  • Edmonton-Sunrise Rotary
  • Edmonton-Urban Spirits
  • Edmonton-West Rotary
  • Edmonton-Whyte Avenue Rotary
  • Edson Rotary
  • Fort McMurray Rotary
  • Fort St. John Rotary
  • Fort St John-Sunrise
  • Grande Prairie Rotary
  • Grande Prairie-Swan City Rotary
  • Grande Prairie-Sunrise Rotary
  • Hinton Rotary
  • Jasper Rotary
  • Brian Kelly, P.C.
  • Lloydminster-Border City Rotary
  • Albert Miller
  • Morinville Rotary
  • Nisku-Leduc Rotary
  • Peace River Rotary
  • Red Deer Rotary
  • Sherwood Park Rotary
  • Sherwood Park-Centennial Rotary
  • Slave Lake Rotary
  • Orville Sleen
  • Spruce Grove Rotary
  • St. Albert Rotary
  • St. Albert-Saint City Rotary
  • Stony Plain Rotary
  • Sunchild Rentals Ltd.
  • David Taylor
  • Vegreville Rotary
  • Vermillion Rotary
  • Wainwright Rotary
  • Wetaskiwin Rotary
  • Westlock Rotary
  • Whitecourt Rotary
  • Yellowknife Rotary