Vice President Jerry Faletti called the meeting to order at 12:15 pm. David Laird led the singing of America the Beautiful, accompanied by Bob Jones. Carley Stuber gave the inspirational minute. Ed Coleman introduced visiting Rotarians and guests. Since Jodi Erickson was unable to attend the meeting, Jason DeKeuster and Jason Bradshaw helped out with greeting and signing in. Lynne Beck was the scribe. Jerry announced that next week we will celebrate January birthdays. The Thursday Fellowship speaker is TBD.


Ed Coleman collected Happy Dollars from a number of members. Ken Crabb announced that the GSE team from Australia will arrive in April and be in the district April 22-May 20. Anyone who would like to host a team member should contact Ken.

Valdi Stefanson introduced the speaker Alexandra Spieldoch, Executive Director of Compatible Technology International. He talked about how much Rotary means to him. There is nothing more rewarding than service above self. He then dedicated the meeting to the memory of Malcolm McLean, a member of St. Paul Rotary and former executive director of Compatible Technology International. CTI is developing appropriate agriculture technology for countries around the world. The milling grinder project is our 5th one in partnership with CTI. Others supported by global grants from Rotary include water chlorination projects in Nicaragua and solar power projects in Guatemala. The milling grinder project helps women produce saleable products, such as millet and peanut butter. 

Alexandra Spieldoch has worked in international policy and development for more than 20 years and has contributed to numerous articles and books related to global governance, gender and food security, rural livelihoods and sustainable development. Prior to CTI, Alexandra served as director of the Trade and Global Governance program at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and global coordinator of the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders in Agriculture. As a global leader, she has traveled and lived in countries around the world and has organized and participated in high-level events.

The topic of Alexandra Spieldoch’s presentation was Grind Out Poverty: Women Led Milling Microenterprise in Senegal. A goal of the project is to unlock the potential of women in Senegal as farmers and business leaders. CTI was founded by a food scientist in 1981. For 35 years, CTI has delivered tools to 40 countries, reaching over 500,000 people. Its products and training have changed the lives of the poorest of the poor. The technology is designed to meet the specific needs of local farmers. The focus is on post-harvest since food rots and is wasted. CTI is working closely with partners in Senegal to develop and distribute tools and train local women.

Facts about Senegal:

  • About the size of South Dakota
  • One of the most successful democracies in Africa
  • Almost half the population lives on less than $1.25 a day
  • 22% of all children work and do not attend school
  • ¾ of the population is employed in agriculture

99% of the farmers in Senegal are women. The harvesting processes and tools they use have not changed in decades. Challenges CTI faces are cultural norms we don’t understand and resistance to change. CTI works with the women to better understand their culture and teach them how to use the new technology. CTI has reached 15,000 people in Senegal by helping them with product development. For example, the women are now packaging peanut butter for market. CTI focuses on specific crops such as millet and peanut that are drought resistant.

Alexandra invited us to attend their 35th Anniversary celebration, 2017 Pollinator Gala, A Passport Through Africa, on April 26, 2017. 

Vice President Jerry Faletti led Rotary members in the Four Way Test and the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 pm. 

Lynne Beck