'Make Every Child Count' (MECC)  Cambodia


The MECC project has:-

  • operated in remote communities with the highest death rates,
  • up-skilled local health professionals such as midwives,
  • developed leadership skills,
  • and promoted good maternal and infant health practices.

It was a cooperative project with the Cambodian government, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and local community. The project seeks to address detrimental social exclusion, inequality and vulnerability in the rural poor in  Cambodia.





In Cambodia, maternity-related complications are one of the leading causes of death among women ages 15 to 49.  80% of deaths are preventable.

These include:

  1. Complications during labour:  obstructive labour/severe bleeding.
  2. Infection, usually after childbirth.
  3. High blood pressure during pregnancy: pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.
  4. Poor health: malnutrition, anaemia.
  5. Malaria and AIDS.


Dr Gan of the Rotary Club of Glen Waverley therefore founded the Make Every Child Count Foundation (MECC) to deliver the humanitarian aid, which is so urgently required.

The concept of MECC is now being taken up by other Rotary Clubs in this remote and disadvantaged area.


Rotary Strategic Projects


Polio Eradication

Rotary has invested some $A2 billion on eradicating this disease over 20 years. Then, this horrifying disease was endemic in fifty countries world wide. Now it is only found in Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. Perhaps the greatest achievement was in India, which was declared ‘polio free’ in 2012.
In 2011 a team of some 6 women from this Rotary District went to Moorarabad, India and helped to inoculate some thousands of children as part of this world wide initiative.



Rotary Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC)

Mission Statement

To provide medical treatment for children from developing countries in the form of life saving and/or dignity restoring surgery not accessible to them in their home country.
* To provide hope where there is no hope
* To restore dignity to human life
* To save or transform the lives of children from developing countries.
* To provide the best possible medical and surgical expertise




Interplast works working to improve the quality of life for people with congenital or acquired disability. Our cases typically cover cleft lip and palate or burn scar contractures. They do this by sending Australian and New Zealand volunteer reconstructive surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and allied health professionals to the Asia Pacific region. Treatment is free. For Interplast, it’s all about function and enabling full engagement in society. They focus heavily on facilitating medical training and mentoring for in-country medical personnel by supporting and building the capacity of local health services.



Art Building Children’s Dreams (ABCD)

The mission of ABCD is to provide financial assistance to the schools and families of orphans and children at risk, by using the children’s art to raise funds for their education.

Children in disadvantaged communities paint or draw a picture of their dreams. The drawings are combined with photographs and stories to create a very special and unique work of art, used to promote the program. 100% of all donations go to pay for the child’s education. It’s that simple!


  The Chris Dalwood Memorial Award (Kenya)

Tears welled up in the eyes of the Kenyan farmer. He knew no English. He could not say ‘thank you’. From the depths of his being he communicated happiness and pleasure. A rare opportunity had been bestowed on his daughter.

The scene was Rongai, Kenya. Such events were unique in this remote village, near the equator. It was a bittersweet moment that had been born of one man’s determination that tragedy would have a happy ending.

Right: Peter and Chris on a joyous holiday in Italy, 2009



For their 25th wedding anniversary in 1999, Peter and Chris Dalwood of Glen Waverley had enjoyed a mighty celebration trip: a safari to Kenya. Here they met Hamish Grant. Tragically, Hamish had recently lost his wife.

The Dalwoods were impressed that Hamish was setting up the Vanessa Grant School in her memory. Tragedy stood already in the wings. Chris fainted on the plane home.

A losing battle with ovarian cancer had started. Chris had been a well-respected teacher at Avila College, Mount Waverley for some 20 years.

Right: Peter gives the award to Tabitha as her father looks on. This gives his daughter a real chance in life



As International Chair at the Rotary Club of Glen Waverley, Chris secured a Rotary grant for furnishings at the school. Several Glen Waverley Rotarians went to Kenya to visit the school after it opened. By cruel coincidence this was when Chris passed away.

In Kenya few girls receive a secondary education. The Vanessa Grant Girls School offers that chance. Peter decided to develop the theme: The Chris Dalwood Memorial Scholarship would allow girls to go on to tertiary education.


Right: Peter and Tabitha pose for the camera as her friends look on.



Peter was able to fund the scholarship and organize its administration via the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. Now one girl per year will have that golden, wonderful opportunity of a career which befits her talents.

Criteria are based on academic standards but also the assessed need of the student. This year Wagaki Mbugua was the recipient.

It was fitting that her father would find the whole experience emotional. Peter also sponsors another girl, Tabitha. She made a formal speech of thanks to Peter in front of the school: a moment of extreme emotional intensity.

Light, hope and optimism had vanquished tragedy. Sometimes it is not such a bad old world!


Right: Peter poses for one last shot with Tabitha before leaving for Melbourne.