Skidaway Island Rotary Club Helps Launch Model Midwife Training Programs in Remote Indigenous Communities

Courtesy of Skidaway Island Rotary Club


It may be small club on a barrier island in Georgia locked down for more than a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, but this group of committed Rotarians has a big international reach. Through the innovation and commitment of one of its members, Dr. Miriam Rittmeyer (MD, PhD, MPH), in collaboration with several other local clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation, the Skidaway Island Rotary Club is helping to meet critical health needs of women and children in poor indigenous communities of Guatemala (Mayan).

Dr. Rittmeyer, as Founder and Executive Director of Phalarope (, a not-for-profit dedicated to improving the lives of women and children, partnered with Rotary Club Vista Hermosa (Guatemala) and the Skidaway Island Club to acquire a prestigious Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation. The Grant funded a pilot midwife training program in eight rural communities. Based on the success of this program, the RotaryFoundation is funding expansion into 13 additional Mayan communities.

News of the success of Guatemalan program spread quickly, generating interest and enthusiasm in Panama, from a local Rotary Club to the Ministry of Health. Through the initiative and support of The Rotary Club of Boquete, collaborating with the Skidaway Island Club and Phalarope, with funding from The Tan Foundation, a community assessment is underway in the Ngabe indigenous community of Panama. An application recently was made for a third Rotary Foundation Global Grant to fund the Manchichi Midwife Training Project. This pilot project is being closely monitored for its potential expansion into Panama’s five additional indigenous communities. 

Rotary International, a non-political, non-religious organization established in 1905, is among the world’s largest service organizations with 1.2+ million members in more than 35,000 clubs in more than 160 countries. Its efforts here and around the globe focus on eradicating poverty and disease (most notably polio) through improved sanitation and safe water supplies, promoting education and peace, and the development of leadership skills. Rotary International’s network of local chapters and youth groups provides a powerful, time-tested organizational infrastructure to community-minded members (known as Rotarians) to contribute their time and money to making a difference in the lives of others. Rotarians everywhere are committed to “Service Above Self".

To learn more about Skidaway Island Rotary Club, its midwife training programs, or its local service to and support of Parent University, Hesse School, and P.A.C.K., or how you can become a member or “Friend of Skidaway Rotary”, please visit our website ( or email or



This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit to read the original article.