At the 2005 Rotary Centennial Convention in Chicago, Wangari Mathaai talked about the problems of poverty and that to truly give the poor a chance to lift themselves up out of poverty requires treating all the major problems of poverty at the same time. Wangari used the metaphor of the the three-legged stool.
The three legs are:
The typical Rotary Foundation Matching Grant will target only one of these areas, which is like having only one leg on a three-legged stool. It only solves a small portion of the problems affecting the poor. Adopt a Village is a concept that attacks all the most pressing problems of poverty in one project for a single group of people, a village. In essence a Rotary Club in the developed country would "adopt" a village and, in the initial project provide: Clean Water, Mosquito Nets to reduce malaria, Food Production and/ or Education portions that are designed to meet the needs of that village. After the initial project is completed other follow-on projects would be undertaken in that village to further improve the quality of life and the chances of totally eliminating poverty for that village.
Clubs in third-world countries identify villages that suffer from poverty. They do a needs assessment of the village in cooperation with the villagers themselves and work up a project for that village that address the needs of the villagers to lift themselves up out of poverty. The projects must include all three legs of the stool: Health, Hunger and Education.