Collaborating with partners on sustainable service projects

By Rotary Service Connections Staff

Working with partners can strengthen club and district service projects by ensuring sustainability, providing access to subject-matter experts, and strengthening local networks. Partnering with local, national, and international organizations can help meet the many needs of communities around the world.

Rotary’s service and project partners support Rotarian-led initiatives within the avenues of service and areas of focus. All activities take place at the local level at the discretion of individual clubs and districts. Consider partnering with one of Rotary’s service partners to create a greater impact in your community:

The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) for alleviating hunger and malnutrition

Food banking is a proven solution to two critical global problems: world hunger and food waste. There is enough food to feed the world, but one-third of it is wasted. Food banks rescue perfectly edible and nutritious food before it is wasted and redistribute it to feed hungry people. In most countries, food banks distribute food through a network of community agencies, including school feeding programs, food pantries, soup kitchens, AIDS and tuberculosis hospices, elderly care facilities, orphanages, and nongovernmental organizations that provide food to the hungry. Rotary’s service partnership with GFN provides opportunities to work together to create and support food banks around the world. Read the partnership factsheet to learn more.

Peace Corps for promoting peace and enhancing community development

Peace Corps, an independent U.S. federal agency, sends U.S. citizens abroad to help tackle the most pressing needs around the world while promoting better international understanding. Peace Corps Volunteers live and work alongside the people they support to create sustainable change that lives on long after their service. A Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) offers access to local contacts, community development insights, and funding possibilities within a particular community. Involving a PCV in your project will increase its reach, impact, and sustainability. Read the partnership fact sheet.

ShelterBox for disaster relief

ShelterBox is an international aid organization that provides immediate assistance to areas ravaged by disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, flooding, hurricanes, cyclones, tsunamis, or conflict. The project partnership between Rotary and ShelterBox offers opportunities to collaborate in providing emergency shelter and vital supplies to stabilize, protect, and support communities affected by disasters and humanitarian crises. Read the partnership fact sheet.

YSA (Youth Service America) for youth involvement

YSA focuses on the engagement of young people, ages 5-25, as partners in solving the problems of the world by addressing challenges that are stifling economic and human potential, such as: environmental degradation, childhood obesity, hunger, illiteracy, animal welfare, water scarcity, human rights, and communicable diseases. Read the partnership fact sheet.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for literacy

The collaborative relationship between The Dollywood Foundation’s Imagination Library and RI provides a way for clubs in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia to support early childhood literacy by providing children in their community with a free book every month from birth to age five. Read the partnership fact sheet.

Along with collaborating with like-minded groups, you can make a more successful impact and create stronger service projects by:

  • Inviting representatives from partner organizations to speak at club meetings
  • Utilizing club and district service chairs for help identifying local partners
  • Leveraging Rotary Ideas to find funding and partners for your projects
  • Organizing a Rotary Community Corps to help mobilize a community and ensure local needs are met
  • Collaborating with a Rotarian Action Groupto help conduct a needs assessments, incorporate monitoring and evaluation components, and secure funding.
  • Attending a project fair to make new connections

We hope these resources will help your clubs and district carry out impactful and sustainable initiatives.  Please write to the Rotary Service Connections team with any questions.




Learn from area of focus experts in Rotary discussion groups

By Chelsea Mertz, Rotary Service Connections Staff

Rotary discussion groups offer a place for Rotarians, Rotaractors, Rotary Peace Fellows, and alumni to share their experiences and ideas with members of the Rotary family from around the world.

We invited experts from the Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, a group of volunteer Rotarians who provide technical expertise and advice to Rotarians planning and carrying out Rotary projects, to moderate the area of focus discussion groups from 1 July until 30 September. Whether you are looking to pursue a global grant, or learn how to do a community assessment, our experts are here to answer your questions and guide discussions on the most pertinent topics.

Meet our moderators and click the link join the conversation:

Basic Education and Literacy (BEL)

  • PDG Sylvia Byers (Rotary Club of Mosman Park-Cottesloe, Australia) is an educator currently involved in using technology to provide education to struggling students of all ages in isolated areas. She specializes in using a collaborative problem solving approach to involve and provide support to students, their parents and school community.
  • Eugene Medina (Rotary Club of Tucson Sunset, United States) is a former teacher, curriculum specialist, and superintendent. He specializes in instructional program development, implementation and evaluation, and teacher leadership training.

Disease Prevention and Treatment (DPT)

  • DGE Dr. Adewale Ogunbadejo (Rotary Club of Gbagada South, Nigeria) has served as a medical doctor since 1982. He initially worked in the public sector before opening a multi-specialty private practice in Lagos, Nigeria in 1990. He has been involved in disease prevention and treatment projects within his club and district, serving as a project-writer and executor.
  • PDG Dr. Babu Chacko (Rotary Club of Kottayam, India) is a medical doctor with post-graduate qualification in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Maternal and Child Health (MCH)

  • PDG Dr. Rajindar Singh (Rotary Club of Teluk Intan, Malaysia – District 3300) has worked as a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist since 1985. He has served as the District Rotary Foundation Chair and Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 6B. He is currently the secretary of the International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors.
  • PDG Dr. Himansu Basu (Rotary Club of Northfleet with Ebbsfleet, United Kingdom) is a retired obstetrician gynecologist with 35 years of experience as a practicing specialist, teacher trainer and examiner.

Water and Sanitation (WAS)

  • Moses Musiitwa (Rotary Club of Kyambogo-Kampala, Uganda) is a chemical engineer who specializes in applied chemistry. His focus is on integrated water resources management. He is an active member of the Society of African Ground Water Specialists and has served as a water and sanitation cadre expert for the last 18 months.
  • Robert Wubbena (Rotary Club of Olympia, United States) is a retired engineer with over 45 years of experience working with water resources, including waste water, long term utility funding, design, construction and operational experience throughout North America. He has traveled to over 50 countries performing WASH work.

Economic and Community Development (ECD)

  • Jean Manirere (Rotary Club of Musanze Murera, Rwanda) is a professor of Agriculture and Sustainable Economic Development with extensive experience with community farming and the current challenges of food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Cecelia Babkirk (Rotary Club of Cupertino, United States) is a Mortgage Banker with 42 years of experience in mortgage lending, bank formation and accounting.  It is a natural extension that her Rotary specialty is micro finance, though her interests extend to the wider field of economic and community development and the ripple effect that a great ECD project can have.

All discussion groups can be found in My Rotary (must be signed in to access). Join an existing group or start a new one today!



How to make the most of your Rotary membership?

By Azka Asif, Rotary Service Connections Staff

August is Membership Month, a time to celebrate your club, your members, and the good you do in your community and around the world. Many Rotarians join Rotary to give back locally and globally. Rotary allows members to make a difference while building friendships and fostering international understanding.

We offer many programs that allow you to engage with fellow members and make new connections outside your club and district. Here are just a few ways you can get more involved:

Rotary Friendship Exchange

Through the Rotary Friendship Exchange program, you can discover new cultures and make new friends from all over the world. Read the exchange stories below to learn more about the program and contact your district’s Friendship Exchange Chair to get involved:

Rotary Fellowships

By joining a Rotary Fellowship, you can share your passions and hobbies with fellow Rotarians. Get a glimpse of just some of the activities undertaken by fellowships:

Rotarian Action Groups

Collaborate with subject matter experts from a Rotarian Action Group or lend expertise to empower Rotary members to make their service projects more impactful. Read about the activities and projects action groups have undertaken:

Rotary Community Corps

By sponsoring a Rotary Community Corps (RCC) you can enhance community engagement and ensure project sustainability by positioning local leaders to pioneer change. Read how RCCs are making a difference:

Avenues of Service

The Avenues of Service are part of the guiding principles of Rotary and the foundation of club activity.

How is your club and district celebrating membership month? Leave a comment below on what programs and activities keep your members engaged and excited to be a part of Rotary!

Rotary Ideas connects clubs from across the world

By Chelsea Mertz with Rebecca Hirschfeld, Rotary Service Connections Staff

Inspired by the Contribute to a project on Rotary Ideas goal on the 2015-2016 Presidential Citation, Joyce Dove from the Rotary Club of Tallahassee Northside (USA) decided to explore Rotary’s crowdsourcing website, Rotary Ideas. She navigated to the site and paged through active Rotary club projects looking for volunteers, in-kind donations, partners, and funding. She narrowed down her search to projects in the Philippines, where she had lived for a significant period of time during her youth and with which she felt a strong connection. Joyce focused in on a project requesting materials to create a library in an area that she knew to be less fortunate.

20061116_NZ_054The Rotary Club of Pag-Asa Davao in the Philippines had requested books to establish local lending libraries for rural communities in the Southern Philippines.  Most of the targeted areas lack access to lending libraries, even within the schools funded by the government. To meet this need, the Rotary Club of Pag-Asa Davao’s project requested books and a partner club to help them stock libraries in numerous schools throughout the Boyan region.

Upon reading about their project, Joyce clicked the contribute now button and offered to send books. Using Club Finder, Joyce contacted the club president and secretary, sending them a message at 11 pm at night. By 3 am the next morning, she already had her response. Within the next 24 hours, they had at least five more email exchanges and Joyce was already mentally packing her box of books to send.

Since then, Joyce has been exchanging weekly messages with the club. She learned about a US postal program catering to US -Philippine shipping, particularly to the Boyan region. Her club has since sent the requested books along with funds to support the project.

“These are the sort of projects, especially the international ones, that make Rotary special” remarked Joyce. “These types of relationships, built over time, are more meaningful. Rotary Ideas is great because you feel more connected with clubs and people around the world, outside of getting just ordinary emails.” She’d like to see more focus on projects that encourage clubs to connect and serve.

Joyce plans to share her experience on Rotary Ideas with other club officers at an upcoming meeting for her district. She wants to promote the tool and what it represents, as it’s what Rotary as an organization epitomizes: members all over the world assisting each other by connecting on an international level to help communities near and far.




Are you ready to make a global impact?

By Azka Asif, Rotary Service Connections Staff

International service opportunities allow members to make new friends around the world while empowering a community in need. What is one way to dive into international service? By attending a project fair! Project fairs are the perfect way to make a global impact.

2015 West Africa Project FairProject fairs are regionally hosted events encouraging international service and collaboration. Fairs provide life-changing opportunities for attendees to learn about the host region, make new friends, and connect with clubs in need of international partners. Fairs highlight club and district projects while helping attendees gain a better understanding of the local communities’ most pressing needs.

Consider attending one of these upcoming fairs to immerse yourself in international service:

Any club representative or Rotary member interested in supporting an international service project can attend a fair. Project fairs give visitors the chance to develop a relationship with Rotary members in another part of the world and see firsthand how a community would benefit from an international collaboration.

If clubs in your district are looking for international project partners, contact your district leadership about hosting a local project fair. Write to the Rotary Service Connections team with any questions!



Ethical Dilemma Discussion: what do you do?

Your club is working to provide technology and training for teachers and children at a school in a very low-income area with limited educational resources. During your search for sponsors, a club member in a senior position at a well-known business offers to pay most of the project’s costs. This sponsorship would allow you to complete the project quickly, and kids would be in classrooms learning in just a short time. You are grateful for the generosity but hesitate because this business has been in the media over some ethical concerns. You aren’t sure it’s a good idea to accept the sponsorship, but raising the funds in other ways could sharply delay the project.

What would you do?

Creating stronger community ties through Rotary Community Corps

By Carolina Barrios, Member of the Rotary Club of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

In 2010, severe flooding affected a huge part of the Colombian territory and the Caribbean region surrounding Cartagena. Streets had turned into rivers and canoes became the only possible form of transportation. During this time, the Rotary Club Cartagena de Indias connected with the community of Leticia to assist them through emergency relief efforts.

After these efforts, the club remained active in Leticia to develop a revitalization plan with community leaders. Our objective was to understand their challenges and needs, and propose possible solutions while giving the community hope that we were there to stay and assist. As passionate Rotarians aiming to make a difference, our actions were oriented to improve the community through projects like: decorating the church, building a new park, organizing health brigades, standing up for the public school (it was in danger of being downsized through teacher cuts, etc.), vocational orientations, city planning and urbanism, distributing Christmas gifts and even a Global Grant project to provide basic sanitation!

In 2013, the year I joined the Rotary Club of Cartagena de Indias, we organized the community of Leticia into a Rotary Community Corps (RCC). The group was key for determining community needs that we were able to translate into a Global Grant with the support of several Los Angeles area rotary clubs. The grant, successfully implemented earlier this calendar year, provided basic sanitation to twenty five families as direct beneficiaries, and training to the whole community in water management and waste disposal through hands-on workshops. Since Leticia is a 45-minute boat ride away, members of our club could not always be physically present and forming this RCC helped us have eyes and ears in the community every day!

The Leticia RCC is composed of ten amazing women leaders who take their role very seriously and are always proposing ideas to improve their community. They play a central role in the success of all the implemented projects and our club supports their new ideas for meeting community needs. Recently, together we carried out productive projects such as a traditional food (sweet) festival, hosting a flea market, and a community bingo night in order to finance projects for their village.  We have certainly developed a close relationship with the Leticia community through this Rotary Community Corps. Word has spread and now a nearby village has asked for their own RCC. We are in the process of chartering this new RCC and know it will be just as successful!

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If you are looking for a way to make a difference, a Rotary Community Corps is a great way to make an impact. Learn more and get involved today!



How will you celebrate Rotary and our service to humanity?



By Azka Asif, Rotary Service Connections Staff

Service to humanity has been the cornerstone of Rotary since its earliest days, and has been its main purpose ever since. RI President John F. Germ believes no other organization effectively brings together committed, capable professionals in a wide variety of fields, and enables them to achieve ambitious goals like Rotary does.

Throughout the years, Rotary members have supported thousands of projects to provide clean water, fight disease, promote peace, provide basic education, and grow local economies. We’ve also been a leader in the fight to eradicate polio worldwide. In 2016-17, the Rotary Foundation turns 100. That’s a century of Rotary members using their capacity, network, and knowledge to change the world. And that’s definitely something worth celebrating.

The centennial is a great time to share our accomplishments, but also a time for Rotary members to continue to use their unique abilities to catapult Rotary forward to be an even greater force for good in the world.

President Germ is challenging Rotarians to continue changing lives and improving communities all over the world. Here are just a few ways you can do that:

The 2016-17 Rotary year is a time for Rotary members to celebrate 100 years of Doing Good in the World. Throughout the year showcase your 100 acts of good by posting photos of the impact you are making in your community, along with a brief description onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #100ActsofGood hashtag. Be sure to list all your efforts on Rotary Showcase.

Remember, 2016-17 Presidential Citation will recognize clubs that achieve an array of accomplishments intended to make Rotary stronger. Encourage your clubs to focus on the Humanitarian Service goals listed in the Presidential Citation brochure.



Read more about John Germ’s 2016-17 theme, Rotary Serving Humanity.

Annual tennis tournament brings together Rotarians from all over the world

By Rotary Service Connections Staff

The International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians held their 11th  annual world championship tournament in southern Georgia, USA.  44 competitors from nine countries, including Italy, Romania, and Paraguay, and from around the U.S. participated in the tournament. They arrived to play tennis, but they came as much for the fellowship and camaraderie. Read more about this story featured in The Rotarian.

“This fellowship deal, it’s a part of Rotary that 90 percent of Rotarians know nothing about and don’t have an idea of what they’re missing. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity. There’s nothing better than being hosted in a foreign country by fellow Rotarians with whom you have a connection not only through tennis but through friendship. They show you what the real country is, what the real food is, the real average, everyday events and life.” — Eugene McNease, avid tennis player and Vice Chair the International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians

P1010138Since the International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians was founded in 2004, its tournaments, including the championships, have raised more than $300,000 for Rotary projects, according to Fellowship Chair Mladen Novaković. The group has grown quickly to 1,494 members from 72 countries.

Visit the group’s website or contact Fellowship Chair Mladen Novaković to get involved!

Beer enthusiasts celebrate fellowship at the Korea Convention

Beers Rotarians Enjoy Worldwide (BREW) Fellowship is an international community of Rotarians who enjoy and appreciate the fine art of brewing, tasting and drinking of beer. Since water is a primary ingredient in beer, BREW also strives to support efforts and projects that bring clean water to those in need. Follow BREW on Facebook for more information and contact Fellowship Chair, Moses Aryee, or to join today!

Below are some pictures of their annual summit at the 2016 Rotary International Convention in Korea:

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