Start a new service project today!

By Chelsea Mertz and Rebecca Hirschfeld, Rotary Service staff

Does your club want to try a new type of service project or want to find a project in another region to partner on and are not sure where to start?

The Project Lifecycle Kit tools can help with all your service project needs. These online resources guide your project from inception to implementation while also facilitating connections with other Rotarians around the world. Rotary is unique in that service means more than just helping others. We’re also about forming valuable partnerships that make projects more sustainable and in turn help foster more peaceful communities. So which tools comprise the Project Lifecycle Kit?

Through Discussion Groups, Rotarians have access to a plethora of information from other Rotary members who provide valuable support during the planning phases of a project. Use these groups to pose questions to other members and tap into their expertise, experience, and advice. If you are starting a project in one of our areas of focus, you can take advantage of our Cadre of Technical Advisors moderated groups.

For example, the Water and Sanitation Group gives you the opportunity to receive advice from subject matter experts, as well as members of our Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag).

A few recent enhancements to Rotary Ideas makes finding a project partner easier than ever before! A Google Translate option is now available on each project page, expanding the options for partnering beyond the boundaries of language. You can now search for projects by filtering by contribution type (volunteers, partnerships, online contributions, and materials), making it easier to find the types of projects you want to support.

For example, the Water For Life Project in Egypt is looking for global grant partner to help provide safe and clean water to families living in poverty.

Remember to continue to share your success stories on Rotary Showcase, recently updated to allow you to tag Rotarian Action Groups and Rotary Community Corps as project partners. Identifying all of your Rotary project partners ensures that your good work is shared as accurately as possible within our communities and the world.

For example, through a global grant, the Rotary Club of San Pedro South in the Philippines installed a solar powered potable water treatment system at a local elementary school benefiting 1100 students. The project included a deep well with a submersible pump powered by a solar panel. The system can produce up to 2000 liters per hour when the solar panel is at its peak capacity. To manage project operations and maintenance, including how to share the potable water with the surrounding community, the Cuyab Rotary Community Corps (RCC) was formed with officers from the school faculty, the parent teacher association and local government. The RCC will decide how the water will be shared with the nearby community, its price, schedule and mechanics.

As always, if you have any questions regarding these tools, please feel free to contact social@rotary.org for assistance.

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New Rotarian Action Group takes on hepatitis eradication

By Humberto Silva, Chair of the Hepatitis Eradication Rotarian Action Group and member of Rotary Club of São Paulo-Jardim das Bandeiras in Brazil

Humberto SilvaAccording to the World Health Organization, viral hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide. Together, Hepatitis B and C kills close to 1.4 million people every year. Around the world, 400 million people living with chronic Hepatitis B and C, the most serious forms of viral hepatitis, don’t know they are infected. Untreated cases cause serious damage to the liver and result in death.

I was once one of those 400 million people in good health and without a single symptom while my liver was being taken by cirrhosis. In 2010, before a trip to the South Africa FIFA World Cup, I visited the doctor to ensure my vaccines were up-to-date. Apart from the vaccines, the doctor also tested for Hepatitis B and C and there it was: hepatitis C.

I received treatment and a second chance at life. I knew I had to do something to help the millions of other people who were still suffering. I started to research the disease and found that 3 million in my country of Brazil shared my same problem. They showed no signs of a damaged liver, but were living with the terrible disease. I became president of the Brazilian Association of People with Hepatitis (ABPH) which established five free clinics in Brazil with a the sixth one soon opening in Mexico focused on prevention and treatment.

Using point of care blood testing, we started offering screenings all over the country. We performed half a million tests and identified 5,000 people like me living with the disease with no symptoms of infection. We helped those testing positive for hepatitis connect with treatment options.

My Rotarian friends accepting my invitation to join the mission. We engaged Rotary clubs throughout Brazil, and have now spread to all of Latin America. Over 1,000 clubs are working with us, performing low-cost and convenient tests to detect the disease. Lives are being saved and each infected person now has a chance to get treatment and be cured. Today, treatment is easy and effective in almost 100% of cases. The biggest challenge is finding those who are infected with the disease.

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The Hepatitis Eradication Rotarian Action Group was formed to help clubs and districts with hepatitis screening and testing campaigns. Join our group and volunteer to help us form a committee in your country to conduct testing. The group is open to Rotary members, their families, program participants, and alumni with expertise or a passion for a particular service area.

Contact me for more information and to join our efforts!

Find inspiration at the Atlanta Convention

If you’re joining us at the 2017 Rotary International Convention, 10-14 June, expect to hear inspirational keynote speakers, participate in a variety of service-related breakout sessions, and make new friends in the House of Friendship!

Preconvention events:

Service-oriented breakout sessions:

Plan to attend afternoon breakout sessions 12-14 June:

  • Rotary Friendship Exchanges: Enhancing the Rotary Experience Through International Exchanges: — participating in an exchange deepens global understanding, strengthens international ties, raises opportunities to explore vocations abroad, and even helps develop international service partnerships. Find inspiration from previous exchange participants, meet prospective exchange partners, and trade ideas on how you’ll join the program as a host or visitor.
  • Rotary Community Corps: Community Solutions for Community Challenges — a Rotary Community Corps consists of non-Rotarians who share our commitment to service and carry out community projects as well as support Rotary club projects. Nearly 8,500 RCCs in 90 countries are working to develop future leaders and conduct effective service. Learn about the role of RCCs in community development, along with how to form an RCC and how to team with RCCs on projects.
  • Vocational Service and Appreciation: Enhance Member Engagement — learn how recognizing the worth of members’ occupations, skills, and talents can improve member retention.
  • Rotary and Peace Corps: Partnering to Empower Communities — the service partnership formed in 2015 between Rotary and Peace Corps offers opportunities for clubs to work with active and returned Peace Corps volunteers. Learn how teaming with Peace Corps volunteers can address Rotary’s six areas of focus while enhancing goodwill, international understanding, and capacity building in more than 60 countries around the world.
  • Life as a ShelterBox Response Team Member — Rotary’s project partner for disaster relief, ShelterBox, will bring to life the mission of a response team and show what it takes to help on the ground immediately after a disaster.
  • These Rotarian Action Groups will host sessions about their service initiatives and opportunities to team with them on a related cause in your community: Clubfoot, Peace, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Malaria, Hepatitis, Slavery, Literacy, and Family Health and AIDS Prevention.

Make connections in the House of Friendship

Visit the House of Friendship to network with fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors and learn about Rotary Fellowships, Rotarian Action Groups, Rotary’s partners, service projects, and much more. Download the Convention Events and Booth Exhibit Guide for Rotary Fellowships and Rotarian Action Groups, then prepare to connect with groups that share your interests and expertise.

Review the preliminary schedule for breakout sessions, and watch a recording of the convention orientation webinar for convention highlights, cultural tips, and resources. Download the Rotary Events app for up-to-date information on convention events. Follow the convention on social media using #Rotary17.

Partnering with ShelterBox on relief deployments

Rotarian Liz Odell of the Rotary Club of Nailsworth in England shares about her involvement with ShelterBox over the past seven years. Liz has participated in 16 deployments with ShelterBox as a response team volunteer. Here’s her story:

Video courtesy of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland

Interested in getting involved with ShelterBox, Rotary’s partner for disaster relief? Read the Rotary-ShelterBox partnership fact sheet and contact rotaryrequests@shelterbox.org for more information.

ShelterBox is a separate organization, independent of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

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Access to technology prepares students for innovative careers

By Andrea Paolo Rossi and Oliviero Zondini, Rotary Club of Cesena in Italy and global grant project leads

Our Rotary Club of Cesena is big with more than 100 members who represent the rich culture and strengths of our region. The local economy in Cesena is centered around agriculture and the manufacturing industry, in particular mechanics, manufacturing, and construction equipment. These companies must remain innovative to compete in the global market. Our region has high unemployment rates among youth coupled with manufacturing companies can’t find skilled workers.

To address this concern, we decided to focus on educating local high school students about the skills they need to establish a career in the manufacturing industry. The project aimed to create a 3D print lab for the Technical School. We partnered with FabLab Romagna to provide training for the students. FabLab Romagna, headquartered conveniently near the school, works with the international network of fab labs, small-scale workshops offering personal digital fabrication. Fab labs began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) to provide access to modern innovation technologies.

The project was presented in September 2014 at the 8th Multi-Club Workshop in Ischia, where we met Serbian Rotarians who presented a project with similar characteristics. A partnership was formed from which two global grants were born with the Rotary Club of Cesena and Rotary Club of Beograd-Skadarlija each serving as the local host for their respective project and as the international partner supporting each other’s efforts.

In May 2015, our club’s project was presented to local authorities and citizens of Cesena during the Rotary Romagna Festival. Twelve clubs from our district committed to contribute their time and service to the project. Our artisan association, Confartigianato, supported the project by providing needed consumable materials for the lab.

The Rotary Foundation approved our global grant in June 2016, and in February 2017 the equipment was officially handed over to the school with a public ceremony in which students and teachers presented about their experiences using the fab lab. Our Serbian partners also attended this event.

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The project, valued at $60,650 USD, is now in full swing. The training courses held with FabLab Romagna allow students of different ages and classes to work together to develop a project under the supervision of a fab lab technician. The 3D printers are self- assembled with electronic and mechanical components. Course participants learn to manage the entire supply chain, from starting the project with computer graphics through to the creation of the final product.  The students themselves then become teachers to other students. Students also participate in educational trainings at the local manufacturing companies.

The project will continue throughout the 2017-18 school year, after which the Technical School will have a full 3D printing laboratory and technical expertise to continue training students in an increasing technologically-demanding world of mechanics. But what is most important, these students will learn a method of work that will make them leaders of a changing global industry.

Attend the 2017 Multi-Club Workshop in London, England. The 11th annual event will take place 6-10 September. Learn more about the workshop and visit their website for more information! 

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Pursuing my passions through Rotary and Peace Corps

By Cecilia Kern, former Rotary Global Grant Scholar and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

Community service has always been a big part of my life. When I was 11-years-old, I joined the youth leadership organization, Job’s Daughters. This group of adult and peer mentors instilled in me the principles of leadership, compassion, empathy and selfless service. Guided by these values, I spent much of my free time in high school and college volunteering and fundraising for various charities.

These activities however, remained fairly separate from my studies and professional life. In 2008, I was preparing to graduate from a four-year university where I had earned a Bachelors in Business Management, and suddenly it hit me: this was not at all who I was or what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My heart was in the volunteer work where I had dedicated so many of my years. Why does a professional career have to be separate from what one is truly passionate about? Pursuing Peace Corps was my way of finding out how to merge the two.

I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Verde, where I worked in the area of small business and community development. The experience was life changing. When spending two years completely immersed in a small village, the community becomes your friend, and friends become your family. I learned so much about myself through cultural exchange, respectful dialogue and meaningful engagement.

Returning to the United States left me feeling empty, yet inspired. I was saddened to leave what became my second home, but I now knew, more than ever, my life mission. I am meant to dedicate my life to a cause higher than myself, something that outlasts me, something that leaves this world a little better than I found it.

I spent some time volunteering for non-profit organizations in the U.S. and Brazil before joining the World Bank in their mission to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. Working among esteemed economists and specialists at the World Bank inspired me, but I quickly realized that I would need to further my education in order to make a meaningful difference. After researching and applying to several programs, I decided on a Master’s of Science in International Development and Public Policy at the University of Manchester, England. As a perpetual volunteer who had only worked for about 24 months in the past 7 years, funding a graduate degree would be the next immediate challenge.

I had been familiar with Rotary mainly because I saw their signs everywhere, from my village in Cape Verde to the streets in Porto Velho, Brazil. I reached out to my local Fairfax Rotary Club and was blessed to be connected with Rotarian Verne Tuininga, the Youth Service Director, who graciously guided me through The Rotary Foundation’s Global Grants Scholarship application process, interview and eventual acceptance process.

I set off for the United Kingdom in September 2015, as a Rotary Global Grants Scholar. I began my graduate program where I also co-started the fundraising group Students Unite to End Polio in support of Rotary’s PolioPlus campaign. Students Unite to End Polio consisted of ten international students committed to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in an effort to raise funds and awareness around polio eradication.

After graduating from the University of Manchester and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, I have returned to the World Bank as a research analyst for the social protection department. Looking back, Peace Corps and the community I served, gave me the self-belief and drive to pursue radical social change; and my Rotary scholarship equipped me with the education and knowledge I needed to transform that drive into action. It may be awhile before we see the end to extreme poverty, but my experiences with Peace Corps and Rotary give me hope that lasting change is possible through time, unwavering focus and fierce determination.

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Related:

  • Read the Rotary-Peace Corps partnership fact sheet for collaboration opportunities for clubs and districts. If you’re attending the 2017 Rotary Convention in Atlanta, visit the Peace Corps booth in the House of Friendship and attend a Rotary-Peace Corps breakout session to learn more about the partnership. Email service@rotary.org if you have any questions.
  • Rotarian Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are invited to District 5450’s Rotary-Peace Corps workshop on 4 August 2017 in Denver, Colorado, USA. Contact Charlie Hunt or Steve Werner for more information and to register for the workshop.

Collaborate with Rotarian experts on maternal and child health projects

By Zuhal Sharp, Rotary Service and Engagement staff

Is your club or district thinking of starting a project focused on maternal and child health? Are you looking for resources to help you get started? Rotarian Action Groups (RAGs) help clubs and districts plan and implement service projects. RAGs are organized by committed Rotarians, Rotarians’ family members, and Rotary program participants and alumni who have expertise and a passion for a particular type of service. Learn about our current  Groups with expertise in maternal and child health, and contact them directly for assistance with starting a new, or expanding an existing, initiative:

With 20,000 worldwide members, the Rotarian Action Group for Population & Development (RFPD) has the largest membership of any action group. RFPD assists with projects addressing the intersection of unsustainable development, human suffering, and overpopulation, such as access to health services. The group maintains information on population and development projects that clubs/districts can help sponsor. An example of their work:

  • The group’s signature project in northern Nigeria, funded in part by the Rotary Foundation, the German government (BMZ) and the Aventis Foundation, is a comprehensive approach aimed at a sustainable reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality. Initially piloted in ten hospitals, the program has more than doubled to 25 hospitals in six states of Nigeria. The project aims to improve the Nigerian health system through the support and implementation of the medical guidelines and quality assurance in administered services. Read more about the project.

The Rotarian Action Group for Healthy Pregnancies / Healthy Children (RAG HP/HC) encourages Rotary members to work towards achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The group is working with clubs and districts to provide education and promote awareness of prenatal care:

  • In partnership with the Rotary Club of Paramaribo Residence (Suriname) and the Rotary Club of Leiden (Netherlands), the group implemented health education programs at secondary schools, as well as provided education on a healthy pregnancy for women visiting hospitals and primary health care clinics in Paramaribo, Suriname. The program was carried out through trained midwives and other health care professionals. Contact the group to get involved on a similar project.

In addition to organizing health camps enabling access to services such as dental care, health screenings, vaccinations and more, the Health Education and Wellness Rotarian Action Group provides Rotary members with the tools and knowledge they need to advocate for cost-effective, low-technology programs for early detection and treatment of cervical cancer. Contact the group to get involved.

Are you attending the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta? Connect with Rotarian Action Groups in the House of Friendship and attend their open events and meetings.

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Take collaborative strategic action to lower maternal deaths

By Azka Asif, Rotary Service and Engagement staff

In honor of Maternal and Child Health Month, Past District Governor Dr. Himansu Basu, a Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisors for Maternal and Child Health, shares about his team’s work to save the lives of mothers and babies in partnership with Rotarians, other professional volunteers, and governments.

Azka: Dr. Basu, last year you shared an update on the success of the Calmed (Collaborative Action in Lowering of Maternity Encountered Deaths) programme. Have you had any recent developments?

Dr. Basu:
Calmed, started in 2013, is funded through Rotary Foundation grants, supported by hands-on efforts of volunteer doctors and Rotarians from the United Kingdom and India. Two global grants have supported six vocational training team (VTT) visits to Sikkim, with a target population of 0.7 million, and Gujarat with a target population of 2.5 million.

Our team of 12 Obstetricians has trained 39 master trainers who continue to train professionals (currently just over 250) in emergency care of pregnant women and babies. The team has also trained approximately 100 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) who raise awareness about pregnancy, child care and related issues through community women’s groups.

The programme was recognized with two international awards for excellence in 2016 — Times Sternberg award and Rotary GBI Champion of Change.

AA: Have you achieved your objectives for the programme?

HB: Maternal mortality reduction programmes take time to achieve their goal – zero preventable maternal death. We are on track for improvements in access to effective care. After three years, we see a steady fall in the number of avoidable maternal deaths in all of Sikkim, our first pilot site. We are moving towards our target of zero preventable maternal deaths.

AA: What can Rotarians do to reduce maternal and child mortality?

HB: Maternal mortality is an index of development in any community – an effective project in any of Rotary’s six areas of focus will also decrease maternal and child mortality, albeit slowly. For a more direct measurable response, a comprehensive strategy based on the Calmed template aimed at reducing the shortage of trained professionals while promoting community awareness regarding childbirth and child care issues should be implemented.

AA: What advice can you offer Rotarians planning a global grant project to reduce maternal and child mortality?

HB: Create a strategic programme with vocational training teams being a key component. It’s important to have experienced project committees supported by health professionals, and public health experts. Close collaboration with motivated Rotarians and government in the project host country is essential for impact and sustainability. The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisors can be a valuable resource in planning, implementation and the follow-up stages. Expertise is also available from Rotarian Action Groups such as the Population and Development, Health Education and Wellness, and Preconception Care groups.

A planning visit to the project area by the international partner is very important and should focus on identifying local assets and needs, partnership opportunities with local government and professionals.

AA: What advice can you offer for organising a vocational training team aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality?

Himansu: A vocational training team for improving maternal and child health should be structured to meet the needs of the community. Here are examples of scaling a project:

Scenario 1 targets several smaller hospitals or one large hospital. Two to four experienced doctors train a group of 10 to 20 doctors and nurses on emergency care of pregnant women and new-borns.

Scenario 2 targets several larger hospitals or many smaller hospitals. 5-7 experienced doctors train 20 to 25 motivated trainers who then qualify as master trainers. These master trainers go on to train others (30-40 at a time). Two return team visits should be conducted for evaluation and further training.

Scenario 3 targets a community of one million or more. This is a most effective method, but requires close collaboration with local government. A team of 7 to 10 experienced doctors undertake:

  • training cascade as in Scenario 2 (above)
  • training 15 to 20 ASHA trainers to raise community health awareness. The ASHAs then train women’s groups in towns and villages throughout the target area
  • analysing all maternal deaths in the target area to identify preventable causes and facilitate corrective measures in partnership with local government

AA: Which scenario is most effective in your opinion?

HB: Clearly Scenario 3, but it is also the one requiring more time and resources.

AA: Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise! What is your vision for the future?

HB: We cannot rest on our laurels. We need to facilitate and provide support for Rotarians in many low resource countries to introduce more strategic programmes for the entire community based on the Calmed VTT template. Please contact me for further information and suggestions. Also, visit the Calmed programme website for more information.

We are in discussion to establish maternal and child health academies in partnership with governments and NGOs to provide academic support, carry out the work of vocational training teams and advocate to develop future programmes and future leaders achieve our goal of zero preventable maternal death.

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Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan

By Bibi Bahrami, member of the Rotary Club of Muncie and founder of AWAKEN

Growing up as a young girl in the peaceful village of Qala-e-Malakh in Afghanistan, I was part of a loving family with ten brothers and sisters. We were happy, but little did we know that our lives would soon face devastation as the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. I was frightened and scared for my life and for the lives of my loved ones. Every time I heard shots or explosions, I trembled at the thought of losing a family member.

In the face of war, we were forced to flee our home, leaving everything behind to head towards refugee camps in Pakistan. A long journey awaited us as we traveled through mountains without much food or water, with small children and my mother who was eight months pregnant at the time. We arrived to the camps safely where I spent the next six years of my life. My life had been turned upside down. Growing up, I always had aspirations and dreams to be educated, and hoped for the opportunity to pursue them. My six years in the camp did not give me that opportunity, but I tried to learn what I could from my brothers’ books.

In 1986, I boarded a plane to meet my fiancé, who was a medical student in the United States who I had met in the refugee camp in Pakistan. My trip brought me to Muncie, Indiana, and I was blessed with the opportunity that I had always wanted. I was finally able to pursue my education, completing a GED and continuing on to receive an art degree from Ball State University. As my life has moved on from my home in Qala-e-Malakh and the refugee camps, I never forgot about the girls I left behind who have the same dreams as I did.

My husband and I continued to travel back to the refugee camps in Pakistan every year, with medicine and other humanitarian supplies. In 2002, with the support of family and friends, we established AWAKEN (Afghan Women and Kids Education & Necessities) to provide educational opportunities, vocational training, and healthcare services to the people of Afghanistan, especially the women and children.

As part of AWAKEN, we offered a vocational training program where we traveled from village to village and rented a room conveniently located near women’s homes. We conducted a six-month course teaching women basic hygiene, reading, writing, and sewing. At the end of the course, all women received a sewing machine and kit so they could become self-sufficient.

There were also no opportunities for education in my hometown of Qala-e-Malakh. In 2004, AWAKEN established a school for children grades K-12. The school now has more than 1200 students enrolled.

Most villages in Afghanistan do not have access to any sort of healthcare. In 2008, we built the Behsood Health Clinic which provides over 500 families access to basic treatments such as vaccines, birth control, etc. The clinic sees more than 180 patients daily.

Recently, AWAKEN partnered with the Rotary Club of Muncie Sunrise (United States) and the Rotary Club of Jalalabad (Afghanistan) to establish a Saheli Center. The center will open near the current AWAKEN clinic and school providing literacy, nutrition, and reproductive health classes. The center will also provide vocational education, including but not limited to computers and tailoring expanding upon AWAKEN’s efforts.

One of my biggest dreams was to open a birthing center in the village. AWAKEN created a birthing center to provide prenatal and postnatal care. With the support of partnering Rotary clubs, we will expand our efforts by conducted Family Planning Workshops taught by medical professionals from the Rotary Club of Jalalabad and the AWAKEN clinic staff. Birth attendants will also conduct small workshops on pre-natal nutrition, birthing practices and infant nutrition, including breast feeding for those receiving pre-natal care. Small packages of infant care supplies provided by the Rotary clubs will be given to women who complete all the classes.

I was once a little girl in Afghanistan with limited opportunities, and am blessed to have the life I enjoy today. Unfortunately, people living in impoverished countries do not have access to the opportunities and resources that I do now. Together we can make a difference in the lives of many women and children in Afghanistan, so that they can awaken to a brighter future with opportunities for continuing their education and becoming self-sufficient!

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Ethical dilemma: what would you do?

As your club’s vocational service chair, you have been engaging young professionals through mentorship initiatives and career counseling projects. You would like more of your fellow club members to participate in these initiatives since many of the mentees are starting off in their careers and you want to introduce them to Rotary and all it offers. You would like to see the young professionals join your club, but have received feedback that they cannot attend your club’s meetings because of the cost and inconvenient time.

You propose to your club leadership that they should change the location, time, and introduce a reduced cost option to attract young professionals. The youth have mentioned that they like to meet with one another at a local bar, so you suggest your club starts meetings at this location instead where drinks and food are optional making it more affordable for the prospective members. Your club leadership is opposed to this idea; they believe it will drive away current members who are not comfortable in that setting. You believe these changes will help attract young professionals to join your club while helping members get more engaged with youth.

What would you do?

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If you would like to submit an ethical dilemma for discussion, email us at rotary.service@rotary.org.