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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Connecting for good at Multi-Club Workshops

By Leonardo de Angelis, Rotary Club of Ravenna (Italy), immediate past District 2072 Rotary Foundation Chair, and founder and coordinator of the Multi-Club Workshop

Since 2007, I have had the pleasure of working with Rotarian friends, new and old, to organize Multi-Club Workshops, an annual meeting where international Rotarians, relatives, and friends meet to foster intercultural dialogue, inspire each other through their humanitarian projects, and build partnership for international projects and global grants.

This year’s event was particularly special as a group of more than 60 participants descended upon beautiful Palermo, Italy, to participate in the 10th annual Multi-Club Workshop (MCW) while also celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Rotary Foundation. With heartfelt thanks to the great support of the Rotary Club of Palermo Teatro del Sole and District 2110 (Sicily & Malta), the September 2016 MCW welcomed participants from 25 clubs representing 10 districts and six countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Italy, Russia, Sweden, the UK, and the United States.

We were also joined by two representatives from Rotary and The Rotary Foundation, Lauren Ribant Regional Grants Officer, and Ellina Kushnir, Supervisor of Service and Engagement, who presented about resources to support and enhance projects and important considerations when applying for grant funding from TRF.

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The first two days of the event were filled with cultural immersion, exploring historic sites and eating delicious food, seeing local Rotary club projects, getting to know fellow participants and learning about their personal, professional, and Rotary lives, and engaging in fruitful discussions about resources and collaborating to maximize good.

The event culminated in a full-day workshop where we discussed strategies and resources for successful service projects and grants, learned about the many challenges facing communities around the world, and heard project proposals from eight Rotary club-led projects. The eight projects will benefit communities in Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Congo, Greece, India, Myanmar, Philippines, and the U.K. The total value of these projects is equal to US $550,000. This year, through a preferential vote, all of the participants voted to support one of the presented projects with a pooled sum of US $4,342 (EUR 4000). With a tie in votes, two projects each received US $2,171 (EUR 2,000) to support their respective goals. We’re continuing to foster the relationships we made at the event and build partnerships to support each other’s projects. Each project exhibitor is now actively seeking to connect with international partnering clubs to begin implementing the projects presented at the 10° MCW.

Over the past 10 years, 45 projects with a combined value of US $2.18 million identified partners and received support as a result of the Multi-Club Workshop. Since our first event was hosted in 2007, more than 660 Rotarians and their families have participated in the workshops. Our workshops are hosted in a different country every year, and we welcome new exhibitors seeking project support along with.

Join us next year in London, England, for our 11th annual event. The 2017 Multi-Club Workshop will take place 6-10 September. Visit our website for more information and contact me to reserve your spot at next year’s event!

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Experience culture, friendship and service in El Salvador at the 2017 Uniendo America Project Fair

By Hector D. Castro, District 4240; Advisor to the Uniendo America Organizing Committee

In its 24th edition, the Uniendo America project fair returns to beautiful El Salvador on 26-28 January of 2017. Since 1994, Districts 4240 & 4250 (Central America, Belize & Panamá) have hosted the fair in different countries. This regional event is an excellent opportunity for Central American Rotarians to present projects to fellow Rotarians from the United States, Canada & other countries who are looking for international service projects and partners on behalf of their clubs and districts.

Thanks to Uniendo America, international visitors have learned about more than 2,000 local projects from the region. Meeting face to face at the fair has created lasting relationships and facilitated the implementation of hundreds of proposed projects. This is what Rotary is all about: creating good will and understanding through international partnerships.

Uniendo America 2017 will kick off on the afternoon of 26 January with presentations from District International Service Committees and a special message from an envoy of the Rotary Foundation. The fair itself will be inaugurated that evening with a brief ceremony and cocktail party where attendees will start making new friends and reconnecting with old ones.

Serious work will begin the following day, 27 January at 9:00 AM with the opening of the exhibitor booths, showcasing excellent opportunities to form partnerships for global and district grants and club projects. That evening, participants will make dinner reservations at any of the fine dining restaurants within the hotel and continue discussions with potential partners met during the fair. Meanwhile, spouses and guests will be offered a tourism tour where they will have an opportunity to explore the rich culture and wonderful sites of El Salvador. We will end that evening with fun disco dancing at the hotel´s night club.

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The last day of the fair, 28 January, will begin at 9:00 AM with round table discussions to learn about successful community development strategies within the six areas of focus, talk about the future of Uniendo America and much more. Optional project tours, sponsored by local clubs, will be available throughout the day. Uniendo America 2017 will end with a spectacular Centennial Carnival on the evening of the 28th where we will celebrate our 100 years of service through the Rotary Foundation.

The Organizing Committee will offer free shuttle transportation from/to the airport on main arrival and departure dates and we can assist attendees with any special arrangements.

Come and enjoy Rotary at its best amidst spectacular sunsets, warm weather, great friends and plenty of international service opportunities. Event information and registration is available online.

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Assist victims of the 2016 Ecuador earthquake

By District Governor Fressia Abad, District 4400 Ecuador 

Dear friends,

It is our pleasure to invite you and your club to attend District 4400’s XII Rotary Project Fair, to be held in Cuenca, Ecuador, on 11-13 November, 2016.

During this three-day event, clubs in Ecuador will exhibit their projects to visiting Rotarians. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn firsthand about the community and the projects looking for assistance. Rotarians will personally meet project contacts and other local Rotarians establishing important partnerships as well as long lasting friendships.

Due to the severe 7.8 earthquake that struck Ecuador’s Provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas in April 2016, many of this year’s projects will focus on long-term disaster recovery and providing assistance to communities devastated by the disaster.

The beautiful city of Cuenca has become a favorite and appealing retirement spot. Visiting Rotarians will have an opportunity to experience local cultural and artistic treasures including a tour to its historic town center. Exciting and high-end excursions to the Galapagos Islands, Amazonian Jungle, Quito, the Andean Sierra, and Vilcabamba (well known for the long life expectancy of its population) can also be added to attendance at the Fair.

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Please contact the Chair of the XII Project Fair Committee, Past District Governor Manuel Nieto or Assistant Governor Amparo Albuja Izurieta for additional information.  You can also visit our district webpage or register online.

We hope to greet you soon in our country well known for its hospitality.

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Foster service partnerships and new friendships at the 10th annual European project fair

By Leonardo de Angelis, 2013-2016 District Rotary Foundation Chair, District 2072 (Italy)

Dear friends,

Registration is now open for the 10th annual Multi-Club Workshop, scheduled for 7-11 September 2016 in Palermo, Italy. Similar to project fairs, Rotarian friends are invited to come learn about European service projects in need of support at our September event. Join us for three days in striking Palermo where you’ll learn about opportunities to support fellow Rotarians’ work in their home countries including Greece, Macedonia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia, Zambia and others, build life-long friends, experience Sicilian culture, and explore historic sites. Attendees will also participate in workshops and informational sessions on global grants, planning and implementing sustainable service projects and Rotary resources and tools for enhancing projects.

View the preliminary agenda and take advantage of early-bird prices by registering before 31 May.

For those wishing to extend their stay, additional excursions around Sicily have been arranged for 11-14 September.

Over the past nine years, international friends from all over the world have worked together to support 30 large-scale projects at previous Multi-Club Workshops, amounting to US $1.6 million invested in Rotary projects. We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Palermo and making an even greater impact in communities needing our assistance!

Warmest regards,

Leonardo

Previous Multi-Club workshops have been hosted in Stockholm, Bari, Riga, Ravenna, Malmö, Manfredonia, Belgrade, Ischia, and St. Petersburg. Collectively, we’ve supported 30 international projects, many of which have received funding from The Rotary Foundation. The 2015 Multi-Club Workshop in St. Petersburg resulted in five supported projects totaling US $353,000. Because of the partnerships built at last year’s event, six global grant applications are currently under review or already being implemented.

 

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West Africa Project Fair exhibits the power of Rotary

By Dr. John Philips, Past District Governor of District 1040 and Chairman International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors

Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes bring the best out of Rotarians. We roll up our sleeves, rattle tins, raise money and deliver support, care and assistance.

When a Rotarian colleague recently told me he was disappointed with the outcome of his club’s emergency assistance efforts to another country some years ago, I was not surprised. “Our results were most unimpressive. The disaster relief help we had provided was a gut reaction, unplanned, disorganized, and driven by the international community” he told me.

Historically, developed countries have often tried to impose their own solutions for challenges faced by developing countries. We can stop this through Rotary.

A few years back, I saw a large wooden box in a hospital in Tanzania. The box contained an x-ray machine donated by a North American group. The box was never opened. The hospital did not have electricity and did not know what to do with the machine.

Through the Rotary network, we have opportunities to build sound international partnerships to work on service projects outside of our immediate communities. I was privileged to meet a group of West African Rotarians in Abidjan last month at the 10th annual West Africa Project Fair. The event was created in 2005 by Rotarians from 15 West African countries to facilitate international partnerships to help address the primary challenges in the region. This year, the Fair was hosted in Cote d’Ivoire by District 9101.

The West Africa Project Fair was a unique opportunity to build international partnerships while experiencing a new culture and creating life-long friendships. We met local Rotarians and Rotaractors to learn about their priorities and talk about club and district projects in need of assistance.  More than 30 West African projects were exhibited during the Fair– all well planned and well explained.

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I was part of a group of 34 international visitors from Canada, England, Guadalupe, Mauritius, Rwanda, Turkey and the United States. We met more than 100 participants from West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal. We listened to presentations from The Rotary Foundation on the new grant model and sustainability, Rotary’s project resources, Rotary’s Areas of Focus, and stewardship. We met with each project exhibitor to learn about their initiative and discuss projects in hopes of working with each of our clubs and districts back home to partner on at least one of the exhibited projects.

We toured Abidjan with our hosts, visited with the U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire and Embassy staff, and attended a welcome reception with cultural shows.  We also participated in a Polio immunization day accompanied by Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of Mines and Industry and the Country Director for the Center for Disease Control. We visited a Global Grant project site, met with the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire and attended a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Mines and Industry.

I came away proud to belong to the Rotary family and burning with a desire to do more, to make a difference. I want to say to my friend, who was “most unimpressed” by his efforts to help a developing country: it is time we rethink the way we do international projects.

We are an army of friends with bountiful expertise and experience that can be leveraged to help the community prosper. As international partners, it’s our turn to express our desire to help and then close our mouths, open our ears, and work in partnership to support our international friends.

The end result will be most thrilling.

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The 2016 West Africa Project Fair will be hosted 19-26 October in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. More information about the 2016-17 project fairs will be available here throughout the coming weeks.

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Experience the magic of Rotary at Colombia’s first project fair

By Past District Governor Sonia Uribe, District 4271; Chair of the 2016 Colombia Project Fair

Dear friends,

We are very pleased to invite you to Colombia’s first project fair on 5 -7 February 2016. Our event will be hosted in Cartagena de Indias, the most beautiful city in the Caribbean.

Clubs from Districts 4271 and 7281 will be exhibiting service projects seeking international support. Come experience magical Cartagena, learn about our service efforts, and build lifelong friendships within the Rotary family. Event information and registration is available online.

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Find international service partners in Ecuador

By Amparo Albuja, District 4400 XI Project Fair Committee Chair

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International visitors learn about local club projects at the X Ecuador Project Fair

Every year, District 4400’s local clubs showcase their service projects to Rotarian visitors at the Ecuador Project Fair. These events help foster international partnerships to collaboratively address community concerns through Rotarian-led projects.

Last year’s Fair helped us strengthen existing international relationships while building new partnership in service. The event brought attention to the rising importance of organic agriculture in Ecuador. One of our most popular projects proposed the creation of an agro-ecological demonstration farm to train local farmers on new approaches to farming. Another related project proposed the creation of an auto-sustainable community based on the production of organic fertilizers. Both projects quickly found needed support from our U.S. Rotarian visitors.

Small clubs without global grant experience also have options to obtain international support. Last year, a project providing water treatment plants to eight poor communities, each to be carried out by a different club, found support from our international visitors. Replicating this model, a similar project targeting six communities will be presented at the 2015 Fair.

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A group of international visitors exploring Quito during the X Ecuador Project Fair

Project fairs offer unique opportunities to develop international service partnerships within the Rotary family. Visitors personally meet the local Rotarian project sponsors and establish international service partnerships. These partnerships often evolve into long lasting friendships. Visitors also experience our beautiful country and culture and have options to embark on affordable excursions.

This year, the XI District 4400 Ecuador Project Fair will be hosted at the Swissotel in the beautiful city of Quito from Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 15. View the full program and register online.

 

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Committing to universal education during Rotary Basic Education and Literacy Month

Basic education and literacy are essential for reducing poverty, improving health, encouraging community and economic development, and promoting peace. Over the years, we’ve helped make significant progress towards helping achieve the United Nationals Millennium Development Goals, especially within the basic education and literacy area of focus. According to a 2014 progress report, literacy rates among adults and youth continue to rise and the gender gap in literacy is narrowing.

This September, Rotary Basic Education and Literacy Month, we’re celebrating our progress and reaffirming our commitment to help attain universal education! Here are just a few examples of club service projects helping improve education around the world:

  • PhilippinesIn partnership with local government, community, and international clubs, the Rotary Club of Tagum North, Davao City, Philippines, reconstructed classrooms at the Imelda Daycare Center damaged by Typhoon Pablo.
  • The Rotary Club of Latur Mid-Town, Maharashtra, India, hosted teacher training workshops for educators who work in small rural government-operated schools. 213 teachers received six hours of coursework on new educational technologies and applications available to the teachers.
  • BoliviaThe Rotary Club of Grigota, Bolivia, undertook an advocacy initiative to inform families on the importance of children, especially girls, receiving a basic level of education before beginning to work.
  • The Rotaract Club of Baker College Muskegon, MI, USA, participated in a literacy board game tournament to raise funds for its reading program. Proceeds from the fundraiser supported READ Muskegon, a volunteer one-on-one tutoring program for adults who want to improve their literacy skills.
  • IndonesiaWorking with local Rotary and Rotaract clubs and the Ministry of Education, the Rotary Club of Solo Kartini, Indonesia, organized a Literacy Day event where hundreds of high school students read and reviewed a preselected book. The event celebrated literacy and honored the 20 best literary reviews.
  • Working with the local municipality, partnering Interact club, and sponsoring Rotary club, the Rotaract Club of Izmir-Alsancak, Turkey, created mobile libraries to provide books in three low-income communities in Turkey.

While we’re making progress, there’s still much work left to be done. Pressing global concerns still remain: 58 million children worldwide are out of school while 781 million adults are illiterate[i]. Imagine: if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty equaling a 12% reduction in global poverty[ii].

Throughout the month of September, encourage fellow Rotary members to check back here for tips, resources, and inspirational success stories to help plan club and district literacy projects. Add your voice to the conversation using the blog’s commenting feature and share how your club supports basic education and literacy initiatives on Rotary Showcase.

[i] The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014
[ii] UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2013/14